Lisa Dickenson was born in the wrong body. She was definitely meant to be BeyoncÃ©. Despite this hardship, she grew up in Devon attempting to write her own, completely copyright-infringing versions of Sweet Valley High, before giving Wales a go for university, and then London a go for the celeb-spotting potential. She’s now back in Devon, living beside the seaside with her husband and forcing cream teas down the mouths of anyone who’ll visit. She is sadly still not Beyonce. Lisa’s first novel, â€˜The Twelve Dates of Christmasâ€™, won the Novelicious Debut of the Year award. Her second novel, â€˜You Had Me at Merlotâ€™, is out now.
- Can you tell us what your new book ‘You Had Me At Merlot’ is about?
Itâ€™s about wine and friendship and smooching on a singlesâ€™ vineyard holiday under the hot Tuscan sunshine!
- To the readers of the website, can you tell us about yourself and how you got into writing?
Of course! Iâ€™ve always loved writing, but I properly knuckled down after being shortlisted for a short story competition back in 2013. From there I got my first book deal for â€˜The Twelve Dates of Christmasâ€™, and now I spend my days loitering about by the Devon seaside, eavesdropping on conversations and making up stories about people.
- What’s your favourite book of all time?
Thatâ€™s so hard, but also such a good question! Iâ€™m going to go with â€˜The Christmas Carolâ€™, because I grew up loving that story, in all the forms it took.
- If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
If it were still possible, Jackie Collins. Iâ€™ve always found her inspiring, and I bet sheâ€™d have some good gossip between book chat. Also, Iâ€™d love to have a book club with all of Fergieâ€™s Angels (the authors my agent, Hannah Ferguson, represents) because we get on very well and I think there would be a lot of laughing!
- What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
â€œLast night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.â€ â€“ â€˜Rebeccaâ€™. This book is so creepy and awesome.
- Can you recommend a good wine?
My fave wines at the moment arenâ€™t very fancy ones, but thereâ€™s a red which is available in my favourite pub in the world â€“ Dukes, in Sidmouth, Devon â€“ and itâ€™s called Whistling Duck. And I also love the Pink Moscato rosÃ© by Barefoot wines â€“ itâ€™s a bit sweeter than your average rosÃ© and I think itâ€™s yummy.
- What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Oh my gosh, there are so many things that Iâ€™m so amazed about and grateful for. Getting my first box of paperbacks was a big one that springs to mind. Having a review in â€˜Heatâ€™ magazine. Being given a â€˜debut of the yearâ€™ award from Novelicious. Having Sphere offer me a book deal for a fourth and fifth novelâ€¦ Iâ€™m a lucky girl!
- What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
Two things: writing the final few chapters (this is, for me, much easier than writing the beginning, because by this point you know your characters completely), and seeing the cover.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
Something big and boring but that I should really read, such as â€˜War and Peaceâ€™.
Something fun that I already know and love, to comfort me, such as Amy Poehlerâ€™s â€˜Yes Pleaseâ€™.
Something about a woman on a difficult, epic journey, to give me hope and courage!, such as â€˜Wildâ€™.
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
Dialogue. Dialogue makes the world go round, or at least a book come to life. I believe there should be lots of it and it should feel natural, so thatâ€™s what Iâ€™d recommend nailing.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
Husband Phil to stroke my feet.
- And finally Lisa, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website
Well, I do have a brand new Christmas novel out this Autumn, called â€˜Mistletoe on 34th Streetâ€™, so if you like Merlot I DARE YOU to pre-order a copy!