I’m delighted to welcome Rom-Com Author - Lorraine Brown to my blog.
|Lorraine Brown - Author|
Hello Lorraine – It was lovely to connect with you via the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I’ve met some great people through the RNA and always find members and affiliates to be so supportive of one another. But before we discover more about your debut release, Uncoupling, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers and insight into some of the things that matter to you.
Arabella: You’ve got an idea for a story but it has yet to take shape. Where do you start? Do you concentrate on the location in the story, or developing the characters personalities and conflicts, or are there other key points you might consider?
Lorraine: I’m very new to this and therefore still discovering what works best for me! For Uncoupling, which is my first novel, I initially came up with the hook – a couple being separated on a night train and ending up in different places. Next I thought about location – what were the logistics of their train journey? Where might they start, and where might they end up? I was immediately drawn to the two cities I know best outside of my hometown (London) – Paris and Amsterdam. From there I thought about character – I wondered what kind of protagonist would find it most difficult to be stranded in a strange city with no money; what kind of person might undergo the biggest change, and what is it they need but don’t know they need? At the time of writing, I’d just started studying for a post-graduate diploma in psychodynamic counselling. This really enhanced my character work, as I was beginning to learn – in great detail – why we are the way we are, and how our childhood influences everything, including how we behave in relationships as adults. I wanted to incorporate some of these theories into the book, and as I learned more on my course, so I added more layers and depth to my story. I also wanted it to have a real page-turning quality (possibly because at the time I was reading lots of psychological thrillers!) and so I also thought about how I could up the stakes and make everything feel more urgent.
Arabella: In your debut novel Uncoupling what is the overall theme or premise, and what made you choose this topic?
Lorraine: I wanted to write a contemporary love story and I wanted it to feel very realistic, as though the reader is almost observing a slice of life. The action takes place over about 24 hours and so I hope it feels as though the reader is experiencing it in real time, in a way. It’s about a couple who get separated on a train and by the time they meet again, everything has changed…
My inspiration was the film Before Sunrise with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke – to me it is the most perfect film, a simple love story about two people who meet on a train and take a chance on each other. Influenced by all I was learning on my counselling course, and by my own working class background, I wanted to write about a character who has struggled to find her way in life and who hasn’t had opportunities handed to her on a plate – Hannah, my female protagonist, is in a job she hates, a relationship that feels all wrong and she’s struggling to work out what she really wants. Throughout the course of the story, she begins to take control of her life for the first time – effectively, she has to get lost in order to find herself. I hope this is a theme that many readers will relate to.
Arabella: Roses, Lilies, or another flower of choice?
Lorraine: I especially love the smell of roses. We live in a flat and only have a shared garden, but recently (after seven years on the waiting list!) we were offered an allotment plot. I’m really excited to create a little oasis full of vegetables and flowers – I plan to add a bench so I can write there in the summer. Before the pandemic, I would never write at home – I would always be in coffee shops, or I’d edit on the tube. I work better with background noise around me!
Arabella: You've arranged to meet with friends and family for an afternoon of fun. In the present socially restricted climate, where do you go and what do you do?
Lorraine: My favourite thing to do is to go for a nice lunch or dinner in town with friends. And if I could, I’d go to the cinema first – my favourite is The Curzon in Mayfair. And I really miss travelling, as I’m sure we all do – as soon as I can, I hope to go back to Paris and spend the afternoon wandering around Montmartre eating éclairs and drinking chocolat chaud!
Arabella: All authors love and need to read. When choosing a book, do you:
a) pick off the shelf?
b) search online?
c) go with friends recommendations?
Lorraine: A mixture, I think. I used to work at a school in Hampstead in North London and would spend my lunch hour in the Waterstones there, writing upstairs in the café. On the way out, I’d always have a little browse at the tables! I also enjoy following other writers and book bloggers on Twitter and Instagram, so will often get recommendations that way. Plus I have a couple of friends who are avid readers, and they’ll often recommend books to me.
Arabella: Italian, French or English. (I’ll leave it to you to decide if I mean a gourmet meal, a bottle of wine, or a partner!)
Lorraine: As Uncoupling is set almost entirely in Paris (probably my favourite city in the world), you can probably guess that I’m obsessed with all things French! That includes the language, the fashion, the wine, the food and – yes – the men! I think that in my male protagonist – Léo, a gorgeous Parisian musician – I have basically written my dream man. I also adore French movies and TV and recently binged on Call My Agent and The Hook Up Plan on Netflix, both of which are excellent.
Arabella: The moment we are published, a career path is usually envisaged. Do you have any aspirations or ambitions for yourself and any future novels you might write?
Lorraine: Book 2 is scheduled to be released in April 2022, so I was on a much tighter schedule with this one! I started planning the book in the spring, and handily there were lots of online webinars and festivals happening around that time, which really helped and motivated me. This time I plotted much more carefully, chapter by chapter. This made the actual process of writing much easier and I completed a first draft in a couple of months, once my son (who is 8) went back to school in September. Obviously there is still a lot of work to be done, but it feels good to have that first draft completed. It’s another modern love story, this time about two people who live opposite each other in an apartment block near Hampstead Heath. I’d also love to try my hand at writing a TV or film script, and started a screenwriting for authors course in January, which is really sparking my imagination.
Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, and for sharing some of your writing secrets, Lorraine. As someone who also has an allotment, I’m keen to discover how you manage to divide your time between digging, sowing and planting with the seasons, and writing the next best seller!
Wishing you happy-ever-after writing and lots of success with your debut Uncoupling.
About Lorraine Brown
|Lorraine Brown - Author|
Lorraine Brown previously trained as an actress and is about to complete her final year of a postgraduate diploma in psychodynamic counselling. She lives in London with her partner and their 8-year-old son. Uncoupling is her first novel.
Social Media Links:
Facebook: @lorrainebrownauthor https://www.facebook.com/lorrainebrownauthor
Twitter: @LorraineBrown23 https://twitter.com/LorraineBrown23
Instagram: @lorrainebrownauthor https://www.instagram.com/lorrainebrownauthor/
Book Blurb Uncoupling
Could one split second change her life forever?
Hannah and Si are in love and on the same track - that is, until their train divides on the way to a wedding. The next morning, Hannah wakes up in Paris and realises that her boyfriend (and her ticket) are 300 miles away in Amsterdam.
But then Hannah meets Léo on the station platform, and he's everything Si isn't. Spending the day with him in Paris forces Hannah to question how well she really knows herself - and whether, sometimes, you need to go in the wrong direction to find everything you've been looking for...
The Flatshare meets The Note – this is a quirky, modern love story that will sweep you off your feet.
Published by Orion on 18th February 2021 as a Hardback, £14.99. Also available in eBook and Audio. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in the US as The Paris Connection on 24th August 2021 as Paperback, $16.00.