JJ is delighted to be welcoming Jules Wake today.
Writer of fun, contemporary romance. My debut novel Talk To Me published by award winning publisher, Choc Lit, is out now on Kindle and paperback.
From an early age I’ve been an avid reader and started writing when I ran out of books from my favourite authors. In the fantastic digital world we now live in that would never happen.
Hi Jules, welcome to JJ!
Thank you very much having me on your blog and interviewing me. I think we share many of the same views on our dear friend Mr Gove! I work in a junior school too … thankfully not as a teacher!
If you had to summarize the book for the readers here …
Talk To Me is the story of Olivia who has been in love with Daniel forever, they’re great friends but one night, inexplicably, he goes off with her flatmate Emily. In a bid to get over her feelings for Daniel, Olivia goes on speed-date and finds herself in a much worse predicament. Who is going to rescue her now.
Please tell us about the characters in Talk to Me.
Olivia, the heroine, is a down to earth, sensible, natural leader who gets on well with everyone. She’s a bit of a golden girl except when it comes to relationships. Having caught one boyfriend in flagrante delicto, she’s not about to trust anyone with her heart again, unless she’s damn sure they deserve it. Her moral compass is set due north and she assumes those around are as honest and trustworthy as she is. Unfortunately she learns the hard way that this isn’t always the case. She also suffers very badly from car sickness!
Emily, Olivia’s flatmate, is gorgeous, blonde, petite and has a double D chest she’s not afraid to flaunt. Sadly she’s horribly insecure and if there’s an easy way out, you can guarantee she’ll be first in the queue to take it. Fiercely jealous of Olivia, she can be an absolute cow sometimes and makes some incredibly rude comments which quite frankly take your breath away. Typically Olivia puts up with her because she knows Emily came from a very unstable background.
Kate, is possibly my favourite character and deserves a story to herself. She’s Olivia’s sister, outspoken, bossy, opinionated and wedded to the high life. Luxury and quality are her mantras in life and she’ll settle for nothing less, even if it doesn’t necessarily make her happy.
Last but absolutely not least is Daniel, loyal, intelligent, warm, caring and a little bit haunted by the aftershocks of his parent’s marriage break-up. An endearing chip in one tooth is all that spoils his perfect all American teeth, a sporting wound that makes him ever so slightly less than perfect.
Was there anything about your protagonist that surprised you?
What surprised me the most was how persistent Olivia and Daniel were? Once I had them in my head, they wouldn’t let go.
Originally the book was called Dislodging Daniel, he was supposed to be a selfish sod who played cricket constantly and she was supposed to be a bit of doormat who learned how to stand up for herself.
Somehow the two characters took root and did their own thing, which meant the story unfolded very differently. He turned out to be a really lovely guy, just going out with the wrong girl and she turned out to be a good, solid character who needed to learn to play by other people’s rules to get what she wanted.
What scene did you most enjoy writing? Why?
The speed dating scene was probably my favourite. Obviously some of the dates are going to be awful, so you can have a huge amount of fun with their characters. The character of Anthony was based on someone I once saw on University Challenge who was gorgeous to look at but had an utterly loathsome personality.
During the speed date he demonstrates passive rudeness in the extreme and it was great fun writing the dialogue between him and Olivia. She just keeps putting her foot in it and making things worse and worse.
What scene was the hardest to write? Why?
I think the final scene was the hardest to write, you want to wrap things up in a satisfactory way but where do you stop? Readers want them to have the happy ever after and see a glimpse of that … how much do you give them and if you don’t give them enough will they feel cheated. It was also a bit sad saying goodbye to these people whose lives you’ve been totally absorbed in for the last however many months.
Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book were optioned for a movie?
Olivia would probably be Katherine Hegl because she always comes across as an intelligent actress and I loved her as the wise cracking, Stephanie Plum in the adaption of Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money.
Emilia Fox could play Emily but would have to be much cattier of course.
Kate is a much younger Kristin Scott Thomas, she has that aristocratic decisiveness about her.
Although he’s not actor, now that his rugby and dancing career is over, I’m sure Ben Cohen would be up for playing Daniel.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be …
Don’t trust the Tom Cruise look-alike
And why? That would be telling!
A question for readers
Sometimes Emily says some outrageous things, they’re so shocking Olivia and Daniel often can’t quite believe it, so don’t react?
A friend of mine told me that her mother had told her she’d be quite attractive but unfortunately her ears were in the wrong place. What’s the worst thing anyone has said to you?
Although I really didn’t want to travel home with Daniel and Emily, it was the most logical thing to do. Perhaps I could doze off in the back without feeling sick. I knew it was a hopeless wish.
‘But, Daniel …’ said Emily, her voice quavering with the unfairness of it as we left the hotel reception. She wasn’t happy that he’d relegated her to the back seat.
‘If Olivia goes in the back seat we’ll have to stop every few minutes because she’ll feel like throwing up. Believe me, we have history.’
I winced. Did he have to say that? Emily was twitchy enough about our long- standing friendship without being reminded of it at every turn.
‘We’ll be lucky to make it back without at least one stop as it is.’
I felt like the troublesome family dog.
The tree-shaded car park was almost deserted when we got to Daniel’s Audi, most of the wedding guests having already departed.
I climbed into the passenger seat, feeling guilty.
‘Got your two pences?’ asked Daniel in a clipped voice, as he slid into the driver’s seat.
‘No … good idea.’
He beat me to it, producing two shiny copper coins from his wallet before I could open my bag. ‘Here you go. Don’t spend it all at once.’ He handed them over, with the semblance of a smile and started the engine.
I watched as he put the car into gear, his tanned, capable forearm scant inches from my knee and then held onto my breath a second too long as he put his arm across the back of my seat to reverse out of the car park.
I closed my eyes momentarily.
It wasn’t fair. With his tousled blond hair, twinkling blue eyes and that endearing slightly chipped front tooth which showed when he smiled, why did he have to be so damned irresistible.
The first time I met him I’d gone all gooey.
There’d been a card on the Student Union noticeboard: Available – lift share to Maidenhead area. Half petrol costs. It didn’t say people with chronic carsickness need not apply.
When he pulled up in his tiny Mini he had to ask twice if I was Olivia. My tongue had glued itself to the roof of my mouth. Wearing loose, faded jeans and a Diesel T-shirt, he’d unfolded his six-foot frame from the car and given my hand a firm shake. At that point I’d have said yes if he’d asked if I was Edna from Edinburgh.
Him being the perfect gentleman was an added bonus. He stopped three times on that first journey to let me heave up my breakfast.
You’d think I wouldn’t see him for dust after that but no, he kept offering me lifts, cementing a strong friendship. Let’s face it, you cover an awful lot of ground in a three hour car journey and you can’t help but love a guy who brings you a new travel sickness remedy to try each time. We went through wristbands, Joy-Rides, ginger biscuits – which I later discovered are for morning sickness – and mint tea before discovering that, for me, clutching copper coins works best.
Olivia has been in love with Daniel forever but, despite her best efforts, they’ve never been able to get it together. Their relationship has always been a series of mixed messages and misunderstandings and the final straw comes when Daniel mysteriously starts dating her flatmate, Emily. Hurt and confused, Olivia resolves to forget her heartache with a spot of speed dating. After all, what could possibly go wrong?
One crazy stalker later and Olivia’s life is becoming increasingly strange and scary. Can she rely on Daniel to step in when events take a terrifying turn or will their communication breakdown ultimately result in tragedy?