Lindsey Kelk's I HEART PARIS is the perfect autumn read. Full of charm, wit, and heart, Kelk delivers a love story that captures the essence of romance. I HEART PARIS a whirl-wind ride built on anticipation, laughter, and authentic characters. As readers follow heroine Angela through the streets of Paris, they will find themselves smitten by her candid honesty, plucky courage, and resolute nature to never give up what the heart desires.
Kelk shares her influences, the element of a great story, and how she balances the light and dark components of a bewitching love story.
Who are your influences?
I’m constantly over-stimulated by books, TV, movies, music… my level of media saturation is really unhealthy. I definitely feel the influences of the books I grew up reading, Sweet Valley, Paula Danziger definitely but the authors I come back to time and time again these days are Bret Easton Ellis, Donna Tartt and I love Michael Cunningham. They probably aren’t so obvious. I love shows like Friends and Gossip Girl too, I think you can see that in there. And I steal mercilessly from my friends’ conversations. I really should start brunch with a disclaimer.
I HEART PARIS is a charming and addictive story. How do you balance keeping a story layered (and striking an emotional chord) and light-hearted?
Thank you! I try not to over think the storyline while I’m writing it and just go with what feels natural. My favourite thing about writing a first person story is I get to react to the situations along with the characters. Hopefully that helps it feel honest and fresh. I think the characters are going through things a lot of us are facing. I get a lot of tweets and Facebook messsages from people asking if the stories are real, I think that’s a huge compliment.
What do you believe makes a great story? How do you incorporate this element in your own stories?
There are a million things that make for a good story but mostly, I want to care about the characters. I really want to feel engaged and invested in what they’re going through. A captivating character can pull you into a story even if the writing isn’t fantastic or the storyline isn’t completely thrilling. That’s definitely my priority – trying to write people that my readers will care about. And I’m pretty much constantly trying to make people laugh. If in doubt, make them laugh.
Do you have set ‘writing rules’?
Not really. When I try to be rigid, I find it really difficult. Mostly, I just sit at my laptop of write until I fall asleep. Whatever comes out, comes out.
How important are the elements of love and letting go to I HEART PARIS?
They’re definitely key themes. Angela is sort of stuck in the middle of two lives and has to decide which way she’s going to go. She left the UK for life in New York but she hasn’t actually really thought about what that means, long-term. And obviously, the book is a romcom so love is pretty central to the overall story! Communication is another big theme because I really think that’s something my generation is not so good at dealing with… she says, from experience. Angela is pretty terrible at vocalising what she wants and what she needs because it’s so much easier to run away but in his book, she has to decide whether she’s going to run again or stay and fight.
Angela’s voice is captivating -- she’s fallible, honest, and fuh-ney. How much of yourself is in her character?
Ha! I’m so glad you think so. I do put a lot of myself in there, even when I try not to. Occasionally one of my friends will read one of the books and be all ‘Um, so in I Heart Paris, when she’s quoting Les Mis songs… you know that’s you, right?’ and I don’t even realise I’ve done it. I think we’re both people pleasers. We’re both clumsy. We both like a glass (or bottle) of wine. She’s a bit quicker to violence than me but she’s working on that...
How important are the ripples of one small incident to the whole of a person’s life?
Oh. Epically important. I used to like to trace all the major events in my life back to the most insignificant decisions… I try not to now, it’s not healthy but I do think that the smallest thing can have the biggest impact. Doing a small favour for a friend can result in meeting someone who changes your entire life.
Will you share a little about your writing process? How much time your invest in revisions and what the biggest distractions are for you?
I’m terrible. Basically, I have absolutely no discipline and have will sit around all day finding as many distractions as possible and then spend eighteen hours a day, writing through the night, for two months until the entire thing is done. Editing is the worst, once I’m done, I really hate going back and making revisions but since my process is quite quick, there aren’t usually too many. When I spend too long on a book, over-thinking things, you can see it. The writing doesn’t feel as fresh and fun.
Living in New York is the biggest distraction, there’s always someone to see or something to do. I will always find some way of procrastinating, whether it’s cleaning, working on some other side project, watching five episodes of The Wire or spending a good three hours on Twitter. Also, I secretly love the WWE. Except it’s not so secret. For shame.
Finally, what are you working on now?
I’m working on a new standalone novel called About a Girl. Or at least I will be when I’ve finished watching Summer Slam.
Visit Lindsey Kelk: http://lindseykelk.com/