February 2011


Lulu Taylor is the author of Heiresses, Midnight Girls and her 2011 release Beautiful Creatures. She also wrote a couple of novels as Kirsty Crawford including The Secret Lives of Husbands. She once worked in publishing and lives in London. (Interview by Christy Goldstein)

Return to interview list

  1. 1. What is your latest novel Beautiful Creatures about?

    Beautiful Creatures is a modern fairytale about two girls who’ve been like princesses all their lives, shut away in their tower. Then, they’re released into the world with a fortune to spend but absolutely no idea of real life. One sister, Octavia, is keen to taste all life has to offer. The other, Flora, is frightened of everything outside the safe confines of her childhood home. Both sisters embark on very different adventures – Octavia is pulled into a world of high fashion and society eccentrics, even trying her hand at owning a department store, while Flora falls quickly in love with a man who seems like the proverbial knight on the white charger. There are moments that are almost Gothic – crumbling castles, flickering candles – and some disturbing events too. But each sister learns important lessons as life and love unfold.

  2. 2. So far who is your favourite character you have written about?

    I love all my girls while I’m writing about them – they seem very real to me. I once put one of my characters on my Christmas card list before I remembered that she wasn’t real! But I will always have a soft spot for Jemima in Heiresses, who had to change a lot in the course of the book and whose love story was kind of touching. She started as a spoiled, proud, lazy social butterfly who was actually very sad inside, and ended... well, I won’t spoil it but she ends well. I also like Allegra in Midnight Girls, who survives something awful and comes out stronger, and finds a role in life.

  3. 2. Are any of your characters based on your real-life friends?

    Well, I can’t say too much, but I think readers might be surprised to know exactly what and who were based on true events. The episode at Oxford University in Midnight Girls involved some of my own experiences – I saw a lot of very rich kids going off the rails, and I went to wild parties that had to be seen to be believed (maybe not quite as wild as in the books!). Sometimes I put in a character as a little nod to a friend. In Midnight Girls, Imogen has a flatmate who is Australian and crazy about running – that was a little in-joke for my Aussie friend Fi, who forces me to run with her (only kidding, I like it).

  4. 4. If you could be one of your characters who would you be?

    Hmmm, let me see – most of them are beautiful and rich, so I’m spoilt for choice! I think Jemima from Heiresses had such a lovely ending, I wouldn’t mind living her life.

  5. 5. What is your ideal writing spot for inspiration?

    Ideally, I would be somewhere beautiful – lavish surroundings work well for me – where I can order a cup of coffee or something when I need a little boost. I don’t really like working absolutely alone, I quite like the buzz of having people around. If people are around me, I don’t spend so much time on the internet, but I’ve always got something to look at if I need a few moments’ distraction. I once worked in the library of a private club, surrounded by antiques, oil paintings and beautiful books. A buzzer on the desk summoned a waiter whenever I wanted something. That was just about right!

  6. 6. How long did you take working on Beautiful Creatures?

    I write a book every year, and the writing process takes around eight months in all – but there are also copyedits and proofs to check, and new stories to plan and research, so the time certainly fills up. Each book is around 140,000 words (though Midnight Girls came in a bit longer than that).

  7. 7. When did you decide to write under the pseudonym Lulu Taylor and are you still writing as Kirsty Crawford?

    I decided to write these novels under a different name because they are quite different to the ones I wrote as Kirsty Crawford. Publishing is often about a brand – you don’t expect a light-hearted comedy of love and manners from James Patterson, for example. I do have plans for a Kirsty Crawford book – it’s just finding the time. And I do love my Lulu books.

  8. 8. If you could write anywhere in the world where would you go to write?

    This is a little predictable, I guess, but Paris would have to be up there. Or else New York. Both places I love, and each one has a different kind of energy. Maybe New York would be best for actually getting things done, as it’s so vibrant.

  9. 9.If you were not a writer what would you want to be?

    I always loved acting – I acted at university and for a while afterwards (only amateur) and have always had a great fondness for it. I’m a bit of a mimic, which I think helps with creating dialogue for different characters in books. I also had a secret desire to be a newsreader!

  10. 10. How do you prepare for writing your books?

    I pick up ideas all the time, and I’ll write notes that will start to take shape, then I’ll do some research around the idea. I usually need a good grounding in a certain type of business – such as perfume in Heiresses – and that means a bit of study before I can get going.

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

    I’ve got so many! They are mostly British, I must admit, although I admire lots of US writers too. But if you really pressed me, I’d say Jilly Cooper, Lisa Jewell, Jenny Colgan, Lucy Dillon and Katie Fforde.

  12. 12. What do you love most about living in London?

    I love the variety – where I live feels like a village, but 15 minutes away is the heart of London. I like the way old and new exist together, and the way there is always something going on. It’s also pretty familiar to me now – I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else.

  13. 13. What are you reading right now?

    Right now, I’m reading the biography of a big businessman to get some ideas for my new book.

  14. 14. What are you working on right now and do you have the title of your next book?

    I don’t have a title – finding a good one that pleases everyone isn’t easy – but the fourth novel is well under way. This time it’s about two girls born on the same day to very different lifestyles – but their destinies are entwined in surprising ways – and they both have a big challenge awaiting them - and a man they both want to destroy...

Back to top