January 2015


Carrie Elks' latest novel, Fix You, was released in 2014. She lives near London and when she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two. (Interview by Annmarie Trow)

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  1. 1. Tell us about Fix You.

    Fix You tells the story of Richard and Hanna. They first meet on 31st December 1999 when he’s an American student visiting his father in London, and she’s a Brit who is being paid to work at his parent's New Year’s Eve party. Over the next 12 years their connection grows, leading to an explosive revelation in his Manhattan office when she reveals a big secret. The story is set against a backdrop of real-life events that took place over these years, with lots of pop culture references, taking readers on a journey of twists and turns!

  2. 2. What inspired you to write the story spanning such a wide timespan?

    I wanted to write a modern story, but to somehow incorporate the type of book I loved growing up, which tended to follow characters over a number of years. Fix You was my attempt to mesh the two! The beauty of a longer timespan is that you can really explore how relationships change as people grow up and mature, and I think we get to see this with Richard and Hanna.

  3. 3. How did you decide the different times and paths for the characters?

    Before writing I did a lot of research, because even though this is recent history it’s amazing how much I’d forgotten. Once I’d researched each year, and knew the events, technology and music that were key, I drew out a very long timeline. The next bit was easy; by this point Richard and Hanna were very much fleshed-out characters in my mind and combining their traits with the events that took place meant they more or less decided the storyline for themselves.

  4. 4. Did you find it hard writing as both Hanna and Richard throughout the book?

    No, I loved writing both their points of view. They are very different characters - Hanna is impulsive and emotional, whereas Richard tends to be more reasoned and traditional - yet there’s aspects of both of them that I really enjoy. To paraphrase Jerry Maguire, they ‘complete each other’. It just takes them a while to realise this!

  5. 5. Did you go into writing the book wanting to explore a particular theme?

    When I first started writing Fix You there were a few things I wanted to explore, but the first thing I wanted to do was write a prologue that really grabbed the reader. From the beginning, we learn what Hanna’s secret is, but we don’t know why or when it happened, or what the fallout will be. It’s this mystery (I hope) that keeps the reader going through the story, in spite of the ups and downs that Hanna and Richard experience.

  6. 6. What were you doing on New Year’s Eve 1999?

    I was lying in bed with a newborn baby, so I managed to miss out on most of the celebrations! I did manage to wake up for midnight, so I saw the millennium in, but I definitely wasn’t out partying like Richard and Hanna were!

  7. 7. What inspired the story behind Coming Down?

    Coming Down is a love story set against the backdrop of a London clinic, where the main protagonist, Beth, is working as a volunteer. It’s a story about a woman learning to accept who she is and forgive herself for her past. Of course there’s romance in there, plus some of the cutest yet most troubled children I’ve written about, but the main theme is definitely redemption.

  8. 8. What are you working on now?

    I’ve been writing a book called Broken Chords, which is part of the same series as Coming Down. It tells the story of Lara and Alex, a young married couple who have just had their first child. The story explores the difficulties that having a newborn baby can cause a young couple, and the journey they have to take to mend their relationship as a result of these problems.

  9. 9. How did you get into writing?

    I’ve been writing since I was a child, but never really managed to finish a project until I reached my thirties. I think the reason for this is that I discovered an online community of writers and readers who provided me with a lot of support. Once I started writing regularly I found I couldn’t stop.

  10. 10. What's the best feedback you've had?

    “I couldn’t put this down.” I’m not sure there’s much that tops that!

  11. 11. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to write a book?

    Write it! It sounds easy (and it isn’t) but unless you get the words down on the page you’re never going to get there. It took me a good ten years to complete a project, then less than a year to write my second, so when you’ve done it once (and accepted that you CAN do it) everything gets a lot easier. I’d also advise any new writer to find a community of writers where you can work together, critique each other’s writing, and also provide each other support on the bad days. I wouldn’t be here without my online friends, and I’m very thankful for them.

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