Tuesday 6 December 2011

Author Interview - Talli Roland

I'm thrilled to welcome the lovely Talli Roland to my blog this week. Talli's latest book, BUILD A MAN, launches today, so she's here to talk to me about it, and about a few other things too.

Welcome, Talli, and thanks for dropping by! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Oh, that’s a tough one to start off with. Um, okay… I’m Canadian, I’ve lived in London for almost eight years (oh yes, and I’m British now, too). I trained as a journalist, but soon discovered I much preferred making things up! I’m married to an Egyptian, which provides an endless source of entertaining cultural misunderstandings.

When did you start writing, and why?

I don’t even remember starting to writing – I just did! I was always scribbling down something . . . a poem, a short story, a make-believe newspaper article. When I was nine, I wrote my first travelogue, a non-fiction piece called ‘Disasters in Florida’, based on a family trip to Orlando. My real piece de rĂ©sistance, though, was my novel called ‘Glint off the Gold’, which I completed on the Commodore 64 at age thirteen and sent off to various publishers. And thus began my long love affair with rejections!

My first big break was when a small publisher contracted me to write a London travel guide. I’d always dreamed of writing fiction, but as a former journalist, writing non-fiction came more naturally. Although non-fiction was never really my dream, I figured being published in any genre was a good first step. It taught me a lot about how the process works.

What is your writing process like?

I sketch out my characters and a basic plot – turning points, etcetera. Then, I sit down and write. I power straight through to the end. My first drafts are always rubbish, but there’s no way I could edit as I go – usually because while I know the main turning points, I have no idea how the characters will get there. It’s only once I have everything on paper that I can begin to shape it all into a narrative that makes sense. I do another four or five drafts, and voila! I’m done.

Your new novel, BUILD A MAN, is out today - congratulations! What's it about?
 BUILD A MAN follows an ambitious tabloid reporter who goes undercover to construct the nation’s perfect man. It’s set in a cosmetic surgery clinic, and it was inspired by my time working in a five-star spa in one of London’s wealthiest boroughs. I had so much fun writing it, because my main character gets to express many of the things I would have liked to!

You already have two novels, THE HATING GAME and WATCHING WILLOW WATTS published by Prospera Publishing, but you decided to publish BUILD A MAN yourself. Why was that, and what has the experience been like?

There are a lot of reasons why it’s the right decision for me to self-publish – you can read more about my thought process here. I’m not one of those self-publishing evangelists who thinks it’s the only way, though. If a big print publisher (or Amazon!) came my way, I’d definitely be more than open to hearing what they had to say.
The experience is remarkable similar. I worked with an editor and a cover designer on BUILD A MAN, the same way I had with a publisher. I always did my own marketing and promotion, so that hasn’t changed at all. In a way, I find it easier, because now I have complete ownership of my work and timelines.

Describe your perfect writing day…

I can sum it up in three words: coffee, writing, wine.
…and your actual writing day!
Coffee, writing, wine! Seriously, I am very lucky that I’m a full-time writer, so my time is my own. I love that, but it’s quite a responsibility to be ‘in charge’ of yourself. I sit down at the desk at eight and I do a good four or five hours of writing or revising before even attempting to answer emails and do promotional work. Writing has to come first for me.

If you could only own one book, what would it be (and why)?

Another tough question! Right, I have to say THE TIME TRAVELLER'S WIFE. I love the elaborate plotting, and the ending always makes me sob.

If you could only own one album, what would it be (and why)?

I’m going to be a dork here and admit I’m not really into the music scene. If I could only own one album, it would have to be something by Chopin or Sibelius, my two favourite composers.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would that be?
I’d tell my younger self that it’s okay to stop driving forward all the time; that you should stop to enjoy your accomplishments a bit more. Even now, I find that very difficult to do.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Cheeseball alert! I really admire my husband. He works full-time, yet in the past five years, he’s managed to write, direct and edit two feature-length films. His dedication and determination is truly inspiring.

And finally… what’s next for you?

I’m currently working on CONSTRUCT A COUPLE, the sequel to BUILD A MAN. It will be out in Spring 2012.

Thanks again, Talli - it's been great talking to you!

Talli Roland has three loves in her life: chick lit, coffee and wine. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories – complete with happy endings. Her debut novel, The Hating Game, was an Amazon Top 100 bestseller and shortlisted for Best Romantic Read at the UK’s Festival of Romance, and her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as a 2011 Amazon Customer Favourite. Build A Man is her latest release. Talli blogs here and can be found on Twitter here.


  1. Emma, thanks so much for hosting me today! Great questions - I had fun answering them! :)

  2. My day would be tea, writing and wine. I wish I was as strict with myself to avoid the internet until after five hours of writing.

  3. Thanks for the introduction to this author! Your new book sounds like a lot of fun, Talli! And it's so interesting to read about other writers' writing process and perfect writing day. Great post!

  4. Emma: Lovely to read this interview with Talli. I feel I know her a bit better now.
    Talli: Your book covers are lovely - they look bright, fun and eye-catching. One of my favourite novels is 'The Time Traveller's Wife' too - yes, wonderful plotting and one of the best love stories ever! Good luck with your new novel and with the current WIP too!

  5. Thank you for all the comments. Talli, you were a great interviewee and I wish you every success with BUILD A MAN, and all your other books too!

  6. Christine, thank you!

    Vivienne, avoiding the internet is the only way I'd ever get anything done. :)

    Abi, thanks for reading!

  7. Great interview! Thank you for fab questions and answers. Very sorry I've not been here sooner - just too busy. but love it x

  8. Thanks, Catt (and no worries about not getting here sooner!). I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

  9. A great interview. I've only seem the film of The Time Travellers Wife and sobbed at that, so I can imagine what the book would have me doing.

    I loved Talli's first book, The Dating Game and have downloaded Willow Watts and Build a Man, I just need to find the time to read them now!

  10. Thanks, Rebecca! I'm looking forward to reading Talli's books too - Build a Man is waiting on my laptop as we speak!