I love Portia MacIntosh. Her books are absolutely FABULOUS, plus she’s actually very lovely in real-lie too (I was lucky enough to meet her at the last blogger/author meet-up.) She is also insanely stylish. I was really excited to welcome Portia to my blog as we chat about her latest novel, Truth or Date (released 11th April 2016 with Carina) and she gives us her view on 21st century dating and shares her addiction to self-help books…
Hi Portia. Welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! I’m thrilled to have you on my blog today. Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Hello, my name is Portia MacIntosh, and I’m an alcoholic novelist. In some ways I’m your typical twenty-something, but in others I’m a complete weirdo. I’m also a very conflicting combination of being a sparkly, stupid-heel wearing girly-girl, and a sailor-mouthed, tomboy nerd. I realise none of this sounds at all appealing, or cool, or author-eqsue.
Can you tell us a bit about your new novel, Truth or Date (released 11th April)?
Truth or Date is all about twenty-something serial dater, Ruby Wood. She’s happily playing the dating game, working an easy job, and spending her days having fun until one night when she has a red-hot dream about her annoying flatmate, Nick. This dream does something to her though, and she starts seeing him in a different light. But rather than tell him he truth, she throws herself deeper into the dating game – because that’ll get him out of her head, right? If only it were that easy.
What inspired the storyline behind Truth or Date?
I’m twenty-something. You read how I describe my personality. I am in the dating game so deep, I no longer need to consult the rule book. Truth or Date is basically my take on 21st century dating, and on the one hand it’s an interesting perspective, because I’ve been on some very weird dates with some spectacular freaks, but at the same time, it encapsulates everything we all know about dating, and that is that it’s just an ugly mess of a nightmare until we find someone who thinks we’re tolerable just the way we are – that we don’t want to punch in the face.
Is your lead character, Ruby Wood, based on anyone in real life or is she entirely fictional?
I’m Ruby. You’re Ruby. Any girl who has ever been on a date is Ruby. It doesn’t matter if you’re meeting dudes at work, or through friends, or on Tinder – we all have to contend with the same bollocks. When are we supposed to sleep with people? How soon can I say the word ‘boyfriend’ without him packing his bags/changing his name/faking his own death? Can I still see other people? Is he still seeing other people? If I died would he come to my funeral for any reason other than a morning off work and a free buffet?! Ruby is a sort of dating game everywoman that we can all relate to.
Now, I’d quite like to chat all things dating if that’s OK with you… What’s your personal view on dating? Would you/have you ever been tempted to use online dating apps yourself?
When I split from my long-term boyfriend, I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do. I’d been with him for so long, I just couldn’t imagine starting from scratch with someone new. I figured I’d just die alone – it sounded easier – but my friends convinced me to join Tinder. I went into it expecting my first date to be horrible and, do you know what? It was worse than horrible. Absolutely horrendous. Traumatising, even. It’s a miracle I ever went on another date again, but I did. I played the dating game for a year. During that time I went out with all kinds of dudes – a doctor, a pro sportsman, a comedian – such a varied and interesting mix of people, but they all had one thing in common: something spectacularly wrong with them. It was just such a soul-destroying experience, but I’ve got to admit, it was loads of fun too. Plus it gave me a lot to write about. Would I recommend dating apps to other people? Probably not. Unless you have a thick skin and a really loud rape alarm.
…And what (or who!) would be your idea of a dream date?
Ooh, that’s a good question. I don’t like to think I have a type, but I definitely have a type: tall, dark and handsome. My dream date wouldn’t be anything crazy. If you do anything too wild, you can’t really get to know a person, and my aversion to romance makes me kind of an awkward person to try and woo, because anything mushy and I turn into a toddler whose parents are trying to force-feed her carrots – it ain’t happening. I just like to chill out and have a laugh. I need someone who can have me in absolute stitches, but who I can be comfortable around in perfect silence too. I don’t really mind where it takes place…
What’s the best thing about writing romance?
Playing Cupid. In real life, I don’t think I’d be great at matchmaking. I’d pair my friends together based on weird things, like who I could go bowling with, or who would make cute babies together, but in novels it’s different. You know who is just supposed to be together and you do everything you can to make sure they overcome all the obstacles you throw at them so they can wind up together. And I know that they’re not real people, and it doesn’t matter what happens to them, but it’s a hopeful message to put out there, that people can end up happy, because I have it on pretty good authority that people do actually fall in love in real life too, and it can be just as novel-worthy.
What advice would you give to any aspiring novelists out there?
My advice would be: don’t take too much advice. I realise that makes no sense, but there are so many people out there offering so much of it, and it can be tempting to listen to every industry person that is graciously giving you their time and expertise, but as good as their advice/intentions may be, it’s not always going to be right for you.
Who are your favourite authors and which type of books do you enjoy reading?
I read a little bit of everything, really, from romcoms to sci-fi. I actually have a really bizarre addiction to self-help books – I cannot get enough of them – but never on anything that will be at all useful, thinks like ‘The Naughty Girls Guide to Life’ by Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Sharon Marshall. Yes, really.
And finally – can you tell us about what you’re up to at the moment?
I have just started writing my sixth novel, which seems just ridiculous to me. I’m beyond proud to have had one book published, but six! Come on. That’s crazy.
It’s early days, but I’m enjoying it. I’m at that fun planning stage where you’re playing God, working out what you’re going to put all of your characters through, before you have to start thinking about things like chapter plans and deadlines. It should hopefully be out by the end of the year, so watch this space.
A huge thank you to Portia for answering my questions. ♥
You can get hold of your copy of Truth or Date here.