Hey everyone! Today I have Charlotte Ashby, author of Girls Like Us, talking about her career thus far, and what she has learned from all of her experiences!
A year ago, I found myself in the enviable position of not being the breadwinner for a while – 20 years later I had another gap year to fill. Naturally I had planned all sorts of life enhancing activities like flicking through ‘get the look’ sections of women’s magazines and removing hairballs from the corners of my kitchen.I have always loved reading and studied English at university but had no serious intention of writing a book, until that is, my best friend came up with a suggestion. Send me one page she said, just one page and I won’t hassle you again. Looking back, that was fiendishly cunning. You can’t write the first page without inventing characters, scenarios, relationships and then once you’ve started, you can’t just abandon them. You’ve got to keep going and find out what happens next. I sent her a chapter a week and waited with baited breadth for a response, which wasn’t always flattering but she was usually right. I was obsessed, for the next 10 months, I would find myself driving with no clue where I was, utterly absorbed and distracted by the characters and how it could all work out.Of course it helped that I had spent 20 years in a consumer PR agency, one of the most colourful and ludicrous workplaces you could imagine. There were graduate trainees running the marathon dressed as a pot noodle, brainstorms in sandpits, photocalls with abusive celebrities and all manner of harebrained stunts to grab the tabloid headlines. So Emily Brighouse, my hapless, slightly slutty, well meaning heroine, is only a slight exaggeration. Because I have hopped into the offices of the Daily Sport dressed as an Easter Bunny, I have abseiled down the side of a building for some nutty PR stunt and I too have been invited onto the Richard & Judy show to explain my offensive publicity campaign.Nothing can describe the excitement of seeing the front cover for the first time – knickers on the chandeliers – need I say more! Girls Like Us was described by one newspaper as a ‘heady mix between Bridget Jones and Jilly Cooper’ and the next thing I know, I’m Sun ebook of the week. But the truth is, it was all worth it just to give my friend a laugh and every snigger I get beyond that is a massive bonus.And what have I learnt from this strange, emotional, maddening experience? For every publisher or agent that turns you down, there is a kind tweet or review that keeps you going. If you can just write the first page, you can write a novel. It’s definitely OK to laugh at your own jokes and there will probably always be hairballs in the corners of my kitchen, because whether I like it or not, I will never stop writing novels.
Girls Like Us on Amazon.co.uk - paperback and kindle.
For more information on Charlotte, you can follow her on twitter @EmilyBrighouse.