I’m delighted to welcome Deborah McKinlay to my blog today. Deborah’s novel, That Part Was True was released on the 15th January in paperback by Orion (click here to get your copy.) It is an absolutely fantastic read and I loved it in so many ways (my review will be up later today). I was massively excited about asking Deborah more about the characters in the novel, where she finds her inspiration from and what it felt like having her work appear in British Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Esquire…
Hello Deborah, welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! Thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Hello, Holly. Thank you for having me. I am Deborah McKinlay. I’m a writer.
Can you tell us a bit about your novel, That Part Was True (released in paperback on the 15th January 2015 by Orion)?
That Part Was True is a story about an unhappy British woman and a successful American author, both in their late forties, who bond across an ocean through their shared love of food and cooking.
I am so excited about reading That Part Was True. I love the idea of two people falling in love via letters, despite the distance between them. What gave you the idea for the storyline?
I generally start with a loose sort of idea, and a character. Plot, for me, develops mostly in the writing. In this case I wanted to write something about a very lonely, almost agoraphobic, woman reaching out to someone and finding a connection. That was the beginning of Eve.
Are your lead characters Eve Petworth and Jackson Cooper completely fictional or are they based on anyone in real life?
I am not sure that characters are ever completely fictional, or completely factual. There are elements in them that are informed by real people, or experiences – I once knew, for example, a woman who was as lonely as Eve and authors who cook, like Jack, are not so few – but in the end these traits are just parts of new, made up, amalgams.
What’s your take on long distance relationships? Despite the distance, do you think relationships like Eve’s and Jackson’s can work?
I think people can make most things work if they put their hearts into them.
You’ve also written a number of non-fiction titles which have been published in the UK. Which would you say you preferred writing, fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction, by far. I love the escape that storytelling offers. Although, when it comes to reading, I enjoy both equally.
Your work has also appeared in British Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Esquire. What was it like having work published in those prestigious magazines?
At the time I was very much a jobbing freelancer, by which I mean that Rent Money was more on my mind than Prestige, so I didn’t think about it much. Now, I feel very privileged to have had the experience. I think a lot of life is enjoyed backwards like that – too much.
Can you tell us a bit about your other novel, The View from Here?
The View From Here was published in 2011 by Soho Press in New York – A woman who is very ill looks back on a hedonistic period of her youth, in Mexico in the late 1970’s, and sees the effects of that time, and its parallels in her present life. The book means a lot to me because it was my first novel and the sale gave me the confidence to carry on with fiction.
What’s the best thing about writing romance?
I’m not sure that I do write romance in the accepted sense. I like writing about people and the sparks they light in other people’s lives – which is what most writers do, no matter the genre. That Part Was True is, I hope, a romantic story, but it is more about friendship and individual triumph, I think, than what might be thought of as a typical man-woman relationship. In the end, though, the distinction is for the reader to make.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
Well, my current project is a bit fresh to talk about much – seeds tend to dry out in open air – but I can say that it is set in North Cornwall, which is a very nice place to go every day.
A huge thank you to Deborah for taking part in the interview and to Lucy from Orion for inviting me to be a part of the tour. ♥