Belated thank you to everyone who attended the event with me at the Blue Willow Bookshop on the release of Husband Material, and of course to Blue Willow and the wonderful Cathy Berner for hosting me. As ever, there were more questions than I could answer so I’ve tried to address them here.
- I actually got the release date of one of my own books wrong (go me) and I really can’t be arsed to re-do all the time-stamps. I do correct myself late but just to make it super clear: Father Material is due in 2024 (NOT 20225) and Ten Things That Never Happened in 2023.
- One of the questions is about fade-to-black sex scenes. Here’s a link to an entire blog post on the subject.
- Merch (like the mug Cathy was using during the event) is available from my Redbubble Store.
- Here’s a link to my Spotify account and all my terrible playlists
- The artist responsible for the covers of Boyfriend Material and Husband Material (and, therefore, the look of Luc and Oliver) is Elizabeth Turner Stokes
Anyway, here’s the thing:
Timestamps for questions submitted in advance (not answered on the day):
1:20 – Questions about my writing process: how do I come up with characters, what is my process, how do I know when an idea for a story is the one to write
7.32 – Questions about character: which character do you identify with the most, inspiration for various characters
13:07 – Questions about inspirations
14:22 – Which Hall-verse couple would win in a chicken fight in the pool
17:03 – How did I make Oliver so hot
18.33 – Myers Briggs
18:45 – Which was scene most fun to write
19:11 – What do I enjoy about writing and editing
21:01 – Do you keep thinking about characters after book is finished
23:13 – Favourite part of Luc and Oliver’s dynamic
24:00 – Favourite friendship dynamic
25:15 – Do I believe in energies, divine intervention etc.
Timestamps for questions submitted on the day (not answered on the day):
25:50 – How do you feel about the common comparison of the London Calling trilogy to the Bridget Jones books and movies?
26:37 – How does it feel knowing you helped and inspire so many people worldwide?
27:15 – For people relating a little too much to Lucien’s character, what would your advice be?
29:30 – Can you talk a little bit about developing the characters? There are so many amazing side characters (friends, coworkers, family) with such vivid personalities. It’s so impressive!
30:44 – You’ve written books across many genres. What is your favorite genre to write & what is your favorite genre to read?
31:21 – Have you ever met a genre you didn’t like? and couldn’t turn upside down and full of joy?
32:30 – Can you talk about your preference for HFN vs HEA?
34:00 – Is there anything you can tell us about what‘s planned for Father Material?
35:21 – Can we look forward to a box set for this series?
35:45 – If you could bring one of your characters to life for a day, who would it be and why?
36:21 – How did you come up with the names Luc (Lucien) and Oliver?
37:49 – Is it possible that Christopher, Oliver’s older brother, is a time traveler who exists in multiple universes, and can you explain this entertainingly a la your Christmas Prince multiverse blog post?
39:09 – Speaking Generally how did you decided who would pop the question?
39:44 – I’ve probably missed or forgotten a reference in Boyfriend Material (haven’t read Husband Material yet) but where does the series title London Calling come from?
40:46 – Do you have any tip for authors who struggle to be consistent with characters’ personalities?
44:44 – who is your favorite character to write lines for in this book? 💘
44:58 – What’s the proper pronunciation of Luc’s name?😭
45:44 – With the announcement of Father Material, which of your characters do you think would likely become parents in their futures?
47:24 – How did you come up with the story line between the “bad boy” and “good boy”/ p.s Your books saved my life, thank you so much <3
48:40 – Cathy, you mentioned “Father Material” is the name or now? Is that the final name?
49:13 – Do you think that these books will push younger readers to go explore all the amazing Hugh Grant RomComs of the 90s if they haven’t been exposed to them?
51:03 – I noticed that Boyfriend material was more fade to black with the sex scenes compared to other books you wrote. Can you explain that decision?
52:13 – I’m always curious about how Alexis sees himself in terms of percentage sunshine pixie versus adorable curmudgeon. You write both so well!
52:39 – Has Alexis Hall started on Father Material? How far is he?
52:57 – Do we have to wait until 2024 for “Father Material”??
53:25 – Where can I get that mug you have, Cathy?
53:42 – The James-Royce-Royces is one of the funniest things I’ve read. When you first wrote them, having the same name, did you get push back from your editor? Beta readers? Thank you for sharing Luc and Oliver !!
54:28 – Will we get to spend more time with Oliver’s friends in the next Luc/Oliver story?
54:57 – Do you consider yourself a better writer now compared to even just 5 years ago? How have you changed as a writer?
56:25 – What do you have against Ed Sheeran?
57:15 – Will food continue to play a part in the London Calling series? Are there any new recipes?
58:42 – Would you ever share more about their first meeting, when Oliver was rude to Luc?
59:44 – What inspired you to write Jonathan’s story?
1:01:34 – I respect your “death of the author” stance in every way, but after having read a fair few of your books, I can’t help but wonder if you’re a Luc/Ardy/Toby/Bonny or an Oliver/Caspian/Laurie/Valentine? Alternatively, is one of these types (though of course the characters are distinct) your “ideal man”?
1:02:20 – If Luc and Oliver read your entire backlog, which books do you think would be their favorites?
1:03:39 – I love the series name. Are you a big fan of The Clash?
1:04:02 – Are we supposed to be able to tell the James Royce-Royce’s apart? or nah
1:05:04 – Why the vegan angle? Is Alexis vegan?
1:06:00 – How did you come up with the character designs of Lucien and Oliver
1:06:24 – Do you have someone in your life who is a lawyer? Or did you do research on how lawyers talk?
1:05:42 – What’s your favorite board game?
1:07:25 – What’s your favorite type of scene to write? fluff? conflict? shenanigans?
1:07:43 – With four books out this year, how do you manage your time and creativity stores?
1:08:35 – Will you get a TikTok? I love your IG/Twitter, we need you on TT 😀
1:09:07 – With all of your output (which is stunning) do you write books concurrently or do you pen then one at a time?
1:09:44 – Will you ever travel to the US for book signings in the future?
1:09:54 – How do you choose which jokes Luc tells Alex?
01:11:07 – would you ever be the narrator of your own audiobook? ( I think you could do it!!)
01:11:55 – For someone wanting to get into your blacklist, where do you suggest someone starts?
1:14:24 – Is there any genre/trope/character(?) that you’d like to explore but haven’t gotten the chance to?
1:15:20 – Have you ever considered revisiting the universe from “Prosperity”/”Liberty and Other stories”?
1:16:07 – What do you think of fan fiction??? Do you feel offended seeing your characters picked up? / Do you read fanfiction based on your work?
1:17:25 – How do you develop the voice of your characters? There is so much depth and specificity to your writing voice. Do your characters come out almost fully formed as you draft? Or do you work through character anaylsis to hone the voice?
1:18:34 – Can you come to the Library of Congress Book Fair in DC this September?
1:18:42 – Do you ever et inspired by songs? Do you have Spotify Playlists you’d be open to share ?
1:19:21 – Will there be preoder specials for the next book?
Thank you for all the follow up responses and the links to sites you referenced! *throws all of my money at Redbubble*
Your “wanker” impression was 8:07 left me deceased. 10/10
Comments on the Spotify Playlists- the Glitterland list is *chef’s kiss* although I’m slightly offended (kidding) that you included Backstreet Boys on your “irresistibly questionable taste” list. I just saw them in concert a few weeks ago!
There is explicit sex in 4 weddings……it just isn’t the main characters 😂
Enjoyed this very much- thanks 🙂
Jane Birdsell says
Thanks for the audio – I found it helpful (as a wannabe writer) as well as fun (as a fan). I absolutely don’t want to put you off doing more of the same, but I did find it hard to catch everything you said – you often speak quite fast. Hope it’s helpful rather than frustrating to say this.
Thank you so much for this. You are so generous to not just interact with readers, but to take the time to give thoughtful responses to questions, especially given how busy you must be. I hope you are able to keep writing books for a long time – or at least as long as it brings you joy. You are lovely!
This is such a great Q&A. I always learn so much 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to do this again!
Also I love that Ardy & Caspian would win in a chicken fight over all the magical beings LOLOL (maybe George could photograph it.) And FWIW I would totally read an angsty vampire novel written by you! 🖤
I quite literally just finished the audio book and I can’t stop smiling! It was hilarious, and insightful, and utterly perfect. I can’t wait to listen to the Q and A.
Thank you for taking the time to share so much!
I’ve been listening to the playlists. I about spit out my coffee when I saw “The Jon Fleming Primer”! First, so delightfully pretentious. Second, I of course always imagine Jon Fleming to look exactly like Ian Anderson — tights, tunic, beard — and hear him with that wonderful snotty, fake sincere gravitas voice that Joe Jameson gives him. Thanks for all the lovely writing!