I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for The Stylist by the wonderful Rosie Nixon. As the editor of Hello! magazine, who better to write a novel based around the fashion A-List and the notorious red carpet season?! But how much of the story is based on Rosie’s past experience working for the magazine industry? What’s it really like working at Hello! magazine? And – most crucially – will there be a sequel to The Stylist…?
Hi Rosie, welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! I’m absolutely thrilled to have you on my blog, thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Thanks for having me Bookaholic Confessions! I’m a born and bred Londoner, grew up in North London, now live south of the river (don’t ask my parents about this migration). I’m married and have two boys under the age of two, we live in South West London with our crazy cat, Archie. Currently I’m on maternity leave from my job as joint Editor of HELLO! I adore my job and have held this position for the past six years. Before HELLO! I held senior roles at glossy women’s mags including Glamour, Grazia and Red. In no particular order, I love reading, writing, red wine, sunshine, beaches, clothes and accessories that glitter, making cakes, irregular exercise classes and I collect things with palm trees on them.
Can you tell us a bit about your new book, The Stylist (released 11th February 2016 with MIRA)?
The Stylist is a fashion-packed, fun-filled romp through red carpet awards season as we follow former shop assistant Amber Green as she lands what she thinks is her dream job assisting infamous ‘stylist to the stars’ Mona Armstrong. But Mona is unravelling faster than a hemline and Amber finds herself in the centre of a confusing love triangle.
As well as releasing a novel you are also the editor of the fabulous HELLO! Is writing a novel something you’ve always wanted to do?
I was a prolific story teller and letter-writer as a child and kept a diary as a teenager – I was always finding a reason to write and writing a novel was an ambition from an early age. I’ve worked for many glossy magazines as a writer and celebrity interviewer and now I’m an editor I have less time to write, so working on my novel reconnected me with my love of creative writing. I also found it a great escape. Seeing The Stylist in hardback is like a dream come true.
What’s the best thing about being the editor of HELLO! Magazine?
No two weeks are the same. We could be reacting to a major royal news story like the birth of Princess Charlotte one week, and then covering an A-list wedding on a remote beach the next. We have very short lead times on the magazine, which means that a wedding can take place one day, we’ll go to press with it that night, and be on sale just days later. It’s exhilarating to be able to put fresh news into readers’ hands as soon as possible, with no compromise on our gorgeous, glossy, full colour photography. But to do this takes a strong team effort – everyone goes the extra mile, and we try to have fun in the process. I’m lucky to have a job that is endlessly challenging and that I love so much.
Are parts of the storyline inspired by certain moments in your career of working in the magazine industry?
I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Los Angeles many times during my career and have covered the major awards ceremonies including the Oscars. I’ve always been fascinated by the people behind the amazing gowns we see paraded so seemingly effortlessly on the red carpet and thought it would be a fun premise for a novel. There is a showbiz wedding in The Stylist and of course I’ve had a lot of experience of those during my role at HELLO! I couldn’t help but be influenced by some of the situations I’ve been in when I wrote The Stylist, but all the characters are completely fictional.’
How long did The Stylist take you to write?
About one year.
I have been hearing so much advance praise for The Stylist and many comparisons to the wonderful The Devil Wears Prada. How does it feel to hear that readers have enjoyed your book so much?
It is such a thrill – all I want is for The Stylist to entertain readers so I’m really happy that it’s been received in the spirit in which it was intended.
Is your lead character Amber Green entirely fictional or is she based on anyone in real life?
She’s fictional but there are definitely bits of me in her, something which I think is quite natural for a first novel.
Who are your favourite authors and which type of books do you enjoy reading?~
I love Jojo Moyes, Jill Dawson, David Nicholls, Dawn French to name a few. I’m drawn to commercial women’s fiction and love humorous novels. My day job requires me to be constantly plugged in to social media and reading newspapers and magazines, so I like my books to provide an escape.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re up to at the moment?
I’m writing the sequel to The Stylist. I’m having a ball, it’s set in New York and involves more fashion dramas, parties, hangovers and matters of the heart as Amber relocates to the city that never sleeps and navigates her first relationship.
A huge thank you to Rosie and to Cara at MIRA.