March 2011


Pippa Wright’s debut novel Lizzy Harrison Loses Control, in which the heroine is thrown into the arms of her PR boss’ top client, notorious comedian Randy Jones, is out this month. She lives in London and works in book publishing.

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  1. 1. What is it about Lizzy that will appeal to readers?

    I hope readers will find Lizzy a funny, slightly cynical character - just because she doesn't believe in romance doesn't mean she isn't loveable. And of course, romance gets her in the end...

  2. 2. Are you an organised person?

    Unfortunately yes. Horribly so. It's so uncool, isn't it? I don't alphabetise my books, or colour-coordinate my wardrobe or anything like that, nor do I plan my diary six months in advance like Lizzy does. But I am still a bit annoyingly control-freakish.

  3. 3. Every time I read about Randy I kept visualising Russell Brand. Did you base him on anyone?

    Everyone says Randy is like Russell Brand but he's not meant to be! He was originally the singer in a band but I got a bit bogged down with the other members of the band and decided the story worked better if he was a lone operator. So he became a comedian instead. He's really not based on anyone real.

  4. 4. What was your favourite scene to write?

    I think probably the scene where we first encounter Randy at the comedy club. He's escaped from rehab and been drinking all day, and Lizzy feels she has to take charge of the situation, with fairly dire results. It was fun to take someone uptight and sensible like Lizzy and put her in this ridiculous situation.

  5. 5. How did your book deal come about?

    I sent sample chapters of the manuscript to four agents under a false name, as I've worked in publishing for years and was afraid it would be embarrassing to encounter these agents again if they all hated it! Luckily for me they were all very encouraging and I had an agent within a few weeks. Then my agent sent it out to publishers and I ended up at Macmillan. It all sounds like it was super-easy but it was probably six months from sending off the sample chapters to getting a book deal, and I lost my job in that time, so it was fairly nerve-wracking and I wasn't at all sure it would work out so well!

  6. 6. How will you be celebrating its release?

    I'm having a little party in a lovely bookshop in Peckham. My friends have told me they think it would be great publicity if, like Leona Lewis, I got punched in the face at my own launch do. So I'm going to be looking out for that all night.

  7. 7. If you could get a celebrity to endorse your book, who would it be?

    I'm not sure if authors count as celebrities. I think they do (although not me, obviously), so I am going to say Marian Keyes. I absolutely love her books and an endorsement from her would be far more thrilling to me than from anyone else.

  8. 8. What is your role in publishing?

    I've worked for most of the big publishers in London, but now I work for a literary scout, which means I help to report on UK publishing to foreign publisher clients. We keep them up to date on what books they should be buying to translate into foreign languages. I love it because it's a very good excuse to gossip about books all day.

  9. 9. Tell us about your next book Unsuitable Men.

    It's about a girl, Rory, who splits up from her boyfriend of eleven years - the only relationship she's ever had. She realises she's missed out on the usual twenties rite-of-passage of going out with all the wrong men, so she decides she needs to catch up by dating as many unsuitable men as possible. One of them might just turn out to be a bit more suitable than she thinks.

  10. 10. Would you consider a Lizzy Harrison sequel?

    I don't think so. I quite like where Lizzy ends up, and I'm not sure I'd want to throw that all into turmoil for a sequel. Although who knows? I wouldn't entirely rule it out.

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

    It's a toss-up between Rachel in Rachel's Holiday (Saint Marian of Keyes again) and Jane from The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank. Although I'm not sure if the latter is chick lit or not. Both heroines are smart and witty, and both deal with serious, painful events with humour and warmth. I've read each book at least 10 times.

  12. 12. What are you reading now?

    The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal. It's about as far from chick lit as you can get, being very serious non-fiction about the history of the author’s family, but I am absolutely loving it. I usually race through books in a matter of days but this has taken me weeks as I don't want to miss a word. Next up is Barbara Pym's Jane and Prudence, which Jilly Cooper recommended in an article the other day. I loved Pym’s Excellent Women, so am really looking forward to this.

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