Tell us a bit about your new book, How Do You Like Me Now.
It’s about Tori, the author of a best-selling self-help memoir who has built a hugely successful career on being honest and authentic…but she’s turned thirty and, behind the scenes, her life is a mess. The book explores toxic relationships, unhealthy social media behaviour, and the pressures on women to marry and have children.
Where did the inspiration come from for this book?
I turned thirty myself and felt this instant change in how I was perceived. Suddenly all I seemed to be doing was attending weddings and baby showers, and all people asked me was when I was getting married and did I plan to have children. I saw the potential for a lot of humour there, as well as a darker examination on how this pressure can mean women make unhealthy choices for the wrong reasons.
Are there any cultural, political or news-worthy moments that have inspired or impacted your work?
The fourth wave of feminism has undoubtedly shaped how I think and therefore what I write. This wave has been so much about violence and sexual violence, something that I write about a lot. Alongside this, there’s been a huge increase in women standing up and being brave enough to tell the truth about what their life is really like, and this courage is contagious. I strive to write books about what women’s actual realities are, rather than what we want them to be.
What five words would you use to sum up How Do You Like Me Now??
For women who’ve had enough.
Can we expect a sequel?
I’m afraid I don’t have any current plans for a sequel yet. But there’s some exciting things going on about it being made into a TV series which will widen out Tori’s story.
What can people expect next from you?
My next book, Is This What You Want?, is out in Spring 2020 and I’m so excited about it. It explores the chaos of being a feminist woman in the world of dating, and what sacrifices you have to make in order to feel loved. After MeToo smashed its way into consciousness, I wanted to explore how it plays out in romantic relationships. So many men are going on dates with women dealing with trauma, and women are hiding that trauma to be considered romantically acceptable.
Are there any particular women or female entrepreneurs that have inspired you and why?
I’m a huge fan of the children’s author Jacqueline Wilson. She came from a very working-class background, and her hard work and talent led her to write books that give a voice to children with her background. There’s so much power that comes from being seen in a story, especially when you’re a child. I can’t imagine how many young people she’s inspired to create. She’s also just got such an incredible work ethic and consistently writes brilliant books.