Congratulations to Carrie Duffy on the official publication of her debut novel IDOL. HarperCollins publish on the 18th August and have secured fantastic promotional slots, including W H Smith retail, W H Smith travel, Asda and Amazon.
Carrie read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Trinity College, Oxford, before training as an actress. IDOL is her sizzling first novel set around the pop sensation Jenna Jonnson and the talented dancer Sadie Laine yearning to get her big break. Carrie has kindly let me interview her about her route to publication.
Are you excited about your debut novel coming out? Yes, very! I’m also quite nervous too – having lived with it for so long, it’s now going to be out there for people to read and not everyone is going to like it! But I’ve had some early blogger reviews which have been really positive, and each one boosts my confidence a little more. So much has happened over the last year, and publication is the culmination of that – I can’t wait to see what happens next!
How long did it take you to write? I started the initial draft of IDOL about ten years ago! It’s been through many changes since, and during that time I would put it to one side, ignore it for a while, then pick up and re-draft all over again – I couldn’t quite let it go! So it’s very difficult to say how long, but the final version probably came together in a few months.
Why did you decide to write in this genre? I love this genre! I read Career Girls by Louise Bagshawe when I was sixteen, and have been hooked ever since. I like to think I have fairly broad reading tastes, but I love the glamour and escapism of bonkbusters – they’re so much fun!
Have you always written? Yes, ever since I was tiny. I can remember being about six and writing little stories on my Dad’s BBC Acorn computer! I flirted with the idea of journalism for a while, but eventually decided not to pursue it. I think I was always more interested in writing books than articles.
How did you choose your agent? How long did it take? I’d been trying to find an agent for years, and would go through a cycle of sending material out, getting rejections, writing something new… What I liked about Darley Anderson was that they were so open to commercial work – there was no snobbery about only taking literary material. I also liked the fact that they made a distinction between chick-lit, bonkbusters, sagas etc., rather than lumping it all in under women’s fiction.
How much self-promotion are you having to do? I’m dipping my toes into the water, and getting quite into Twitter (@cazduffy if anyone wants to follow me!) My website is almost finished, and I’ll have a blog on there which I’m strangely excited about.
I think self-promotion can make a huge difference these days, as there are so many bloggers and review sites out there, and the potential to connect with people is incredible. That said, it doesn’t always come naturally to me – there are times when I’d rather stay in my own little world and just concentrate on the writing – but I’m learning.
What are your favourite authors? My favourite ever author is George Orwell – I’ve read pretty much everything by him and re-read regularly. I also enjoy writers such as Philippa Gregory, Kate Atkinson, Sebastian Faulks and Paullina Simons. In this genre, I love Louise Bagshawe, Tilly Bagshawe, Lesley Lokko and Tasmina Perry.
Do you ever get writer’s block? Not really – I have days where it doesn’t flow as easily as other days, but I rarely sit staring at the screen with no clue of what to write. I always have lots of ideas.
What follows IDOL? I’ve just finished my second novel, DIVA, which should be out next summer. It’s set in Paris, in the world of fashion, and follows the story of three women – Dionne, an aspiring model; CeCe, who’s determined to make it as a designer; and Alyson, who has little interest in the industry but ends up being sucked in! I think it has a slightly more mature and expansive feel than IDOL, but hopefully it’s just as fast-paced, glamorous and sexy!
Do you have any advice for new writers out there? It’s been said so many times, but perseverance. It’s taken me around ten years to get to this stage, so that certainly applies to me! I think if all I’d received was outright rejections then I might have given up, but because I did get some interest (positive feedback, invitations to send more of the manuscript) I knew I wasn’t writing complete rubbish. It just took a while for that perfect combination of right manuscript and right agent – but it was definitely worth the wait!
To read a copy of this sensational, escapist read click here.