I was extremely excited to be given the opportunity to chat to the wonderful Nicola May. author of the hugely successful novel, The School Gates. Nicola is back with a new book which is released on the 23rd July, The SW19 Club. This book is such a brilliant read, you can catch my review later on today (and pre-order your copy here). In the meantime it’s over to Nicola as she spills the beans on what we can expect from her latest release…
Hello Nicola, a big, warm welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! Thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Thanks for having me! So… I’m Nicola May, I write romantic comedy and live in Ascot in Berkshire with my mad cat Stanley. I love fizz, flapjacks and fine dining.
Can you tell us a bit about your new novel, The SW19 Club, which is released on the 23rd July by Accent Press?
When Gracie Davies is faced with the news she can never have children, she is at an all-time low. Finding the subject is almost taboo, she sets up The SW19 Club, where women in similar situations can chat openly about the unspoken issues of fertility in a supportive and fun environment.
I love the sound of The SW19 Club, it’s such a brilliant idea and I can’t wait to meet Gracie Davies. How did you come up with the idea?
Aw, thank you. Gracie, the heroine in The SW19 Club was born from a life changing situation of my own. Very sadly I lost twins and had to have a hysterectomy. I wanted to depict a character with great inner strength, combined with a feminine softness who many women could relate to. And a book, that I hope makes a difference to women who are going through similar situations.
Is Gracie Davies completely fictional or is she based on anyone in real life?
So… Gracie is a mixture of me, combined with a touch of artistic licence. Her physical description is actually of an old boss of mine who is now a friend.
How long did The SW19 Club take you to write?
Around six months.
Do you have any writing ‘confessions’ (e.g. secret habits or guilty pleasures?)
I write in bed! It is my sanctuary, usually with Stan the Cat snoozing at my feet.
Your novel, School Gates, has been a huge success and has lots of glowing reviews. How does it feel to hear that a reader has enjoyed your books?
It makes my job worthwhile when I get good reviews. Some still reduce me to tears! I love it especially if something I’ve written has personally helped somebody.
School Gates was also the winner of the Best Author Read Award 2012 at the Festival of Romance. (Congratulations!) What was it like winning that title?
It was actually one of the best moments of my self-published career to be honest. I had written the book in just a month, whilst recovering from my hysterectomy. I had put my heart and soul into writing it, so it was wonderful to be rewarded in such a way.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
Wow, a big question for me, but I will try and précis the answer. I started writing 19 years ago. I amazingly got an agent. For 2 years I received rejection letters. My agent let me go. I kept writing. After losing my treasured twins, I decided my books would become my babies. So… I self published 6 of them myself. And, after a lot of hard work and winning 2 awards at the Festival of Romance, I got myself an agent, – the lovely Sarah Taylor at Kate Nash and subsequently 6 months ago, a long awaited traditional publisher – Accent Press.
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Patrick Gale, Marian Keyes, Carole Matthews and Milly Johnson are a few of my favourite authors. I also love Rosamunde Pilcher – The Shell Seekers especially, and anything by Mary Wesley – most famous for The Camomile Lawn.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
The sequel to The School Gates is constantly bubbling around in my head, but I’m currently writing a new one based around a widely used dating app.