It seems we’re all obsessed with love stories but what makes a good one? Anna Bell asks journalist Jessica Thompson who has recently published her debut novel This is a Love Story…

I know I am obsessed with love stories, I’m an unashamed hopeless romantic. And I know I’m not the only one. Economists predicted that Valentine’s Day in the US would have contributed $17.6 billion to the economy this year. And what if you haven’t found your love story yet? Well then there’s a huge economy based around that too including internet dating, speed dating, silent dating (I kid you not). By 2014 it’s estimated that the internet dating sites in the UK will be worth £150 million. I spoke to author Jessica Thompson about what makes a good love story…

Can you tell us a bit about your novel This is a Love Story?

This is a Love Story is an indie romance, set in London. It follows a girl and a guy who meet on the Tube and catch each other’s eyes over a copy of The Metro and instantly like each other. We are then taken on a will-they-won’t they adventure over the course of five years, and watch them play out a love story of two people destined to never be together. I won’t give too much away, but it has been described as a bit of an emotional roller-coaster by readers, with laughs and tears along the way.

Sienna and Nick pretty much fell in love at first sight, is that something you believe in?

I think you can be bowled over by someone at first sight. I have experienced it a couple of times and won’t ever forget it. Love I guess is something that grows a little deeper than the initial desire you might experience over someone’s looks and facial expressions. I think love at first sight is a term often used in retrospect in the most wonderful situations where that gorgeous stranger actually turns out to have an incredible personality too, and everything works out for the best. It is an incredibly romantic notion, and I think everyone loves the idea of it.

This is a Love StoryWhat are the elements that make a good love story?

Aside from the obvious instant attraction, the friendship side is really important. There is nothing more exciting than getting to know someone and finding that you not only like the way they look, but the way they are, the way they live, and how they act around you too. A good love story develops over time, and most often it is laden with challenges and surprises. It’s not always amazing every day. A good love story is real, and real people have flaws and faults. In my opinion love is when you meet someone who adores you for who you are, and someone who makes you feel better when you are down and brings out the best in you.

What do you think are the greatest love stories in real life/films/books?

Some of my close friends have experienced amazing ‘love stories’. One friend met a guy six years ago on holiday. Years later they met in a bar, got to know each other again and that was it. They are still together now, and very happy. I have a friend who met an American girl at a wedding, they now travel to see each other between London and New York, talk every day on Skype and make each other blissfully happy. Gorgeous love stories are all around. In terms of the movies, there are so many beautiful stories it is hard to pick just one. 500 Days of Summer is my favourite film, and although the romantic story in this doesn’t turn out the way many would like it to, I think it is poignantly realistic. It is still a love story in its own right, and one that so many of us can relate to. The Notebook was so gooey that my friends and I had to go for a walk afterwards to stop ourselves from crying!! Very funny… Looking at literature, I think One Day is a heartbreakingly beautiful love story. Again, not entirely conventional, but utterly romantic.

You held a recent Twitter competition to get people to tweet their own love stories, do you have one to tell?

Hopefully I’ll meet eyes with my own love story on the Tube any day now… 🙂

“This is a love story. Boy meets girl and girl falls for boy – that much is true. But when Sienna meets Nick it’s not the way it happens in love stories. It’s because of a squirrel on water skis… She sees Nick’s dangerous brown eyes and thinks, Don’t. Fall. Into. Them. Who will be there to catch Sienna when she falls? She is so fragile. She has so many secrets, and he is not that serious. Funny and sad, this is the story of two people destined never to come together in the great love affair they crave more than anything else. Will they ever get it together or will Nick and Sienna’s love story stay unfinished?”

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