Film Buff Scarlett O’Brien believes that real life can be just as exciting and romantic as the movies, and she will stop at nothing to live like a cinema heroine in Ali’s U.S. debut From Notting Hill with Love…Actually (Sourcebooks Landmark; ISBN: 978-14022-6948-6; TP; Fiction; $14.99; October 2012).
Scarlett’s dream of living a dazzling life like Julia Roberts comes true when she is offered a house-sitting job at an impossibly grand mansion in Notting Hill, the setting of one of her favorite movies.
Scarlett jumps at the chance to live out her film fantasies, leaving behind her family, friends, and even her fiancé. As a chaotic comedy of her very own begins to erupt, with over-the-top new friends and a handsome but irksome new neighbor, Scarlett must decide where her heart truly lies.
If you’re a hopeless romantic with big-screen dreams or head over heels for movies like Bridget Jones Diary, Pretty Woman, and Sleepless in Seattle, clear out a Saturday afternoon and flip to the back of the book for some fun romantic comedy trivia and Scarlett’s top five movie list for a marathon. Make sure you have plenty of popcorn on hand!
Ali joins us today and graciously answers some questions about her writing.
Mason - What is an average writing day like for you? Do you write longhand and/or on the computer, have a favorite place to write, a favorite time to write, listen to music, etc.?
Ali - I really don’t have an average writing day! I rarely begin writing before midday, usually because I like to get everything else out of the way first in the morning so my mind is clear to begin work in the afternoon. With a family and two dogs, daily chores still have to be done! Sadly they don’t disappear because my characters might be up to something more exciting in my book!
I have a tiny portable Macbook Air which I write on, mainly plugged into a big screen at a desk in my study. But sometimes I like to take it out to coffee shops to write for a change. Although I write in silence at home, I find I get much more done when I’m tucked away in the corner of a busy Starbucks!
Mason - What is the worst advice you’ve ever received concerning writing?
Ali - Several people told me I wouldn’t be able to get ‘From Notting Hill with Love…Actually’ published because of all the film references. Including a well-known author, and a fairly well respected society in the UK that gives unpublished authors novel appraisals. Just as well I didn’t listen to them, as it’s now gone on to sell over 90,000 copies worldwide…
Mason - Of all the authors (past and present) you enjoy reading, has any one (or more) been an influence in your writing?
Ali - I wouldn’t say she was an influence on my writing, but when I was a child I lived and breathed an English children’s author called Enid Blyton.
Mason - If your book was turned into a movie today, who would you like to see play the main characters and why?
Ali - Scarlett – Anne Hathaway
Sean- I’ve never yet found anyone to fully match up to my Sean ;-)
Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?
Ali - My third book – which is a sequel to ‘From Notting Hill with Love...Actually’ called ‘From Notting Hill to New York…Actually’ comes out in the UK in November, and I’m currently writing my fourth book, which I’m very excited about. It has a music theme this time - with a twist!
Ali, thanks so much for visiting today and answering these questions. I’m glad you didn’t listen to the advice about From Notting Hill With Love…Actually. Sometimes it pays to listen to your own heart rather than advice from others.
Here’s a bit of background on Ali. She lives in Cambridgeshire with her husband and two children, and when she isn't writing, she enjoys watching too much reality TV, eating too much chocolate, and counteracting the results of the previous activities by getting plenty of exercise.
For more on Ali and her writing, visit her website at www.alimcnamara.co.uk or find her on Twitter @AliMcNamara.
Do you enjoy books with movie themes or connections? Thanks so much for stopping by today.