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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Interview: Roxie Cooper

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Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Law of Attraction by the lovely Roxie Cooper. To celebrate, I sat down for a chat and a catch-up with Roxie, ready to share the juicy gossip with you all!

Hi Roxie! Would you like to introduce yourself? 
Hello! Thanks so much for having me on your blog! Well, my name is Roxie and I live in Yarm, which is a little market town in the North East. I come from Middlesbrough and studied Classics at Newcastle University (yeah, Latin and Ancient Greek – you can imagine how useful that’s been). After that, I worked as a dancer for a few years (a bit like Coyote Ugly – literally the best job I ever had), went travelling for a while, lived in Australia, came back, went to law school and became a barrister! The Law of Attraction is the first novel I’ve written and I completed it in 16 months.
How did you first become interested in writing?
I’m not one of these people who had a burning desire to write from a young age. After practising at the Bar for a few years and experiencing the absurdity of it all as a Northern working-class peroxide blonde with a big personality, I got fed up of people saying to me “Oh! You really don’t look like a barrister!” so I decided to start writing a book about a girl like me just going into this world and coping with it all.
Tell me about The Law of Attraction.
It’s about a girl called Amanda Bentley who comes from a council estate in Teesside. She’s smart, sassy and doesn’t take any nonsense. After winning a prestigious pupillage at the best set of barristers’ Chambers in the northeast, she’s got one year to prove she’s got what it takes to be offered a tenancy there…but she’s up against her smarmy law school nemesis, Marty Gregg.
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Image: Neverland Blog Tours
She also struggles to resist the sexy barrister Sid Ryder who she absolutely cannot go anywhere near if she wants to retain her professional dignity (or potentially risk the wrath of his venomous ex, Clarinda). But she’s also hiding a big secret which could jeopardise everything if her colleagues find out about it. Essentially, Amanda is that girl who makes the wrong choices, is in the wrong place at the wrong time, says the wrong thing – she’s raw and real…she could be any of us.
How do you get inspiration?
I’m really interested in human emotions and more specifically, secret or forbidden emotions – feeling things we shouldn’t. Although The Law Of Attraction is humorous in the main part, it has a darker side running through it, dealing with these issues. It essentially explains why Amanda acts the way she does, so threads the whole story together. Ultimately, I am inspired writing about flawed characters – I find them fascinating because they’re human and complex – just like we all are.
What draws you to writing contemporary fiction?
The subject matter of my first novel fell naturally into this genre. Most of the books I read are here, too. It’s funny because everyone assumes I write legal thrillers or domestic noir because of the job I do – I can’t imagine anything worse! I’d feel like I was at work. I’d also get far too bogged down in detail, insisting everything was 100% accurate in terms of legal procedure/court scenes etc and that would be tedious for the reader. I had to be really strict with myself for some of the court scenes in The Law of Attraction and give myself poetic licence to bend the rules, knowing that if I wrote it as it actually would be in court, people would stop reading after 2 minutes! Trials are rarely exciting.
What’s your writing process?
Well, I’m initially struck by an idea as explained above. Once I’ve written a few notes down and formed a plot in my head and committed to it, I set about putting it on a planner on my laptop to see if it can work as a full novel. I am an absolutely meticulous planner! I need to (roughly) plan a book out scene by scene before I start writing it otherwise it turns into a big old mess and I get stressed. I don’t write it in sequence though, I jump about all over the place, depending on what I feel like writing on that particular day. The worst part of this is that I’m deprived of writing ‘The End’ and Instagramming it! Once I think I’m close-ish to word count, I’ll read it from the beginning to make sure it’s not completely rubbish and the structure is right, then I’ll work on edits, which will get finer and smaller as the weeks go by.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing is translating what’s in your head to the page. Often, I’ll be walking along with my iPod on (I do that a lot to get ideas) and you’ll plan this amazing scene with brilliant dialogue and incredible scenery description. You’ll then sit down to write it and it’s terrible. Then, other days, the words flow tremendously and you can’t quite believe you wrote this magnificent opus. Bizarre.
Roxie-Cooper, author
Image: Roxie Cooper / Neverland Blog Tours
Which authors inspire you?
Adele Parks. She comes from Teesside, where I’m from so she showed me that it could be done. I absolutely love her books and find her brave, bold style of writing wonderfully inspirational. I think any author who covers controversial or brave topics are fantastic.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
The best tip (which took me a while to put into effect) is leave editing until the end. I wasted MONTHS in the beginning on those important first few chapters when I changed them after a year anyway. You will never reach the end of your book if you edit along the way. Write now – even if it’s complete rubbish – and edit at the end.
What’s your all-time favourite book?
This is going to sound horribly nerdy, but I have to stay true to my Classicist roots and say The Odyssey by Homer. Despite being thousands of years old it’s an absolute masterclass in storytelling. It’s got everything you need; a swoony hero, action, rising tension, great villains and an amazing, climatic ending. I also love Wuthering Heights – so much so, I have the entire novel printed out and framed, hanging in my living room. It’s such a centrepiece and people are always wowed by it.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? 
I don’t want to become too comfortable in anything I do. I always want to push myself and try something new and different. At the same time, I’d like to build up a platform of readers who enjoy reading my books, love my style of writing and can’t wait for the next one to come out – that’s the absolute dream!
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I absolutely adore anything to do with musicals! My favourite thing to do is watch them – I think I probably own every single one on DVD! I also love going to the theatre and very recently went to see Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes which was visually stunning. He’s my favourite choreographer and it was incredible to see one of his shows again. I adore losing myself in the world of theatre.
What are you currently working on?
My second novel is an unconventional love story. I had the option between writing an ‘easy’ second book and this one, but I chose this one for two reasons; Firstly, I wanted to challenge myself as a writer and this one truly has. Secondly, it’s a really interesting, bold story with raw, emotional characters. I’ve really enjoyed writing it. It’s now finished and I’m currently editing it. 
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m currently reading two books, actually – both very different. This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh – a truly gorgeous, emotional novel which you definitely need a box of tissues for. The other is The Flower Shop on Foxley Street by Rachel Dove – an uplifting, fun read by a wonderful author.
If you want to know more about Roxie, you can follow her on Twitter. The Law of Attraction is available to buy now.

What do you think? Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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