Author interview: Lisa Dickenson

21 Jun

The sun is shining (at last!) and I’m delighted to welcome Lisa Dickenson to One More Page today to talk about her fabulous summer read You Had Me At Merlot which has just been released in paperback. Lisa was born in the wrong body. She was definitely meant to be Beyoncé. 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 Beyoncé.

Lisa’s first novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, won the Novelicious Debut of the Year award and was an instant hit with readers who were won over by her wit, charm and naughty sense of humour – she’s got her fingers crossed that everyone feels the same about You Had Me at Merlot. Welcome Lisa!

lisa dickensonI loved reading You Had Me At Merlot when it was released as a serial (read my reviews here!), but for those who haven’t discovered its fabulousness yet, please could you tell us a little about it and your inspiration for it?

Thanks for being there from the start, Amanda!  You’re such a champion :-)

Okay, in a nutshell, You Had Me at Merlot follows two friends who go on a singles holiday to a Tuscan vineyard.  One is excited, one is reluctant, but both are looking forward to some Italian sunshine and some wine.  And as they get to know the other guests, they get to know themselves a little better also.

The novel is set in a vineyard in beautiful Tuscany; how did you go about your research and what was the most interesting fact you found!?

I researched the book before it even existed, by visiting a few vineyards over the past ten years.  So when I started writing a book about wine, the memories all came flooding back.  I also drank a lot of wine, and gazed at Italian holiday brochures, all in the name of research.  The most interesting facts I found out while researching were a) that chili in wine is flippin’ AMAZING, and b) that one of the Assassin’s Creed games is set in a beautiful little medieval village in the Tuscan countryside.

 Laurie persuades Ellie to go on holiday to Italy with her; what are your top 3 tips for holidaying with friends? 

  1. Have lots of nibbles and drinks to consume during frantic chatter (now is not the time to diet).
  2. Pick a place a little out of all of your comfort zones, so one person doesn’t end up feeling like they have to be the holiday-mum/dad.
  3. Laugh and laugh and be kind and complimentary to each other at every opportunity.  Enjoy the sunshine or the snow or the storms and take time to remember why you LOVE these friends.

There are some mouthwatering descriptions of food (and wine!) in You Had Me At Merlot – what would the menu for your merlot 3dideal Italian meal look like?

And I can’t have a pizza starter, pizza main and pizza desert?  FINE.  Mmmm, I love Italian food.  I think the starter would have to be some Parma ham, some hard Italian cheese, some olive oil and garlic breads and chili jam… that kind of thing!  ALL OF IT.  Then pizza would be the main course, because pizza is heaven.  Then affogato – ice cream with espresso poured over the top.  And then a cheeky limoncello to finish up with :-)

Laurie and Ellie made me laugh and I loved their stories; by way of introduction, what would their Twitter Bio’s say?

Wow – good question!

Elle’s would be something like ‘Single and really not bothered about mingling, please stop pity-eyeing me.  Views are my own.’  And Laurie’s would say ‘Cracking photographer.  Always looking for hunky male models.  Master of disguise.’

But whether their profiles would change by the end of the book remains to be seen…

Who was your favourite character to write and did they throw any surprises your way as the story developed?

Lothario George was a fun guy to write because he was so vom-inducing until he showed me his true colours and then I started to kind of love him.  I didn’t know his back story when he first appeared at the vineyard, but he opened the door to me a few glasses of wine in.

And finally … what can we expect next from Lisa Dickenson?

Next up is Mistletoe on 34th Street, which comes out in ebook in September and paperback in October of this year.  And I’m just putting the final touches to it now!

Yay! A new Christmassy book to look forward to! Thanks Lisa!

 

Follow Lisa on Twitter for all her book news and Beyoncé -related chatter: @LisaWritesStuff.

And don’t forget to check out Lisa’s site at: http://www.lisadickenson.com/

9780751561937Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they’re single, they’re not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren’t filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine. She likes her independent life, but Laurie wants love and she wants it now.

So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. She has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else’s idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be?

Full of sultry summer nights, hilarious moments and plenty of adventure, You Had Me at Merlotwill warm even the most cynical of hearts and have you believing in the magic of romance (and the power of a decent glass of wine).

You Had Me At Merlot is out now in paperback and ebook fomats.

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