Today Jon Rance is stopping by! It’s my turn on his blog tour and my review of his new book Dan and Nat Got Married went live a few hours ago (read it – the book AND my review). Now I have a Q&A with the man himself!
Welcome to Girl Vs Books, Jon! You’re my first author interview so congrats on having that honour! 🙂 Can you tell us about your new book Dan and Nat Got Married?
Hello! It’s an honour to be here. Yes, of course. Dan And Nat Got Married is my fifth novel and it’s a romantic comedy about two people (Dan and Nat) who wake up married in Las Vegas. They’ve both had their fair share of heartbreak and despite not knowing each other, they decide to give their marriage a shot. Back in London they move in together and we follow them as they try to see if it’s possible for marriage between two relative to actually work. It’s a funny, full of heart modern romantic comedy about marriage, relationships, and giving love a second chance.
Truth time: was Dan and Nat Got Married inspired by Katy Perry and/or Ross & Rachel. As soon as I heard the plot, Waking Up In Vegas popped in my head! If it, sadly, wasn’t inspired by either of those two moments, what was the real inspiration?
Unfortunately, it wasn’t inspired by any of these things. I do love Friends although Ross and Rachel getting married in Las Vegas didn’t even enter my head when I was writing this. The inspiration was that I was trying to think of a unique way my two main characters could meet and once I thought of the idea of waking up married to a complete stranger, it had to be in Las Vegas! The truth is, we’ve all had drunken nights out and woken up the following morning with no idea what happened the night before. I took this idea and thought, imagine that happening and when you wake up you’re married to a complete stranger. Of course, the next part of the story was the hard part to figure out – why would they decide to stay married?
Some might say two drunk people getting married is BONKERS, but in this day and age? Totally not true, right? People do all sorts on reality TV so getting married is pretty tame, I reckon, especially two such level-headed people as Dan & Nat, so it’s natural really isn’t it?
Honestly, I’ve had nights out in my past when I’ve woken up with no idea what happened the night before. I think they both have good reasons for falling into this marriage and I definitely think it’s possible!
Adam was quite the scene-stealer (in the best way) in Dan and Nat Got Married, any chance he and Ellie might get a spin-off or a novella would do?
Haha! I would never say never. I did love writing the Adam and Ellie story. They could definitely have their own novel, no question. I have no plans for it, but if this book does really well and people love the characters, who am I to say no?
You’ve had a whirlwind writing career – you originally self-published your books, then you got picked up by Hodder, before going back to self-publishing, would you like to be published traditionally again, or are you happy as you are (and it clearly works)?
I just wrote a short piece about this. It has been a bit of a whirlwind and I loved working with a traditional publisher and my agent. It definitely had its upsides and downsides and I’ve really been enjoying working on my own for the last few books. Being self-published gives you so much freedom. I work with an editor that I love and design my own covers, which I enjoy. But saying that I’ve self-published my last three books and so maybe it’s time to jump back on the traditional publishing horse after this one. We’ll see what happens. The good thing is that I know I can be successful either way. I think the thing is not so much how you get published, but the work you put into it and the quality of the book you eventually write.
While you were writing Dan and Nat Got Married, did you write Dan’s POV, then Nat’s or do Dan’s all in one go, then Nat’s? How does it work, giving each character a voice?
It’s tricky writing from two points of view, but I must say that for this book the voices seemed to come really easily to me. I loved both of these characters so much and I really enjoyed writing them and their separate stories. I actually wrote the book as it is going backwards and forwards, but in a later edit I separated them and just worked on each one independently. It’s a long process, but hopefully the readers will love and get both characters.
I love reading books from multiple points of view and especially this book works so much better because of it. Having both characters tell their story meant I could really flesh out their lives, so we completely understand and sympathise with each of them. This book would have been so different – and I don’t think as good – if it was only written from one of their perspectives.
There are some pretty awesome lad lit (rom com? I do not know, but please correct me if there’s a better term) authors around at the minute – yourself, Mike Gayle, Nick Spalding, Matt Dunn, Andy Jones, and I love reading from the male perspective, what do you think it is that makes lad lit (again, sorry) so popular?
There are definitely some very talented writers out there – male and female. I don’t know what the term is for what we do. To me the term lad-lit feels more blokish and a bit of a hangover from the lad culture of the 90’s. I say I write commercial fiction. Also in three of my books I’ve written from female perspectives, so it definitely isn’t just life and love from the man’s point of view. I think we do offer something different from female writers. I don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s definitely less sentimental and a more realistic version of life. There definitely aren’t any men out there writing chocolate box rom coms with food items in the title. Personally I don’t really care if a book is written by a man or a woman, as long as it’s really good.
Who are some of the authors who inspire you? What’s your favourite book? (Again, I’m sorry, because if I was asked that question I would stab someone)
Haha it’s OK. Authors who have inspired me. It’s a fairly long list, but here’s a few of the big ones. Nick Hornby – the Godfather of the male confessional novel. I read ‘High Fidelity’ and it changed how I thought about writing. Mike Gayle – after I read his first book, ‘My Legendary Girlfriend’ it really inspired me to write my first novel. Mike’s books are all so readable and it’s surprisingly hard to write books that are so easy to read. It’s taken me a few books to get anywhere near close. David Nicholls – all of his books are just perfect. For me he’s just a great writer and has a wonderful understanding of the human condition. If you ever want to read a book to learn how to write dialogue read any of his books. I’m also influenced by writers like Helen Fielding for creating such a magical character in Bridget Jones, Christina Hopkinson who wrote the brilliant, ‘The Pile Of Stuff At The Bottom Of The Stairs’ and Tony Parsons for ‘Man And Boy’ one of my all-time favourite books.
As far as my favourite book goes, how can you ask me that?! It’s an impossible question like what’s your favourite album or favourite film. I have so many favourite books for so many reasons and it’s usually because they represent a time in my life. So I’ll just say that I have many favourite books and look to the authors above for an idea of what they might be!
Would you ever like to write in another genre? That is also all the rage and it’s amazing to see authors like Sophie Kinsella and Cecelia Ahern write amazing young adult fiction!
First off I’d say that great writers can write in any genre. Saying that it is very difficult and personally I know there’s genres I will never attempt. For example, I’d never write a thriller or a crime/detective novel and not because I don’t love them, but because I don’t have the brain for it. Carefully plotting a crime story with twist after twist just isn’t my strength. I admire authors who can do that. I have thought about writing a children’s book because having two young kids it’s definitely something that’s a big part of my life.
I think rather than change genres I’m looking to develop as an author. I’m going to continue writing in the commercial fiction genre, but I want to write bigger, deeper, more emotionally challenging books. So far all of my books have been almost straight comedies – perhaps with the exception of Happy Endings and Sunday Dinners – but for my next book I’m definitely going into unknown territory.
I know that Dan and Nat Got Married isn’t out as we’re doing this interview, but what’s next for you? Do you have another book idea you’re writing (or have already written!)?
Continuing from the previous question, yes I’ve started my next book. It’s still very early in the development phase, but it’s going to be more wide ranging in scope than my previous novels. I want to introduce new themes, ideas, and write something with a wider appeal that explores deeper and more emotional ideas. I love writing romantic comedies and I’ll always write them, but I think as writers we also want to push ourselves and do something a bit different from time to time. That’s all I can say at the moment! Thanks so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.