I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for the new novel by Ella Griffin, The Flower Arrangement. Ella’s latest novel hits our shelves and e-readers on the 18th June and to celebrate the first stop on the official blog tour I was delighted to be able to quiz the lovely Ella on her new novel as she talks the importance of flowers and gives advice to aspiring authors (oh, there’s a virtual fist bump too…)
Hi Ella, a big, warm welcome to BookaholicConfessions! Thank you so much for participating in this interview, would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Lovely to be here, Holly! This is my first blog tour and you are the very first stop! I feel we should do a virtual fist bump or a high five or something! Okay. I’m Irish. I live just outside Dublin, in Ireland, with an English husband and a Scottish Deerhound. My background is in advertising and travel writing. In 2011, I was lucky enough to get a book deal! I’ve written three novels and I’m about to dive into my fourth.
I am really looking forward to reading your latest novel, The Flower Arrangement which is out in paperback on the 18thJune 2015. Can you tell us a bit more about the novel?
As you can probably guess from the cover, my new novel is set in a flower shop. The heroine is Lara, a florist but, of course, her story is bound up with all the people who walk through her door. She uses the flowers to heal her customers. But she has had a tough time. She lost her mother and then the baby she had wanted so desperately died when she was six months pregnant. She needs healing too.
Where do you find your writing inspiration from? How did you come up with the idea of Blossom & Grow florists?
Isn’t it amazing the way flowers are woven into every important moment in our lives? Births. Weddings. Celebrations. Funerals. I couldn’t stop thinking about that. I realised that every bouquet tells a story. It might be a declaration of love, an apology, a get well wish, an expression of sympathy. And the person who knows all those stories, who gets to play an intimate part in it, is the florist who made the bouquets. The idea just blossomed from there!
Are your characters entirely fictional or are they ever based on anyone in real life?
Usually my characters are fictional but I did a lot of research with florists so some of stories about the customers are real. There’s one that still makes me cry about a mother who wanted a guitar shaped funeral wreath for her son who had died suddenly.
How long did The Flower Arrangement take you to write?
Just under a year.
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an author?
I think I’d be a florist! I’ve spend the last year working in an imaginary flower shop. Working in a real one might be the next step. Though I’d have to wear a vest. Flower shops have to be kept cool because that’s the way the flowers like it!
What advice would you give to any aspiring writers who are reading this?
Like Nike says – Just. Do. It. Buy a book about how to start. Sign up for a class. Set up a writing group with friends. Turn your life in the direction of your dreams and you will be amazed what will happen.
Do you have any reading or writing ‘confessions’? (e.g guilty secrets or habits?)
Sometimes , when I’m working on a really important scene I will put it off and put it off. I will do anything (massage the dog, put on the washing, clean out the fridge) rather than get started. It’s the fear of getting it wrong. Though I should know (after 3 novels) that once I begin, the fear will probably go away. And even if it doesn’t, if I mess up on a scene I can fix it when I’m editing.
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I’m really enjoying David Nicholls at the moment. ‘Us’ was even better than ‘One Day’. And I loved ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’ve just finished ‘Capital’ by John Lanchester and it’s a wonderful read. Full of warmth and humanity. I love anything by Cathy Kelly and Marian Keyes. And I’m about to start a novel by my friend Kate Kerrigan called ‘The Dress’.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
I’m about to dive into my fourth novel. So right now I’m at the wonderful ‘What If?’ stage. Pulling over on the M11 to type ideas into my phone, scribbling ideas on the back of receipts. My mind is humming and buzzing with new characters. All I have to do now is decide which ones I’ll spend the next year with!
A huge thank you to Ella for participating in this interview. A special thanks to Lucy and Annette at Orion. ♥
Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of The Flower Arrangement, released Thursday 18th June 2015.