Isabelle Andover on why writers have the perfect excuse to stay in.

There are certain things that only writers can say and/or understand. Like that need to buy pretty notebooks and brand new pens, never mind the fact that you do all your writing on your laptop (while in bed, wearing your pyjamas). You’re a writer and you need stationery like a rapper needs a gold chain.

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If you’re a writer, and anything like me, you’ll also understand things like:

“I’m going to put that in my next book”

When anyone makes a sharp observation, says anything remotely funny, or does something so hilarious that it would actually be a crime not to immortalise it in the pages of a book.

Writers pay more attention to conversations around them than you’d think. Granted, I probably won’t yell across to that young couple in Starbucks that their heated argument will likely resurface in a novel one day, but I’m thinking it. Ditto for when a family member makes a well-meaning but wildly inappropriate comment. When it’s my close friends, however, I will openly admit when something they say or do gives me inspiration. Which probably explains why I don’t see as much of them as I used to. Or is this because….

“…I can’t come out tonight, I need to write”

Writers don’t just write. They need to write. That story they keep thinking about needs to be put down on paper. Those characters they’re sketching out need to develop and evolve. But as very few are lucky enough to be full-time writers, making the time to write means making sacrifices. Your social life will definitely take a back seat. And, in my case, cleaning, laundry and cooking anything more elaborate than a frozen pizza are also pushed aside in favour of scribbling down a few hundred words after work.

Of course, writers aren’t always the virtuous little scribblers they appear to be. Or at least, I’m not. Sometimes I don’t write for a whole week, and don’t do a whole lot else either. Because I’m tired from all the words I typed the week before. But it’s okay – writing provides the perfect excuse. When I can’t be bothered to go out and just want to stay in with the cat and watch Netflix, I just say “I need to work on my novel/I’ve got an editing deadline/Inspiration has struck” and no one questions anything. Because writers are important people, with important things to do.

Important things like lounging around all day reading a book, which is a completely legitimate activity because it counts as research.

In some ways, reading is almost better than writing. It makes you remember why you write in the first place. The story is already there, it’s fabulous and you’re laughing so hard your jaw hurts. The only downside is that you didn’t write it yourself. But in my experience, nothing will motivate you more to take a fresh look at that work in progress than an amazing book that has you devouring the pages well past midnight.


Cocktails_at_Le_Carmen_V3When job cuts at Chloe Saddler’s London communications firm result in an unexpected transfer to Paris, she finds herself leaving behind her friends, family, and boyfriend Scott to start a new life in the City of Light. Getting to grips withLa Vie Parisienne and keeping a long-distance relationship afloat is not made any easier by the culture shock. Committing the odd French faux pas and inadvertently indulging in a few too many flirtations with her very sexy (and very taken) boss, Jean-Luc, is just the start of it. Factor in her bridezilla of a sister’s wedding (the hottest event of the year in the Saddler family’s social calendar), an unexpected session of hot, naked yoga, a slightly psychotic stalker, and one incredible kiss at an infamous Montmartre nightspot, and Chloe can say au revoir to her old, safe London life and bonjour to the romance, splendour, and glamour of Paris.


Isabelle Andover is a Paris-based writer of chick lit. Her debut novel, Cocktails at Le Carmen, is published by Simon & Fig. Originally from England, Isabelle lives with her tabby cat Oscar, who occasionally blogs about apartment-style living in the City of Light. In addition to fully embracing the culture of her adopted country by way of consuming plenty of French wine and cheese, Isabelle can also be found indulging in the typically British pursuits of shopping at Marks and Spencer on the Champs Elysées and drinking copious cups of Earl Grey.

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