Laura Barnard: I’ve always wanted to write a book. I threw myself into it properly when I was trying to conceive my daughter. It took us a lot longer than we originally thought and we were told we needed IVF so I decided to do a creative writing course at my local college. It gave me the inspiration to start properly.
LBBB: How long did it take for you to write your first book?
LB: The first one took two and a half years, but that was in between a full time job and there was a lot of stopping and starting.
LBBB: Are any of your stories written from personal experience, or any character traits that mirror yours?
LB: Yes, a lot of my friends say that I’m Poppy from The Debt & the Doormat and a lot of the embarrassing things that happen to her have happened to me. Normally the most ridiculous things that people think are too silly to happen in real life! I’m very accident prone/scatty.
LBBB: What is your writing space like? Do you work anywhere or do you have a special place just for your writing? Messy or clean?
LB: I’m just at the moment moving to our first family home and I get my very own office! You have no idea how excited about this I am. My husband keeps reminding me that there’s the whole rest of the house to decorate.
I’m pretty messy, but I like to call it organised chaos. Because I stay up until ridiculous hours in the morning there’s normally three mugs, chocolate wrappers and notes all over the table. But I always tidy it the next day…before messing it up again. Will be nice to be able to shut the door and not worry that my two year old daughter will get to it with a biro. At the moment I’m working at a desk in my hallway next to the toilet. Very glamorous!
LBBB: What is your writing routine like? Do you have a set schedule or are you flexible?
LB: I write three mornings a week while my daughter is at pre-school and then every night from 7pm to at least midnight. Any other spare moment I get I’m at it. It helps when you love what you do!
LBBB: When in a slump, what do you do? If you read or listen to music, what are your go-to books or music?
LB: Often I have to just leave it for a few days and then go back to it. I normally get my best ideas while I’m out driving in the car, which probably isn’t safe. ‘Sorry, I was daydreaming about my fictional characters officer,’ won’t really go down. My ultimate guilty pleasure are One Direction – I love all of their albums and this year will be the second in a row I drag along my teenage cousins so me and my gay best friend Shane don’t feel too embarrassed attending.
In regards to reading – I suppose if there was a fail-safe book I can just fall back into like a warm bath it would be Twilight or Fifty Shades. Probably a little predictable but I love the romance in them. I remember when me and a friend read it and had to ask each other ‘do you love your partner like that?’ We were actually doubting our own relationships because it wasn’t as intense. How ridiculous!
LBBB: How do you come up with ideas for your stories?
LB: A lot of the time I have dreams about it. I’m lucky because I have really vivid dreams that I can mostly remember. Add to that stories from friends, things that have happened to me, a newspaper article. Then I just ask myself ‘what would happen if this happened?’ and it soon spirals out of control.
LBBB: What inspires you to write?
LB: I actually feel like I HAVE to write. I have so much going on in my head on a daily basis that I find it therapeutic to get everything down on paper before I forget it. I feel like I have two thousand internet apps open in my head at once sometimes. It’s the perfect escape from the real life demands of motherhood. Let me tell you, my daughter is a diva! I honestly don’t know where she gets it from!
LBBB: How do you respond to negative feedback/comments with your work?
LB: I used to get really upset by it, but now I try not to read the bad reviews. A few cruel words can have you doubting your whole ability as a writer. I find it’s better to keep positivity in your life and negativity out. You can’t please everyone, so I just try to please myself and luckily I have great fans who support me.
LBBB: Do you have a favourite author? Series?
LB: I think my favourite author at the moment is Belle Aurora. I absolutely adored Raw – it’s the book I always recommend to people. I love her darker reads, but she’s also so versatile with the friend zoned series which makes me crack up laughing.
LBBB: Any fur-babies?
LB: Yes. I have a six year old Border Collie crossed with Springer Spaniel. I call her my daughters ‘hairy older sister,’ as she was definitely our first baby. She’s my companion while I write, normally sat by my feet, hoping to catch some crumbs from something I’m eating. She actually helps the creativity as I’m forced to have a brisk walk in the fresh air every day and it helps to clear the mind.