Guest Spot: Interview with best-selling author Lisa Jewell

Welcome back to Strictly Writing, Lisa, and thanks for guesting for us again.  Your new book, “The Making Of Us” is due for release next week, 12th May 2011.  Can you tell us a bit about it?

"The Making of Us is about three strangers, all in their twenties, all living very different lives, who slowly come together when they discover that they share an anonymous donor father."

It’s a fascinating concept, what first ‘sparked’ your imagination with this storyline?

"As ever, with my books, it is not the book I set out to write! I started off wanting to write a comedy a little like Nick Hornby’s About a Boy. I wanted to put a dry, childless woman in middle youth together with an unlikely younger person and see what would happen. I thought of a long-lost younger sister and then I read about the Sibling Registry that had just been set up for donor children to track each other down and thought that would make it less clichéd and quite current. So I started writing the book with just these two characters in mind, but felt it wasn't funny and it wasn't light-hearted and I needed to make it more substantial. So I brought in the other characters and tried to give it the feel of an ITV drama series instead."

Which character did you feel the closest to in ‘The Making Of Us’ and do you find you miss certain characters more than others after you’ve finished writing a book?

"Usually when I write one of my multiple character books there is one I like writing the best and look forward to getting back to. That wasn't the case with this book. I loved them all equally and enjoyed writing from all their perspectives. I think I probably felt the closest to Dean as he had it the toughest and was the most vulnerable. I never miss my characters after I've finished with them. I'm always ready to move on to the next bunch."

You've mentioned that you enjoyed the David Nicholls’ book ‘One Day’ which is currently being made into a film.  Which one of your books would you like to see made into a movie first and who would you want to play the leads?

"As I type, a group of people are trying to make 31 Dream Street into a movie. They have the finances in place which is half the battle, and they want to start filming by the end of the year, so hopefully, you never know. I thought of David Thewlis for Toby, but he's a bit old now. Or maybe James McAvoy, but he's too cute. Steven Marchant? Can he act? As for Ruby, maybe the gorgeous Karen Gillan?"

Have you already come up with an idea for your next book or do you like to give yourself a celebratory break before moving onto the next project?

"I do always engineer in a break, usually a few weeks (which is why I like to complete a book in early summer!) but then there’s usually a few weeks of rewrites and edits, so it tends to be a couple of months before I start the next one. I delivered the Making of Us in June last year and started this new one in September. I want to finish it by the end of July, but we’ll see. It’s a love story set in Soho in the mid-90s, very different from the last few books. I hope everyone likes it."

Being a writer is a solitary business; how important do you think being part of an online social network is for an author?

"Unbelievably important. From the very early days of the internet I have been part of an on-line chat room of fellow authors. Since then, of course, we have seen the arrival of Facebook and now Twitter, neither of which I am addicted to, but which do form an important part of my working day. I would feel very lonely without them let's put it that way."

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy best-selling schedule and talking to Strictly Writing, Lisa,  Good luck with the book!

"Thank you so much for having me! Fingers crossed!"

Lisa Jewell was born and raised in north London, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Her first novel, Ralph's Party, was the bestselling debut of 1999. She is also the author of Thirtynothing, One-Hit Wonder, Vince & Joy, A Friend of the Family, 31 Dream Street, The Truth About Melody Browne and most recently, After the Party, all of which have been Sunday Times bestsellers. To find out more visit her website at or


Karen said...

Love the premise of the new novel - very close to my heart actually, so I'll be reading with interest :o)

And how exciting that Jewel Street might be made into a film! Karen Gillan would be perfect.

Lots of luck with the next book.

Yasminselena said...

I've always found it very hard to pick a definitive fave but 31 Dream Street is in my Top 3. Bring on the movie version! It'll be brilliant as it's ensemble tale and the subplots will touch everyone one way or the other. I'm going to start thinking of cast members.. ; ) Nice interview! x

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Great interview, Lisa, and thanks for visiting Strictly. All the very best with the new book.

green ink said...

31 Dream Street was the first Lisa Jewell book I ever read so I would be amazed to see it as a film. How exciting!

I love all her books. I think if Lisa wrote a book about paint drying I'd buy it!

Great interview :)

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I loved 31 Dream Street, too. This has reminded me to track down Lisa's other books.

Caroline Green said...

Lovely interview, thank you Lisa! Looking forward to reading the book. I also really loved One Day...