Author Interview with Victoria Cooke
Today I have the fantastic Victoria Cooke on Dreaming With Open Eyes talking to me about her debut novel The Secret to Falling in Love. Victoria, I’d just like to say a huge thank you for agreeing to appear on Dreaming With Open Eyes, it is an absolute pleasure to have you here.
Hi Victoria, a warm welcome to Dreaming with Open Eyes! Thank you for participating in this interview, would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Hi there, yes, I’m a married thirty-six year old woman with two children. I’m originally from Manchester (where The Secret to Falling in Love is set) but now live in West Yorkshire. My husband and I are both ex-teachers and now run our own business.
How was your publishing route with HQ Digital?
Surprisingly smooth actually. I’d read how hard the publishing route could be and was a little apprehensive but the team I’ve worked with at HQ have been wonderfully supportive.
The Secret to Falling in Love was released on 9th February 2017. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Of course. I’m a tech addict, a complete social media junkie and have often considered the implications of being without all my gadgets. Mel, the heroine in The Secret to Falling in Love, is pretty similar to me in that respect, but she’s single. Her goal is to settle down and start a family and anyone who has read the book will know how determined she is in actively registering to dating sites and Tinder, despite a string of terrible dates. Mel is a journalist and is challenged by her editor to give up technology as an experiment for an article. When she does, we see a transformation in her as she’s forced to live differently. She notices things more, reflects more and builds relationships, not just with men but with her family and even strangers. It’s a modern story of finding love, with a few surprises along the way.
How exciting was it for you to publish your first book?
Extremely! I’d written the book and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it at first but a member of an online book group I’m in had recommended HQDigital. Feeling like it would come to nothing, I sent off my submission letter, synopsis and three chapters and shortly after (and to my complete surprise) they requested the full manuscript. I couldn’t believe it when they offered me a book deal a few days later.
What inspired you to come up with the storyline for The Secret to Falling in Love? Have you ever gone on a social media break?
Haha, well I’ve tried to – I have mini breaks each day. There are days when I feel so consumed by social media that I want to chuck my phone in the bin however I lack Mel’s willpower. I often leave my phone upstairs or in another room sometimes to avoid constantly checking it.
What have you learned from it?
Because I have children it’s important for me to be present and in the moment, I want them to be sociable and interactive. In order for them to be, I have to be too. We have a ‘no phones at the dinner table’ rule for my husband and I – our children are too young for devices (4 & 5 years) and have never been allowed to use the ipad.
How tied up is your everyday life with social media?
I try to restrict myself to about fifteen minutes, three times a day (morning, noon and evening – mostly when my children aren’t around). I have to use social media to build my author profile and I always have a little peek at my personal pages too.
What was your favorite thing about creating Secret to Falling in Love?
I loved channeling the characters. Particularly Amanda, I love her dry humor and ability to speak her mind. She’s so direct, completely unlike me, so bringing her to life was fun. I also enjoyed writing the scenes with Mel and her neighbor Dan, I enjoyed constructing Mel’s responses to Dan – he irritates her slightly but I think he’s quite a lovable character.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was about 27 when I first tried. I used to own a quiet little boutique and read lots of books whilst I sat behind the counter. I found myself daydreaming about plots, characters and storylines and actually started to write a novel but at the time our other business was growing and writing was subsequently pushed aside. I came back to it recently after my younger daughter started school, I’d never fully returned to the business after having children so suddenly found I had the time to try.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to read and I enjoy watching films, particularly romantic comedies and thrillers. I try to keep fit and go running or to the gym when I can. I’m also quite fond of the odd holiday.
Lastly, what is next for you? Have you started working on a new novel? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
I have started work on my second novel. It’s about a woman from a small North Yorkshire village whose husband leaves her for somebody else. Sick of the village gossip and the feeling of self-worthlessness she packs up to go and work on a cruise ship. I love travelling and wanted to use some of the beautiful places around the Mediterranean as a story back drop to the onboard romance.
Thank you so much for answering all my questions Victoria!