March 2015


Laura Greaves is the author of The Ex-Factor and Be My Baby. She also writes for leading Australian and international magazines, specialising in health, lifestyle and wellbeing. She lives in Sydney. (Interview by Jade Craddock)

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  1. 1. Can you explain your new novel The Ex Factor in one sentence?

    Gah! All writers fear this question – brevity is not our strong suit! How’s this… In The Ex-Factor, regular Aussie girl Kitty Hayden is dragged kicking and screaming into the international spotlight after falling for American movie star Mitchell Pyke, whose supermodel ex-girlfriend, the vindictive Vida Torres, is never far away.

  2. 2. Did you base your characters on any real-life people or celebrities?

    The characters aren’t based on real people, but the story was certainly inspired by real-life ‘celebrity-meets-civilian’ relationships, and also by the way the global media seems to have such a hard time moving on when an A-list couple splits up. Let’s take the whole Brad-Jen-Ange saga, for example. It’s been TEN YEARS since Brad and Jen called it quits, but the tabloid media is still making up publishing stories about this so-called love triangle. Enough already!

  3. 3. How would you describe your main characters Kitty and Mitchell in three words each?

    Well, the first three words that spring to mind for Kitty are ‘takes no sh*t’, but that’s probably not a very family-friendly way to describe her! Let’s go with compassionate, independent and fiery instead. Mitchell is best described as ‘completely swoon-worthy’.

  4. 4. How was your experience of writing this novel?

    Writing The Ex-Factor was a very different experience to writing my first novel, Be My Baby. That one took several years, on and off, while The Ex-Factor took only six months – and I had a baby in the middle of it! This story and the characters were much closer to fully formed in my mind when I first started writing, plus I was determined to get at least 60,000 words down before my daughter arrived (which I did, by a whisker!) There’s nothing like a BIG deadline to motivate a chronic procrastinator like me. I also don’t have any autobiographical connection to The Ex-Factor, whereas Be My Baby was inspired by real events, so in a way I felt a little freer to make my characters do some pretty wild things.

  5. 5. What do you hope readers take from it?

    I hope readers fall in love with Kitty and Mitchell, because I am very attached to both of them. I also hope they’re moved by it. There’s plenty of laughs and lots of glamour and Hollywood hijinks, but there’s also real emotion in this story, and I hope that resonates with people.

  6. 6. This is your second novel. What did you learn from writing Be My Baby that helped second time around?

    Well, writing this book took about eight and a half years less than the first one, so I must have learned a few tricks for conquering procrastination along the way. (I do still fall victim to it sometimes though – baby steps!) Practically speaking, I also learned to keep ‘cheat sheets’ for all my characters, so that I didn’t have to go wading back through hundreds of pages to find out, for example, what colour Kitty’s eyes are or what Mitchell’s childhood dog was called.

  7. 7. What have you enjoyed most about becoming an author?

    This might sound strange, but being able to call myself a published author is actually a tremendous relief. George Orwell famously described writing a book as “a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon which one can neither resist nor understand.” This makes a lot of sense to me! For me, writing has always been a compulsion – it’s something I simply must do. I have no choice! Because of that, achieving my lifelong goal of being published almost felt like a weight had been lifted. It’s like I’ve clambered over the biggest hurdle, and I have a bit of breathing space now to continue to tell the stories I need to tell.

  8. 8. What weren’t you prepared for?

    I wasn’t prepared for the amount of publicity, promotion and marketing I would need to do in order to tell people about my little books. It’s very time consuming, and sometimes it can feel quite overwhelming. I do enjoy it – especially when it enables me to connect directly with readers – but I’m certainly no expert, and often it feels like I’m flying blind.

  9. 9. What books couldn’t you live without?

    How much time do you have?! My list of favourite books is always growing, but my two all-time faves are LM Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Although one is a book for young people and the other an adult novel, they’re strikingly similar in that both are about kickass heroines who are determined to live their lives on their own terms. I also love that both Anne and Jane refuse to settle for less when it comes to love – these girls absolutely know their own minds and their own hearts, and I try to write heroines like that, too.

  10. 10. And finally are there any more books in the pipeline?

    I'm currently writing my next chick lit novel (title TBC!) and beyond that I have plans for a series. I'm also one of six Australian chick lit authors to contribute a short story to an anthology called Autumn Leaves, which will be released as an e-book on March 23. And the best bit is it's completely free!

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