It’s Adele Park’s TWENTIETH NOVEL IN TWENTY YEARS! All her novels have progressed to be a best seller enabling her to judge best book in the Costa Book Awards but she searches for the scruitiny of concepts like family, honesty, love and general life lessons we all debate constantly. Her outstanding work in the literary world places her as a role model for people aspiring to write their own novel or encourages people to pick up a book. Something we all find hard while immersing ourselves in digital items or working! Her chatty, kind nature has allowed her to expand her horisons by contributing her words of wisdom to national newspapers and magazines. Parks is now a proud ambassador of The National Literacy Trust juggling around her apperances, writing novels and spending time with her family. It’s Thursday 21st May 2020, BookPub is stalking the twittersphere only to find out HQ Stories announced Adele Parks is doing a live Q&A at 3pm. That is in 15 minutes! The kettle gets flicked and the slice of coconut cake from the local coffee shop is suddenly pressing the taste buds as now is the perfect time to endulge with caffiene and sugar rushes while engrossed in a live Q&A. How exciting! Tuning in to her Facebook page where she was able to answer all our questions while promoting her new novel ‘Just My Luck‘, BookPub presents the Q&A highlights below!
‘Just My Luck‘ is about a couple who play the lottery every single week with the same six numbers. It’s their lucky day because they win a whopping £18 million pounds! Parks explores the possibilities of what they should, can’t or can buy. The trouble is, the family who they play the lottery with goes to great lengths to get their share. Ironically, they do say when you come into money friends can start behaving in different ways and you often gain ‘friends’ you didn’t know you had. There are classic plot twitsts, natural to Park’s style of writing, where she explores the consuming darkness of coming into this much money. This is told through two points of view, Lexi and her daughter, to show how wide the winnings can change your life. It’s honestly such a wonderful book!
I had a fabulous time researching Just My Luck strolling along Bond Street, seeing what I could spend the money on.Adele Parks – Q&a Live on her official Facebook page
Q: Do you think writing has become harder or easier over the twenty years?
A: Coming up with the ideas is the important key so you are giving out fresh ideas and aren’t making your readers think they have read something like this before. Each time, I come up with diffrent themes or scenarios. Writing about the Lotery is something different to anything else I have done before, although, I like to base my books about domestic situations, friendships, children and parents. It would kill me if one of my readers said “I think I have read something like this before”. I want my readers to be shocked, suprised and entertained. It becomes tricky the more people investigate ideas but I am not short of any ideas! The easiest thing about the writing is that I know what to do when it comes to writing a good book. There are challenges that I overcome while writing but it’s also the self editing or how many words I need to write each day to write a novel. It is essential to plan your writing and in order. When I wrote my first novel I didn’t write it in chronological view point, there was no planning and it wasn’t in order but I was juggling a full time job so it’s was a hobby.
Q: Do you prefer writing about friendships or romantic relationships?
A: I don’t think I have an absolute, cut and dry favourite between two different things because sometimes relationships are good friends and there can be tension in both types. For me it would be the scenarios and dynamics between the characters. The older I have become I found that there are other things I would explore besides romantic relationships and friendships. I like to explore the relationships in our parents, our children and our friends so I think I spend more time thinking about them now. When I was younger, I think I wrote about choices that were ahead of me but now it’s more about repocussions and concequences. I look at the past actions and how they got to the point on where they are.
Q: What book or writers inspired me to start writing?
A: I would have to say Enid Blyton. It would have to be since as long as I can remember. I’m the youngest of two. My mother would take me to pick up my siblings from school but after waiting, we would go to the library. I would acquire a book, read it the night and return it the next day because I visited so often we became friends with the librarian. One day she asked me if I would become an author. It’s an odd feeling because I didn’t understand what it meant to be an author. At that moment, I contemplated my knowledge of ‘what is’ an author. When I honestly answered, she rushed off returning with a Enid Blyton Book. What struck me about the book was seeing the way her name was printed on the book as if it was her signature. The librarian told me Enid wrote the books for you at home. I got confused at that age thinking they were especially written for me but most importantly, I realised that there was someone behind these words I adored which is when I realised I wanted to be an author.
Q: Do you think COVID-19 will be referenced in alot of books next year?
A: I think it might be. From my point of view, I write contemporary novels. What has been going on in our world is important to me as a background. I don’t think I will want to write the book about the virus, personally, but I think it might be referenced or in the background. I think as an author we have to reflect where we are at. I think some authors are completley absorbed by it and want to write about it. I think, personally, our take on being an author at the moment is for escapism. I think alot of us are feeling a little bit limited so the only cure to this is to pick up a book because you will instantly go on a journey. You can be in someone else’s life, some else’s home and if you want to be in a different time time zone then it is all avaliabe through a book. I have always said being in a library is like being in an airport and a book is like going on a journey. I think that is more important than ever. Yeah, I think somepeople will talk about lockdown but I want to offer a level of espcapism.
Q: Do you have a set room when you do your writing?
A: Your in it! Your all in it right now! I am actually sitting at the edge of my desk. Normally, I am on that side (pointing to her right side) with my back to the wall and my computer is facing me and nobody else. Only because when I am working I like my computer to face me as then I am in my own thoughts. Yes, you are in my room. My beautiful, lovely room which is stuffed full of my books in various translated versions (pointing behind her) and the big cabinet here is full of my childhood books (pointing right again – the gold bookshelf behind her display of ‘Just My Luck’). It’s a lovely room to write. I have homed this. I have written in the past in various cafes and cupboards. When I was a child, I had to pretend I had left the house otherwise people would have seen me. There was no windows or doors which was bizare but to write a novel and it worked!
Q: Do you start writing a book with a sequel in mind? Invited and Lies Lies Lies have got such strong characters. Any chance of hearing about them again?
A: I never write a book with a sequel in mind. I write the story and then see it having a beginning, middle and end. I plot this story very tightly which then reaches the end. However, I do get involved with particular characters sometimes and I know my readers do. In the past, I have re-visited charcters sometimes. In fact, ‘Lies Lies Lies‘ involved Daisy, Her sister Rose and her friend Connie and some of my readers will recognise those names because they were in my very first novel, which is my favourite novel by the way, and ‘Young Wives Tales‘ so that gang already appears in three books. There is always a possibility that the gang will present other stories to me. There is an emotional soft spot for them because of the fact they they featured in my debut books. Lots of peope have asked me if there is a sequel to alot of my books because of the way they ended where there are opportunities. I would never say never. There are characters that I would like to re-visit because they are characters that become my friends and I know then very well. After a year, i become kind of done with them because I have to plan things a year in advanced but a couple of years later perhaps I might come back to them.
Q: When I am writing my novels, is it the characters that come first or the general idea of a plot?
A: I go with plot first. I think of a situation and then I think who would fit into that situation. For instance, in ‘Just My Luck‘ with winning the fortune I was catching up with an old friend who works for a Lottery company and he was telling me some stories about Lottery winners and reactions which fascinated me; I was completley enthralled. Then, he started telling me about the duty of care the Lotery people provide with the winners because if you think about it you have become a multi-millionaire you may have earned it over a period of time but if you were born into it you probably wouldn’t know any different. If you became a multi-millionaire because you won it and it happens over night. It will become quite a shock or a suprise. (Yikes! Adele real digging at thoughts here!) The Lottery care team will recognise these situations. My friend casually dropped in that the Lottery team offer security for kidnappings! I was like ‘I’m sorry..?’ … Indeed, that was my moment or that spark that a Lottery win and the dark side of it was something to write about. Then I thought who would a Lottery win be amazing for and developed characters who would take on different opinions and reactions for the win. I won’t spoil it but you will see different characters will have these particular reactions. So for me, it is an idea or theme and then I think who the characters. I like to how characters are under pressure.
Q: Have you got a favourite character of all the books you have ever written?
A: I love Dean in ‘The State Were In‘. He’s probably my favourite hero. Yeah, he’s quite hot. I think for my baddies are quite fun as well. I can’t tell you who my baddies are because that’s quite obviously giving away my plot. I like writing the baddies because generally I’m quite a nice human being, I think (laughing nervously) so it’s fun to have the alter ego. A character that has always stayed with me and I’d like to be more liked is Lucy. She has featured in Lies Lies Lies and Young Wives Tales but she’s beautiful and ballsy and brilliant. She says all the thinks that I think of saying many weeks after the moment that you really needed to say them – (We get you Adele!). The differences is that she says them instantly because I created her. I did spend three weeks coming up with the quick liners but I would like to be a little bit more like Lucy who cared very little about what people think. I think I care too much about what people think to an extent so she’s quite fun as well
Q: How has lockdown affected your writing?
A: I would say that writers are lucky in times of the level of destruction because we are used to working from home. Not all of us! Some people like to go out to a cafe or have an office that they hire but many of us work from home. So in terms in my life, not many things have changed. My husband works from home so his life hasn’t changed. However, working from home for twenty years has the highs and lows from it. I pressume many of you are going through the same right now where one day you are thinking “this is brilliant” and I am not on an over crowded tube or at next to someone in the office who is eating a smelly pack lunch at their desk and annoying me. Having that time and space to yourself is sometimes wonderful but there are other days where you will wake up and miss standing around the water cooler or having a coffee with your colleague chatting about the television last night. It’s the communication that you miss. Indeed for the past twenty years, I have been pulled between the two thoughts so I can’t complain because I am still working from home. The big difference is that it is the way I balance my life or how I balance work and play. I do go out at the weekends or during the week. There are times where I am burning the candle at both ends and my husband have always told me that I like to keep busy. So weekends are very different. Lately, I have been gardening and I have started Yoga. I got a Yoga mat that is going brilliantly. I miss my gym but I have not tidied my house, that’s a big confession. Lots of people have said they tidied their house. We have been so lucky with the weather, I have been making most of the time with that as it’s the only time I have got so my house is literally collapsing around me. My house has been messy because my son has come back from University. That’s something that is on my concious because I don’t want my son thinking I have two parents who are working around the clock and not doing normal stuff but he does have assignments and online lectures. It’s about balance so, as I am concious of this, there is a part of my brain that wouldn’t normally be working. If he was at home and a little bit younger (he’s 19) I would normally be working around him.
Q: How Do I decide who to dedicate each book to?
A: Well, it is actualy very difficult. Sometimes I think if I dedicate this book to X person because it’s their birthday or something or got married and then when I give them the content of the book I wonder if I am giving them a message, especially if the book is dark and sexy or disasterous. You have to be extremely careful. Over the years, I found that I have often dedicated it to my husband and son which I happened to do this year in ‘Just My Luck’. I think this is because I felt like I have won the Lottery because they have been incredibly supportive of my career. I think on my twentieth book this is who I wanted to say thank you to. If anything, I should probably dedicate it to my readers becaue they are actually the ones who made me who I am. If it wasn’t for my readers, there wouldn’t actually be me. Sometimes I think of people who are the most important like the ones who I am working with and think well actually should I have dedicated it to them. It is not an easy decision.
Q: What Do I prefer E-Books or physical books?
A: I spend a lot of the time at a screen so I like a physical book because I like to seperate the feeling after work. I like to go out into the garden with a book if it is hot and I don’t really like relaxing in front of a screen. That said, I am grateful that we have E-Books at the moment because how easy is it to press the button and have the book in front of you within seconds. The moment you finish one you can order another one and there is no question on how you can get to it. It is actually something me and the publishers had to consider because we were launching in the middle of a lockdown. We had to think of it carefully. Will people be able to get hold of the book? We didn’t know how easy or hard that was going to be. Very luckily, all the supermarkets like Sainsbury’s, Asda or Tesco and Morrisons all took the book! It is amazing because it allows people who are out doing their weekly shop to pick up my book. Better yet, they are all on offer in their stores and I just love a bargain! Alot of physical books are still avaliable online like at Waterstones or independent shops. Right now, you might want to consider Audiobooks. Particularly if you are iscolating alone. In your head, it’s nice to have another person’s voice in your home especially when you have been alone for many many hours. Plus, you don’t have to read any of the words and your not on a screen or holding a book.
Q: What was it like launching a book in Lockdown?
A: In the end, it turned out to be fabulous! I did panick a little the week before. I was sending out texts to all my friends asking if they should send out a memo to their friends reminding them the book is coming out. They both came back and said “No, I’m not doing that”. It was quite funny. Originally, it was the anniversary of twenty books in twenty years and it such a fun little book to have come out. The book is something we all discuss like winning the Lottery so it was about having a celebratory book and have a great party after with a Tour in American and Canada. However, because of lockdown, all those plans had to change! To the credit of HQ, I didn’t hear one person rumble about anything as all the marketing campaigns had to unpick their strategies and had to re-think about how to get their books out and ideas. HQ were amazing and shifted all the marketing online. On the actual launch day, I wasn’t rushing around in book shops signing books. I would have normally had twenty real life events by now planned over the next few weeks. I wouldn’t be home and no-one probably wouldn’t have had any clean pants and socks. It was quite odd to not have those thoughts but it was quite pleasant to not have the rush and to not be panicking about little things. Instead, here I am sat at my desk being able to answer readers and engage in conversations on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so that was moving and exciting. It turned out to be glorious and we managed to book launch through a lockdown! Somethings still takes place on a lockdown. It’s fantastic!
Q: Does anybody read your writing before you reach first draft?
A: Technically, no one reads it but I read it to my husband. My books are about 110,000 words long. About half way (60,000 words), I will sit there and read it to my husband for two reasons. One, He is the most transparent human being on the planet and I can always see if he is involved or bored. If I can see him doing that I think “oh, cut”. If I read something and it needs clarifying, I can adjust it. He’s brilliant! Also, hearing aloud myself helps to re-freshen me and helps me to carry on with the next 50,000 words. When I have edited it, I re-read it to my husband so he’s really involved. This process takes a couple of days, normaly over a weekend. If my husband goes off an eats something quickly, it’s funny because he will say “I’m just eating quickly because I want to know what happens next”. Then I think, yes I have this. If he isn’t in a rush to get back to the story, I know at this point it’s not going to work. I think only on two occasions where I have read to him, I have ditched my book because the view point isn’t right or the charcter wasn’t aesthetic enough or the character wasn’t edgy enough. I found on those two occasions that I should just let it go but I found that it is always the best thing that you are able to look at it in that way and to be critical. Then you know that you are giving in your best work. A second opinion does help but then you know your doing the right thing.
Q: Why I am involved in the National Literacy Trust and what do they do?
A: I have just announced on my Facebook at I am an abassador for the National Literacy Trust. We discussed earlier in the conversation, how much I adore books and what they mean to me, especially as a child. I’m sure this is the same for all of you, otherwise you wouldn’t be watching (or reading, now) the live Q&A. You wouldn’t be passionate about books. For many people this isn’t the case. Many families where books are not a usual thing as they might not have the money to buy them or may not have thought to buy them. There are families who do not own a single book and this is sad because reading is empowering. The National Literacy Trust is trying to rectify that balance helping children who are in less affluent areas and are less privelledged. It is also for parents who are willing to try and hep children to read making it become more natural part of their lives. It sounds bad but it makes us more clever than someone who hasn’t had read or don’t because we are able to access different the books gaining diffrent points of views but most importantly, it will be good for mental health. We need to switch off from our own world now and again which some families could benefit from it.
Q: What would you do it you won £18 Million?
A: It’s quite interesting because I have had this conversation quite alot with my family and friends. I realised that it would take quite alot of spending if you had won £18 Million. I wouldn’t want to move house because we actually built our own house so alot of sweat and tears came with trying to build it, even the tiles in my office was laid by me. I grouted them and everything so I will never be leaving this house. When I was researching ‘Just My Luck’, I had a fabulous time strolling Bond Street, in London, and seeing what I could spend your money on. I would come out the shop and say to my friend or Jim, “£900 for a t-shirt”. I don’t know if this is because I am not naturally inclined to be a big spender but alot of things could be done with that kind of money. I would certainly try and make my life a little bit easier by hiring a gardener or cleaning because I realised how much hard work gardening is. I think I said to my husband that I would be a little bit chill about it and he agreed that “we wouldn’t go crazy on the money and we wouldn’t splash out on it but I would need a Lambroghini”. I think he would probably not hide the fact that he won the Lottery well if he drove from our house in a Lambroghini.
Adele Parks thanked her audience for joining her. It was nice to gain a true insight to her life and her writing career. She is a lovely, kind and positive lady that it was a pleasure listening to this interview. BookPub would like to thank HQ Stories and Adele Parks for hosting the live session. The book ‘Just My Luck’ is avaliable in most stores and online to download at Amazon. As a special treat of her release, BookPub are giving away a copy of her book. Head over to our Instagram Page for more details!