Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice talk about their experience writing a novel as a duo.
What made you decide to write a rom-com?
LT: The genre is a natural fit for our writing style. When we first starting thinking about a book, I was writing the Girl About Town column for thelondonpaper and Jimmy was writing a dating blog (plentymorefishoutofwater.com) so we were both trying to write funny anecdotes about our love lives. Personally, I always knew I’d feel more comfortable writing about a fictional character than about myself.
JR: I actually found it easier writing about real experiences than fictional ones. I think the book will be bought mainly by women, but hopefully it will be one that once they’ve read it they’ll pass it to their other halves and boy mates and say ‘You know what? I think you’d enjoy this.’
Comparisons have been made between your book and some great Richard Curtis films. So if a film was to be made from the book, who would you like to see playing the parts of Holly and Alex? And of course, Kev and Jemma?
JR: One of the first things we did (we’d literally only just started writing the thing) was discuss the soundtrack to the movie, but we’re still undecided about the cast. It’s a tough decision.
LT: We were quite impressed with my mum’s choices though: Alex – James McAvoy; Holly – Karen Gillen; Kev – Nick Helm; and Jemma – Maisie Williams.
Did you learn anything new about each other whilst writing this book?
JR: I learnt that Laura talks in a Scottish accent when speaking to her family but a London accent with everyone else, that she has an unhealthy crush on David Bowie in Labyrinth and that she is an even better writer than I thought she was.
LT: I learnt that Jimmy is a nag, that he gets grumpy when he’s hungry and that once he’s set his mind to something he’s amazingly dedicated. He’s got that enviable combination of talent and determination that only the really successful authors have.
What advice would you give to friends who want to write a book together?
JR: Get yourself a thick skin and a good supply of biscuits.
LT: Always be honest with each other, and never precious about your own ideas or writing. Sometimes you’ll be right and sometimes they’ll be right – on the latter occasions you need to suck it up.
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you?
LT: When I was younger I went to see The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and afterwards we happened to be walking past the stage door, and I met Jason Donavan. He signed my programme and kissed my cheek. That was pretty awesome.
JR: Would it be too obvious to say getting a book – an actual book with my name on – published? If so then I’ll go with transforming my depressed, arthritic, bulimic rescue cat who weed on my bed daily into a cat with perfect litter etiquette. She is still depressed, arthritic, and bulimic, though.
Everyone remembers their first love.
Holly has learnt that life isn’t about seizing the moment. She might have harboured dreams about travelling the world as a teenager, but she let go of those – just as she let go of Alex.
But what if the feelings never really went away?
Alex wants to make every moment of his new job count. It’s a fresh start in a new city, and he knows that moving to London has nothing to do with Holly. Well, probably.
How do you know if it was meant to be. or never meant to happen at all?
Jimmy Rice is a 32-year-old sports journalist. Laura Tait is a 32-year-old writer for Shortlist and Stylist magazines. Jimmy and Laura met studying journalism at Sheffield University, so sitting in pubs talking about life and love is something they’ve been doing for the last ten years. Not much has changed since they started their debut novel except they take their laptops to the pub and write it all down.