Trisha Ashley’s ‘Sunday Times’ bestselling novels have twice been shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance, and ‘Every Woman for Herself’ was nominated by readers as one of the top three romantic novels of the last fifty years.’The House Of Hopes And Dreams’ is her latest book.
- To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
From being a little girl I knew I wanted to be a writer and painter and by my late teens had moved on from poetry, little plays and short stories to writing novels…very bad novels.
Since I thought that all you needed to do to be a novelist was live your life, read a lot and keep writing (true), I went off to Art College to study fine art – but quickly transferred to the architectural glass department instead. Like Angel, the heroine of ‘The House of Hopes and Dreams’, painting with light added another dimension.
I kept writing and sending off my novels over the next few years, settling down to write dark domestic satire. After many rejections (some of them including very helpful and encouraging advice), and various ups and downs, I was introduced to my agent, Judith Murdoch, who persuaded me to run a strand of romantic comedy through my novels – which I did. The first to be published was ‘Good Husband Material’ and I haven’t looked back since.
- Can you tell us about your new book ‘The House of Hopes and Dreams’
Carey and Angel have been best friends since childhood, so when Carey inherits a run-down Arts and Crafts house and Angel loses her long term partner and her happy, productive life in his stained glass studio, it seems meant to be that she and Carey should move into Mossby together and turn the old house into a home.
Of course, the house does have a tragic past and more than one mystery to solve…
- If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
I can’t imagine starting a book club, where you all decide on one book to read and discuss – these days, if the writing hasn’t grabbed me by chapter three then, to quote Douglas Adams, it’s ‘Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish.’ Life’s to short to waste trudging through stuff you find dreary, pretentious, bleakly sordid, or just plain boring, even if it’s been hyped to the skies, garlanded with bay leaves and won some prestigious literary award.
I do like a really challenging read from time to time – but it needs to be good writing and well worth the journey.
- What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
Pressing the ‘send’ button and seeing it vanish into the ether, while the ideas for the next novel sneak in by the back door and stand shuffling their feet, like guests who’ve arrived way too early for the party.
- What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
“All this happened, more or less…”. ‘From Slaughterhouse 5’ by Kurt Vonnegut.
- Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
Probably the indomitable Victorian archaeologist Amelia Peabody, heroine of Elizabeth Peter’s novels set in Egypt.
- If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
I don’t think so: it was a long, tough journey, but being forged in the fire makes you stronger. And everything, good or bad, that has happened in my life has been composted down and used to grow something else, so nothing has been wasted.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
‘The Hawk in the Rain’ by Ted Hughes, ‘Naked Once More’ by Elizabeth Peters… and maybe ‘Smoke Signalling for Dummies’.
- From books to films, what’s been your favourite adaptation?
More of a gloriously cheesy Bollywood reinterpretation than an adaptation, I adore ‘Bride and Prejudice’, it always lifts my spirits.
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
Read very widely, but especially current bestsellers in the genre you’re writing for. Ask yourself what their novels are giving the reader that yours doesn’t.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
A good cup of coffee.
- And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
I am at work on a new novel…but I never like to talk about the next book until I’ve written at least the first draft, because otherwise the magic just flies right out of it.
Follow Trisha Ashley on Twitter Trisha Ashley for updates.
You can buy the The House of Hopes and Dreams from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.