April 2008


Journalist and TV presenter Amanda Brunker branched into novel writing with Champagne Kisses in 2008. The second book in the series, Champagne Babes, is out in the UK this month. She is a former Miss Ireland. Check out her website at (Interview by Shirley Benton-Bailey)

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  1. 1. Tell us about Champagne Babes.

    Champagne Babes is a book about love, lust, lies and long-lasting friendship. My central character Eva Valentine is dealing with some major changes in her life. She ran up the aisle with the first man who asked her and learns soon after she's already 3 months pregnant. As she struggles with the mental anguish of some post-baby weight, she notices her new husband morph into a not-so-nice-guy! Thankfully she's got great back-up to distract her from her problems, but with friends like hers, more trouble is never far away.

  2. 2. Your three books, Champagne Kisses, Champagne Babes and Champagne Secrets all have the same heroine, Eva Valentine. Did you intend to write several books about her?

    This trilogy was extremely organic. Champagne Kisses was a rollercoaster bonkbuster that just literally bubbled out of me and on to my computer. I had only signed with Transworld for the one book. But within a week of going on sale in Ireland, I knew that I had to continue Eva Valentine's journey. People wanted to know more. Effectively live dangerously through her. I could easily write another three novels with Eva and co. They're all flawed characters but they've got great hearts and a wicked sense of humour. I love each of the Champagne novels so much. I almost feel like I've broken up with a boyfriend since I've stopped working with them.

  3. 3. Did you always want to be a writer?

    Originally I wanted to be a painter. But my older sister Linda is an extremely successful sculptor, so I chose writing as another avenue to tell stories. I did of course take an alternative route to becoming a writer, by becoming a model, journalist and then a TV personality first. But I think my colourful life has only benefited my work. I mean who wants to read a story that has been written by someone who hasn't lived?

  4. 4. Do you follow a strict writing routine such as a nightly word count, and how long does it take you to write a book?

    Because I work as a journalist and TV presenter in Ireland, I grab half-an-hour here, 20 minutes there whenever I can. Also because I am a mother of two young children, I tend to get the bulk of my novels written at night. But I've a great support network which allows me to write every day. Champagne Babes took me about six months from start to finish. But that's just because I work really intensely.

  5. 5. Do you start your books with just a concept and see where that takes you, or do you plan each book meticulously?

    I hate reading a book that you can visualise the end of the chapter by just reading the first couple of paragraphs. I like to take people on an adventure. But just like the reader, Eva took me on a magical journey every time I sat down to write. Sure I had some sort of destination to work towards. But I had no idea what fun she would discover on the way.

  6. 6. Have you based any of your characters on real friends or family?

    I tease that you could class my books as works of FRACTION. In other words fiction loosely based on fact! And while there would be some similarities, the answer is most definitely NO. My husband can't read my work because he thinks my character Eva is me. So when she's being intimate with a man, he thinks it's actually me reliving a moment with an old boyfriend. But that's total nonsense. It's all fiction. I just have a very creative imagination. Honestly Philip, I do!

  7. 7. How do you feel about the label "chick lit"?

    To be honest, I class myself more 'raunch lit’! But I don't mind what label people tag me with. I just write to entertain people. I don't think there's enough women's fiction that makes you laugh as well as cry. I'm not trying to change the world with my writing. I just want to give people a break from the depression that's all around us.

  8. 8. What's the best and worst thing about being an author?

    The best thing is the late-night Facebook messages from women who say, 'I'm exhausted. It's 4 am and I've just finished reading your book. I haven't eaten, my husband thinks I'm mental laughing away to myself and I'll probably get fired by falling asleep at my desk tomorrow; but it was worth it. Thank you!' The worst is... Mmmm, don't think there really is one. I suppose the long hours when it comes to editing and checking for typos. It would be nice if someone else could do the finer detail bits.

  9. 9. What do you think is your unique selling point as a writer?

    I write pretty much like I live my life. I'm very upfront, direct and I'm not afraid of being honest and poking fun at difficult subjects.

  10. 10. Who is your favourite chick lit author?

    I admire ALL authors. Everyone says they have a book in them but the difficult bit is getting it out. Anyone who follows through the long process of getting it from the idea stage to the final hurdle of seeing in on the shelves is to be praised. It's a mammoth undertaking and for that reason I think all authors are to be applauded.

  11. 11. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

    Just get writing, simple as. Stop talking about it and just do it. And then stick with it. I've missed more Christmas parties and weddings because I needed to write. But there will always be more parties. It's really important to stay focused.

  12. 12. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing a book?

    Every day is a learning curve. Just like the saying youth is wasted on the young! I'd like to think my writing continues to get better as I stack up the books, but the only things I would really change would be some business affairs - and not the romantic ones that I have in any of my Champagne novels :-)

  13. 13. How do you see your writing career progressing?

    I feel so blessed that I found this career and that readers en mass have found me. I plan to continue to write till the day I die, which is hopefully many many years away. I actually have a Christmas cookbook coming out in Ireland which could be purchased from from November 4. And I've a great new play being staged at The Gaiety in Dublin the end of January titled Hello Buoys! I suppose I'm a bit of a workaholic, but it keeps me out of the pub and that's always a good thing!

  14. 14. What message do you hope readers take from your books?

    Life is full of mistakes. It's how we learn from them and cope with them that are important. My books deal a lot with friendship as well as romance. And while we can get distracted by men, it's paramount that we keep our best buddies close.

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