I am thrilled today to have Zoe May on the blog today (a day late so the greatest of apologies to Ms. May). I have previously reviewed When Polly Met Olly (review here) and Perfect Match (review here) and love her sparkling, uber modern rom coms, and actually have bought and have just started Flying Solo! So off we go!
What is your new book about?
My new book, Flying Solo, is about a London lawyer called Rachel who is a bit of a control freak. She’s lived her life according to her ‘Life List’, ticking off major goals along the way, such as getting a good degree, finding a decent boyfriend, becoming Partner at her firm, but the only goal she’s not managed to achieve is to get engaged. Rachel thinks her boyfriend, Paul, is about to pop the question on a date, but instead, he informs her that he’s jetting off to India to stay in an ashram and find himself. Rachel is distraught but after a few weeks of licking her wounds, she decides to embark on a trip India to win Paul back and save their relationship.
Rachel is the last person to end up in an ashram and the experience surprises her in many ways. From spirit animal workshops to corrupt gurus to orgies, she leaves the ashram a different person to who she was when she arrived. She also happens to meet a hippy heartthrob along the way!
I think this calls for an image: Here’s a picture of Zoe in India!!!!
I’ve actually just started your book and had forgotten that this was where we were being led (Paul’s in a bad way at the mo, so it might not be a bad idea for him to find himself!) What do you love most about writing?
I love exploring ideas and the process of bringing a story and characters I’ve imagined to life. I love sharing my work with readers and hearing that they enjoyed my books. It’s the best feeling! So far the feedback about Flying Solo has been really positive. A few readers have said how they laughed so hard they were crying or had tea coming out of their nose – that makes me so happy!
Oh my wordy word, that’s always great to hear!! Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
My ideas usually stem from something that has happened to me in real life. My new book Flying Solo, is about a London lawyer who jets off to India in an effort to save her relationship with her boyfriend, Paul, who has embarked on a trip to an ashram ‘find himself’. I describe the book as ‘Bridget Jones meets Legally Blonde, in an ashram’! The idea for the book came from my own trip to an ashram in India in 2013. My debut, Perfect Match, is about dating and that was inspired by my experiences of dating in London in my twenties! Usually, there’s a seed of real life in my novels but then I start day-dreaming and turn it into a mostly fictional plot.
Great description! When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was 26. I wrote a novel called ‘The Wallet’ (not a very catchy title). It was about a woman who falls in love with a guy after finding his wallet on the Tube. It was an okay hook, but my execution was terrible and I had actually bored myself by the time I finished it. I knew it would never get published but as I’d been writing it, I’d been sharing chapters with my writing group and getting feedback on my writing, which helped me hone my skills. Once I finished The Wallet and put it aside, I started working on a new, way more fun book, which was then published by HarperCollins. That was my debut, Perfect Match.
I love that you had the bug and finished it even though you didn’t totally love it. Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
My main tip would just be to write as much as possible. And not just fiction. When I was trying to become a good writer, I decided I’d take on as many writing jobs as possible. I’ve had office jobs that involve writing, from working as a reporter to working in communications for a charity, but I’ve also done all sorts of freelance writing, from copywriting for company websites to writing articles for trade newsletters. And before I freelanced, I had a blog. I think it’s important to try to get as much writing experience as possible in all sorts of capacities. Some of it may not feel directly relevant to writing novels, but it strengthens your overall writing ability, meaning that when you do start writing novels, you can hit the ground running and your writing will be lean, compelling and strong.
Thanks so much for being here, Zoe, and I can’t wait to get back to the book! (Review in the next day or so!)
About the book
A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy about love, dreams and self-discovery by bestselling author, Zoe May.
Rachel Watson has it all worked out. By 30, she’s ticked off most of the goals on her Life List. She’s a home owner, a partner at her law firm, she has a gorgeous boyfriend, lots of hobbies and loads of good friends. The only thing that’s missing is a ring on her finger.
According to her Life List, Rachel should be getting hitched around now, so when her boyfriend, Paul, plans a romantic date, Rachel’s pretty confident he’s going to propose. Except Paul has other ideas. He’s jetting off to India to find himself.
Distraught, Rachel doesn’t know what to do. Not one to easily admit defeat, she embarks on a mission to win him back.
Flying solo to India is definitely not part of Rachel’s plans, but could her trip teach her unexpected lessons about love, life and herself? Could she realise that perhaps her Life List wasn’t exactly what she wanted, after all?
Purchase it here
About the author
Zoe May is an author of romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She worked in journalism and copywriting in London before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe couldn’t resist writing a novel about dating since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!
Perfect Match was one of Apple’s top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as ‘a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery – fresh and very funny’.
As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading! She adores animals and if she’s not taking a photo of a vegan meal, she’s probably tweeting about the dairy industry. She is half Greek and half Irish and can make a mean baklava. Zoe has a thing for horror films, India, swimming, hip hop and Radiohead. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of handbags having spent several years working in fashion copywriting and could probably win Mastermind if this was her specialist subject!
Zoe’s on Facebook