March 2008


Amy Appleton is a pseudonym for a bestselling London-based author who is keeping her identity under wraps for now. Her novel The Bride Hunter is out this month.

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  1. 1. Tell us about The Bride Hunter.

    It's the story of Becca Orchard, the UK's top executive matchmaker, who uses head-hunting skills and psychological know-how to find brides for wealthy men who have everything money can buy - except love. Becca is kind-hearted and steely - but refuses to date men herself, since a disastrous experience when she was sacked by her boss (who also happened to be her lover) and ended up homeless, loveless and jobless overnight. But when she gets her most demanding client yet, things become very complicated.

  2. 2. What inspired you to write the story?

    Lots of my friends have used internet dating, but it's such a needle in a haystack. And there's also the fact that what you think you need from a relationship may not be what you actually need. I thought it would be fabulous if there was a specialist out there who could assess your personality, work out your requirements, and then go hunting for Mr or Ms Right. Actually, after I finished the book, I discovered there really are a few people out there doing something similar - though I'm not sure any of them have had quite the adventures, or disasters, that Becca has along the way. London also inspired me - I moved house a few months before I started the book and suddenly spent lots more time on the South Bank. I love the Thames and all the bars and restaurants and historical sites, and it was fabulous fun scouting first date locations. So London is almost a character in its own right.

  3. 3. What are your character Becca's main flaws and strengths?

    She is extremely committed to her clients and also has tremendous insight into human behaviour - except her own! So she will scour the country to find the right person, and even set up the perfect first date or proposal to maximise the chances that love will blossom. But she's also a control freak, which is partly about protecting herself from being hurt again. That's something she has to face up to in the book.

  4. 4. Have you ever been a matchmaker for anyone?

    I've tried - but I am nowhere near as good as Becca. The trouble is, you can never factor in chemistry . . . and it's high risk if your friends later ask, 'why the hell did you think I might fancy him?'

  5. 5. What sort of woman would Becca suggest if Paul McCartney called on her services?

    Usually Becca encourages her clients to get to know their dates before revealing that they're wealthy, to reduce the risk of being targeted by gold-diggers - but I think the cat might be out of the bag when it comes to Macca's multi-millions. Becca would screen potential candidates to make sure they don't have an agenda (or debts!), and she'd probably focus on shared passions, but also on new interests so that they could learn from each other. I think she'd be looking for a woman who had been successful in her own field - the art world, say, or sport - and who had an independent spirit. I suspect that the last thing Sir Paul needs right now is a clingy, dependent relationship. Becca would also talk to family and friends to see what they felt he needed (daughter Stella, I remember reading, was pretty forthright about his last relationship), draw up a shortlist of eligible females, and then encourage him to play the field, have some fun.

  6. 6. What have you discovered about love while researching the book?

    I read some fabulous non-fiction books on the science of romance and love - everything from how our pheromones 'talk' to each other when we meet potential partners and how important smell is, to the fact that if you go somewhere dangerous on a first date (like a fairground), you might mistake the adrenaline for true love. It was great fun though perhaps not an awful lot of practical use on a day-to-day basis.

  7. 7. How are you going to celebrate The Bride Hunter's release?

    I'm going out with some friends to see whether we can spot the book, and to try to find a pink cocktail exactly the same shade as the book (and then drink a few!). Handily, this also counts as research, as every time I find a cool new bar, I can put it in my next book. Though the taxman doesn't treat cocktails as tax deductible. Yet . . .

  8. 8. How did you get into writing?

    I've loved writing since I was about six. I worked in journalism after college, and have done lots of different kinds of writing, including TV scripts, radio and short stories. But the idea for the book came very suddenly and I felt it was fresh, so I wrote it very quickly. My agent sold it quickly, too, so I was very lucky.

  9. 9. Do you think blogs are a vital tool for authors?

    I don't think they're vital as such - Jane Austen continues to do very nicely without one, hasn't she? - but it is a way of communicating directly with readers and other writers. I think blogs create a shared community - they might not shift many books on their own but they hopefully stimulate some interest. Having a book published is fabulous but you do feel rather powerless when it's out there (if I bought lots of copies myself, I would go bust), so blogging makes me feel like I am doing my bit, and having some fun at the same time.

  10. 10. Tell us about your next book.

    It's dealing with the flipside of The Bride Hunter - match-breaking, not matchmaking. We're all so preoccupied with the beginning of relationships, but the way we end them can also affect our happiness. So I am writing a romantic comedy about dumping people. Well, I like a challenge!

  11. 11. What do you do when you're not writing?

    For work, I do other kinds of writing: journalism, scripts and copy-writing. And for fun I like cycling, going on holiday, baking chocolate cakes, watching terrible reality TV, and eating out.

  12. 12. Name your favourite:

    1. A. author: Deborah Moggach for all-round perceptive writing.
    2. B. chick lit book: The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes because I really enjoy reading about the publishing world, and her characters are always fabulous.
    3. C. rom-com movie: So hard to choose but Bridget Jones's Diary takes some beating for the story and the adorable performances.
    4. D.TV show: The Apprentice (hooray, the new series starts in two weeks) and Life on Mars.
  13. 13. What's the best advice you've had about marketing a book?

    I haven't had much advice, but I think it's important to stay balanced. I try to do what I can via the web etc but I also think writers can overdo it - I read a blog lately where a reviewer was bombarded with requests from the same demanding authors, and they ended up on a banned list. It's great to think of original ways to let people know the book is out there, but also to accept that your writing won't be for everyone. What really matters is that the author and publisher have done their jobs brilliantly. So the author has to write the best book they can and take on board all the editorial suggestions and maximise any PR opportunities. And the publisher has to find a lovely cover (I adore mine) and work with the sales people and the bookshops to get enthusiasm going. After that, it's down to luck and fairy dust.

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