16 Sep 2013

Hello... Nicola Yeager

She's a tough cookie who refuses to 'take shit from anyone' and I love that about this woman - it's so refreshing! Welcome Nicola Yeager...
When did you first start reading Chick Lit?
I must have read the first one on holiday about three years ago. I'm in my early thirties now (that's all you're getting!) so started a bit late. We were in a hotel where people left books behind that they'd read for other guests to have. I think this helped with luggage weight on the way home. Needless to say, every book left behind was crap! I was amazed at the chick lit ones I read. They all seemed the same. I never really read chick lit again, apart for research purposes. Women with little girl names like Issy or Poppy making cakes, lots of non-problems and bland men with good jobs. I read the first Bourne book on that holiday, too, as I'd liked the films. It was a terrible, repellent book. Don't ever read it. I'd like to kick the author in the balls, if he's still alive. I hope he isn't. Just watch the films.

When did you first start writing Chick Lit?
I first started in late 2012. I'd written an erotic novel that a publisher liked (although I would have called it 'filthy' rather than erotic), but it wasn't really their sort of thing and they found it a bit too extreme, I suspect, which it was. Amazingly, elements of the writing style reminded them of some chick lit author or other, so they asked if I'd like to have a go. The first one I did was called Christmas Without Holly. The title was later changed by the publisher to The Spa Day. I think they thought it would sell better if it was less seasonal in appeal. They're probably right, except the story took place in a spa for three days, not one, as suggested by the new title.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? If so, which?
I read a lot of erotica. I've done this since I was a teenager when a friend lent me a copy of The Story of O. After that I was hooked on its sheer perversity. I still re-read it about once a year. There's a lot of it out there and that means you have to be careful what you pick if you're looking for quality stuff that really gets you off in a big way. I used to read a lot of horror when I was in school, but I'm bored with that now. I can't watch horror films of any sort. I know all the tricks and plots. I only really read chick lit for research purposes. If everyone says 'Wow! You've got to read this (chick lit) book!' I'll usually buy it and have a look. Usually it's just hype and the books that everyone says are great are usually boring. It's like when tv series like Sex and the City or Mad Men appear in the UK. Everyone's saying 'this is must-see television' and you watch it think 'This is crap'. Mostly, I read non fiction and poetry. I'm reading 'Create Your Own Japanese Garden' and 'Vogue Covers' at the moment. I've just finished a book of short stories by Guy de Maupassant.

Name one of your favourite Chick Lit books? I don't have one.

What's the title of your latest book? Can you tell us about it?
It's not the latest thing I've written, but the latest release is called Affairs Of The Heart. It's an omnibus of my first three chick lits, The Spa Day, Picture Imperfect and Summer Loving. I'm just working on the storyline for my fourth. I've got a rough idea what it's going to be about, but I never plan too much otherwise they're no fun to write. It's like life: if you know roughly what's going to happen to you over the next forty years... The last one I actually wrote was Summer Loving, which came out in June. It's about a kept woman who has totally screwed her life up, even though that life is luxurious, and many would be envious of it. But the love-free lifestyle she has chosen has taken her on a trajectory to a life-changing event. I won't tell you any more! I actually burst into tears on four different occasions while I was writing it. I felt so sad for her and what had happened to her and when you got blasts from her previous life and what could have been, it was overwhelming for me, and I was writing the bloody thing! Then that past catches up with her and that was overwhelming for me, too.

What inspired you to write it?
I'm interested in women who sell out, to a degree. Maybe it's me, but I just can't understand it. Loads of my friends have done it, unfortunately - got married young to guys with lots of money who are the most boring/sexist/dull (place your insulting adjective here) people on earth. It's taking the easy option. It's why, I guess, the divorce rate is so high in the UK. People get married to unsuitable people because of fear of one sort or another, then a few years later find they're living with some prick/bitch. Despite feminism, many women want money and a certain type of lifestyle and they'll frequently marry some undeserving dickwad to get it. It's the same for men, too, so it's not going to stop any time soon. In the Spa Day, the 'heroine' is engaged to some guy who works in some highly paid job in Hong Kong. I actually met this beautiful, lovely, sexy girl who was in exactly that position. She saw him twice a year. After he'd done his three years or whatever it was, he'd come back to the UK and they were going to be married. She was a waity-katie type. I felt like telling her 'That guy is a major prick. If he really loved you he'd be here and driving a lorry or something just to be near you. Dump him immediately and get some sexy, cool guy to f**k your brains out five times a night'. I didn't, though. I'm a coward. And far too polite to say something like that!

Is it part of a series?At the moment, I don't do series, though a significant number of fans have said they'd like to see more of Rhoda, a character in Picture Imperfect. She's the agent of the heroine, who is an artist, and she's in her forties, divorced, tough, rich, sexy, doesn't give a shit and picks up young guys whom she takes to expensive hotels for sex. I'm transparently trying to make you think 'Ooh! I think I might read Picture Imperfect now!'

Who designs your covers?
Someone on Twitter asked me that the other day and I realised I had no idea. I'm pretty sure it's a girl, though, if that's any use. The publisher will show me the cover for my comments and I'll sometimes get something changed and they'll pass it on to the designer who'll change it. We never meet. I'm not sure if this is normal or not. We don't discuss what's on the covers though sometimes I'll make suggestions which make it onto the cover in one way or another.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?That's hard. Jennifer Lawrence as Saskia, the main character (even though she's a bit younger) and Holly Valance as Janica, the gay Australian surfing instructor. I used to have quite a girl-crush on Holly when she was a pop star, but I've lost interest now she's married to some billionaire car dealer or milk carton manufacturer or whatever he is. She's such a sell out. Didn't she go out with a truck driver for years or something? What happened to him? But I did like her in the Fosters adverts and she still looks good. I used to love dancing to Kiss Kiss when I was in university!

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?I've only ever read six chick lit books and none of them ever got that far! No one wants to go to their multiplex to see someone making biscuits. I guess the only answer is Bridget Jones. Does everyone say that? Maybe there have been films made from chick lit books that I don't know about. I tend to watch foreign films more than anything else now. My favourite at the moment is Un Couer En Hiver with Emmanuelle Beart. It's nineties, but watchable again and again. And I like Priceless with Audrey Tatou. I find some women really sexy and Audrey Tatou in that film is one of them. I can't take my eyes off her in those fabulous sexy dresses!

Who is your all time favourite Chick Lit character?
The reason I started writing chick lit in the first place was that most of the chick lit characters I came across were insipid, pre-feminist women with little girl names who were very good at making muffins and opening chi-chi little cafes against all the odds while pursuing 'nice' men. For that reason, I have no favourites.

Name one Chick Lit author who you think deserves to be better known.
I think it has to be me, really. I'd prefer my work to known, as opposed to me personally. I have no interest in being a literary celeb. I only write eBooks at the moment and that's saved me from having to do book signings in shops. I'm an introvert and antisocial. I don't think I could stand it!!

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Photo credit: floralcide via photopin cc
Monica Belluci! She'd have to dye her hair blonde, but I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem for her. I imagine we'd probably get on very well during filming, and in the evening we'd go out to clubs together and pick up both men and women, only to callously discard them the next morning once they had slaked our thirsts. The next day, we'd probably discover we had feelings for each other and have an affair. We'd get married in a civil ceremony and adopt a couple of babies from somewhere.

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy? 
An Aperol spritzer, but I would advise avoiding this drink. One or two of them will give you a terrible hangover and weird, disturbing dreams. But it's the only drink you can put a slice or orange with, as far as I know.
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopaholic. Especially on line. I get a buzz from putting things in my basket and opening them up when they arrive. After that, I just put them away somewhere without reading them/watching them/listening to them/wearing them. The great thing about shopping online is that you can get things you'd never buy in a shop (or at least I wouldn't!), like porn, erotic books, kinky clothing and sex toys. I'm sure in years to come it'll be obvious that the net was responsible for a great deal of sexual awakening/experimentation/discovery/exploration for women and was a liberating force for their sexuality, whatever type it may be.
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? I'm five foor four, so nearly always wear four or five inch heels, mainly because they make my bottom stick out in a sexy way (according to my husband). In the bedroom, I always wear seven inch heels, for obvious reasons. You don't have to wear anything else in the bedroom if you're wearing seven inch heels and black stockings, I find.
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? Er, probably E.L.James, though I've never read any of the Fifty Shades things. Too tame. If they're selling it in Waitrose near the cake displays, it can't be any good. I prefer my erotica to be more, er, specialist. I'd rather be shot and my body dumped in a skip than read Jilly Cooper.
Cry baby or tough cookie? Ooh - tough cookie, I think. My parents are both Dutch and my mother is definitely from the 'don't take shit from anyone' school of thought, which she's passed on to me. That's not to say I can't be submissive under certain circumstances!

Nicola Yeager is a writer and book reviewer. After several years working as a journalist for a variety of publications, she started writing novellas. Her first in the chick lit genre, The Spa Day (originally titled Christmas Without Holly), was a critical success and an Amazon best seller. She followed this up with Picture Imperfect, which continued the gritty, witty, first person style of her debut and was also a best seller. Her latest eBook, Summer Loving, 'could not have been completed without the help of industrial quantities of Waitrose Mocha Blend ground coffee and spending lots of time looking at online shopping sites.'
'The Spa Day', 'Picture Imperfect' and 'Summer Loving' are now available as one eBook under the title 'Affairs of the Heart'.
Although born in Lincoln, she has lived in London for almost ten years and lives with her husband and two small children. Her hobbies include swimming and slimming!
For more information about Nicola's books, visit http://www.amazon.com/Nicola-Yeager/e/B00BIMO0O6
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