4 Dec 2013

Come and meet chick lit author Ella Griffin

Get to know the gorgeous award-winning advertising copywriter & travel writer and now chick lit author Ella Griffin...
When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I have a scarily vivid imagination. The downside of that is that, if I’m sleeping alone, I still sleep with the light on. The upside is that my head is constantly buzzing with characters and stories. If I’m stuck in traffic, I imagine entire lives for the people in the next car.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t scribbling down snippets of stories but, in my twenties, I didn’t have the self-belief to think I could make it as a writer. Then, in my thirties, I was busy with my advertising career. I published travel pieces and I wrote the odd short film script. (The very odd short film script, actually!) But it wasn’t until I was forty that I really started writing seriously. I went on a writing holiday to Greece and met my husband, Neil. He gave me the confidence to start writing short stories.

My first novel, Postcards from the Heart, was published in 2011.
What is it about this genre that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? If so, which?
I think I’m like most women who see fiction as a mirror. It reflects our hopes and dreams, our failures and frustrations. And when we look into it, we see that we’re not alone. We realise that there are other women who struggle with body issues and relationships, who juggle love and kids and careers. Who fall into bed with the wrong people and out of love with the right ones. Who get knocked down but (as the song goes) get up again.
I read anything and everything including the back of cereal packets. But only if I can identify with the cornflake.

What’s the title of your latest book? Can you tell us about it?
I have two books out at the moment.
‘The Heart Whisperer’ is a novel. It’s about the long shadow that the past casts over our lives and my own personal credo which is that, until we turn around and face it, we can’t really love or be loved
It’s a bittersweet comedy set in my hometown, Dublin. There are four main characters, two men and two women each of them trying to negotiate the minefield of thirty-something life.
It’s about love, loss, lies and secrets we are all hiding from one another.
The central spine is the mother-daughter relationship between Claire Dillon and the mother she lost twenty-seven years ago.
Claire’s mother was only 33 when she died and she had everything to live for. A husband, children, a medical career, domestic bliss. Now Claire is about to turn 33. She is a struggling actress, perpetually broke, terminally single, frittering her life away in the company of her wickedly handsome best friend, Ray. She gives herself one last year to be more like her mother…but you know what they say…you should be very careful what you wish for!
The second book is a collection of three interlinking Kindle shorts called ‘A Little Bit of Summer.’ I can sum it up in three words. Women. Love. Flowers.

Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere?
I saw a guy in his thirties skimming through The Heart Whisperer in a bookshop in Bath at the weekend. I hope he was buying it for himself. I actually have quite a few male readers - the ones who are brave enough to get past the flowery cover!

Who designs your covers?
My publisher, Orion, does the designing. The Heart Whisperer was illustrated by an Argentinian illustrator called Adrian Valencia. It shows one of the loveliest corners of Dublin. Just below that railing is Hawk Rock where my husband and I will swim sometimes.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?
Michelle Williams (with ginger hair) would play Claire. Jessica Chastain would be perfect as her mother.
I’d be torn between Henry Cavill and Matt Bomer for Claire’s ex-rock star best friend, Ray.
Benedict Cumberbatch would be good as her distant, life-coach brother, Nick with Anna Paquin as his ice-queen American wife, Kelly.
I’d cast Bill Nighy as Claire’s Dad and Dog would be played by my deerhound, Haggis who is no stranger to show business. (He is currently an extra in Series 1 of The Vikings!)

What’s your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
‘In Her Shoes’ with Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz, based on the book by Jennifer Weiner.

Name one of your favourite Chick Lit books?

I know I will enjoy anything by Marian Keyes or Jennifer Weiner. But some of the best books out there are by men. I’m a huge Nick Hornby fan and I loved ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls.

Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known.
Can I have two? Lorrie Moore and Anita Shreve.

Where do you write?
At home, in my office with Haggis, a hot water bottle and pot of peppermint tea.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An actress.

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Image courtesy: Georges Biard
Sandra Bullock.

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy?
 I don’t really drink but a Nojito makes me giddy. (Lots of mint and hold the rum!)
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Un-shopaholic. I buy lots and lots of things and bring them all back.
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Both. But not at the same time!
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? I don’t really get either of them but I’d rather be stuck in a lift with Jilly.
Cry baby or tough cookie? Tough baby.

Ella was born in Dublin. In past lives, she was the world’s shyest DJ and clumsiest waitress and a dark-room operator who was afraid of the dark.
She is award-winning advertising copywriter and travel writer.
Her first novel, Postcards from the Heart, was published in 2011. Her second, The Heart Whisperer, was published in 2013 along with a collection of Kindle shorts called A Little Bit of Summer.
Ella lives in County Wicklow, Ireland, with an English man and a Scottish Deerhound.
Find Ella on facebook
Ella's website

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