26 Sep 2013

Say hi to... Carrie Duffy

Today we have an interview with the gorgeous Harper Collins author Carrie Duffy!

When did you first start reading Chick Lit?
I’ve read female-focused books ever since I was young – The Babysitter’s Club, the St Clare’s series by Enid Blyton and so on. When I was sixteen, I read my first bonkbuster, and was hooked! Then Bridget Jones and the whole chick lit phenomenon really hit in the 90s, so I started reading those too.

When did you first start writing Chick Lit?
When I was at university. I’d tried writing children’s books when I was younger, but had no idea how to go about getting them published. Then I started writing chick lit in my late teens/early twenties, as that’s what I was reading, and what I enjoyed.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? If so, which?
I love the female focus, the great characters, and the fact that it’s so easy to read. I particularly love bonkbusters, for the escapism and the extreme story lines. It’s completely different to my everyday life!
In terms of other genres, I enjoy literary fiction when I want something more challenging (that’s not a dig at chick lit – one of the best things about chick lit is that it’s so readable!) I occasionally dip into thrillers and crime too – they’re so popular at the moment that I want to see what I’m missing out on!

Name one of your favourite Chick Lit books?
I always rave about this, but Career Girls by Louise Bagshawe is one of my all-time favourite books. Again, it’s at the bonkbuster end of the chick lit spectrum, and was one of the first novels I read in that genre. I absolutely adored it – it’s full of strong, feisty females with amazing careers, having lots of sex with gorgeous alpha males!

What's the title of your latest book? Can you tell us about it?
My most recent book is DIVA, and it’s a glamorous bonkbuster set in the modelling world. It’s mainly based in Paris, where I used to live, but with lots of other jet-set locations thrown in – Bali, Tokyo, St Tropez and Dubai, to name a few. It follows three young women trying to make it in modelling, fashion design and the business world, and it features friendship, rivalry, tragedy, sex and glamour!

Is it part of a series?
No, it’s a standalone novel.

Who designs your covers?
I’m not sure as my publishers, HarperCollins, take care of that! I know that with my first novel, IDOL, the artwork was done by the extremely talented Adrian Valencia, who’s also drawn covers for Lindsey Kelk, Jane Costello and Molly Hopkins.

If your book was made into a film, who would you cast?
Ooh, good question! Alyson is a tall, willowy blonde, so someone like Gwyneth Paltrow or Poppy Delevingne would be perfect. Dionne, the wannabe model, would have to be played by Naomi Campbell or Jourdan Dunn, if they can act! And Rooney Mara would be perfect to play CeCe, if she can do a French accent – the character is very quirky and unusual looking, and she was wonderful in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
Probably Bridget Jones’ Diary. I caught it on one of the many repeats a few weeks ago, and I’d forgotten just how good it was. Plus, it has Colin Firth in it, which automatically makes it a favourite as far as I’m concerned!

Who is your all time favourite Chick Lit character?
Can I say Bridget Jones again? Very unoriginal, I know, but I think she’s the epitome of a chick lit heroine, and I identified with her so much when I read it. The writing was funny and fresh, and perfectly captured an era. I can’t wait to see what the new book is like!

Name one Chick Lit author who you think deserves to be better known.
She doesn’t always write chick lit, but I think Serena Mackesy is a fantastic writer, and I’ve loved all of her novels, even though they’re all quite different styles. Simply Heaven starts off like chick lit but takes a much darker turn. It’s very different to anything I’ve ever read, and was a brilliant novel.

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Screenshot from Channel 4's Dates show
I’d love to say Catherine Zeta Jones or Rachel Weisz, but they’re both older than me and far more beautiful! I think a good pick would be Sheridan Smith – she’s a hugely talented actress, and a northern girl done good!

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy? Whisky and coke
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopaholic
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Flats most days as I walk a lot, but I love getting dressed up in sky high heels
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? Jilly Cooper
Cry baby or tough cookie? The older I get, the more I become a cry baby

Bio: Carrie Duffy grew up in North Yorkshire before moving to Paris at the age of eighteen. After studying PPE at Trinity College, Oxford, she trained as an actress. She has worked professionally as both an actor and dancer, and she currently lives in west London. Her bonkbuster novels IDOL and DIVA are published by HarperCollins, and she is currently working on her third novel.
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