July 2008


Louise Candlish once worked as a book editor and advertising copywriter. She published her first novel Prickly Heat in 2004. The mother of one lives in London and is currently working on her sixth novel.

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  1. What inspired your latest novel The Second Husband?

    Nabokov's Lolita was a big inspiration. I was re-reading it one idle day and began thinking how different a story it would be if told from the mother's point of view. Also, since becoming a mother myself and working from home, mostly alone, I've become intrigued by how a woman's world can shrink so drastically. My character Kate hardly leaves her own postcode and spends most of her time in her flat. When an unusual or charismatic character enters so closed and private world, the impact is going to be enormous.

  2. Which character - Kate, Roxy or Davis - did you find most difficult to write?

    I suppose Davis, though he was also the most fun. It was hard to get the balance right: he needed to be handsome and clever and charming but I also wanted to drop a few clues that he was not altogether what he seemed.

  3. Why do you think Kate let down her guard around Davis?

    Partly for the reasons above - she has not allowed herself to participate properly in the world for many years. Mainly, though, because she feels an enormous physical attraction for him - it's that that sends her a bit mad and allows her to lose sense of her priorities.

  4. Your last two books have focused on mother-daughter bonds. Is it a theme close to your heart?

    Very much so. I know male-female love is at the heart of so much literature, but for me the most interesting relationships are between women. Daughters are particularly fascinating because you really do feel that you are living their lives with them, you're constantly desperate to step in and act for them. Someone said it's like having two separate hearts and it really is.

  5. How do you deal with writing such emotional scenes?

    I have to block out distractions and try to pour my own feelings into the words. When the characters speak I really try to imagine I am them, with their blood running through me, their thoughts racing through my head. It can get quite intense and I'll find myself in tears.

  6. What do you say to people who won't read any book that deals with loss, like Since I Don't Have You?

    I can only say, I totally understand! I think for most people a book like Since I Don't Have You leaves you with a sense of counting your blessings and appreciating your own relationships all the more, but there will always be some readers who just don't want to go there. We all have our own limits. For me, a misery memoir is a step too far: I just end up feeling depressed.

  7. What's your next book, I'll Be There for You, about?

    It's about two sisters who, despite twin-like closeness in childhood, have become estranged as adults. They are both pregnant, but make opposing choices. They are struggling to find a way to give each other the support they need.

  8. Your characters often travel. What is your favourite holiday destination?

    That changes often! I fell in love with Ile de Re in France when writing The Second Husband, but previously had thought Santorini my favourite. I do love Greece. My ideal holiday destination would be a Greek island with Tuscan food.

  9. How did you first get into writing novels?

    I had always thought I would write a novel one day, but spent most of my 20s partying. When I'd calmed down, in my early 30s, I left my job as a copywriter and went to Sicily for two months. Having worked solidly for 10 years, I found I couldn't just rest. Within a week I'd started scribbling.

  10. Which of your characters do you feel closest to?

    Always the one I'm writing at the time. My secret favourite, though, is Anna Day (from The Double Life of Anna Day). She's very headlong in her attitude to life. I wish I could have been more like that!

  11. What's the best feedback you've received from a reader?

    I've had the loveliest emails about Since I Don't Have You. Some people have said they have been inspired by the book to be more relaxed about their children's futures and to just enjoy the day-to-day sunshine they bring. That's lovely to hear.

  12. What books have you most enjoyed reading this year?

    I've loved Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay and Marshmallows for Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson. I just read The Truth About Love by Jane Elizabeth Varley, she's one of my chick lit favourites. Next up is the new Jill Mansell, An Offer You Can't Refuse. I guess my favourite this year has been one that's not out yet: The Various Flavours of Coffee by Anthony Capella. Look out for it later in the year, it's utter bliss!

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