5 Minutes with Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne is an author and a journalist. Holly’s first two books, Soulmates and The Manifesto on How to be Interesting, have been critically acclaimed and translated into six languages. The first book in the Spinster Club series, Am I Normal Yet?, was chosen as a World Book Night book for 2016 and was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize. The Spinster Club series has also inspired the formation of Spinster Clubs across the UK and Ireland. Before becoming a full-time author, Holly was editor of TheSite.org – a charity-run advice and information website for young people.

What was the last book you read?

Something To Live For by Richard Roper

What did you read it on?

I was lucky enough to get a proof, which is now being fought over by all my friends and family.

What’s next on your reading list?

I got The Argonauts for Christmas and am desperate to read it next.

Which writer would you have loved to have met and why?

Louise Rennison as she’s my biggest influence ever. I read her books as a teen and they were the first books I’d ever come across that showed who hilarious teen girls can be.

You are stranded on a desert island. What three books would you want with you?

All the Louise Rennison books stuck together in a big lump (I don’t care that that’s cheating), To Kill A Mockingbird, and The Worse Case Scenario handbook.

Which is your favourite bookshop or e-bookstore and why?

Leakey’s bookshop in Inverness is everything a secondhand book shop should be. It has a spiral staircase, a roaring fire, antique drawings from Victorian children’s books. It’s impossible to leave.

Name your favourite app and why.

I’m one of those smug twats who mediates every day and I use the Will William’s meditation app. It really does chill me out afterwards, for at least five minutes. Then I’m back in the void again.

Go on, let us know your musical guilty pleasure.

Taylor Swift, but there is no guilt about that.

And your one from the world of fiction?

I’m just going to come out and say it. I really enjoyed the Twilight books. I inhaled them. Problematic though they may be.

When did you first realise you wanted to work in publishing?

I’ve always wanted to write but it’s a bit like wanting to be a footballer or a prima ballerina. You never think it’s going to happen to you

What would be the title of your autobiography?

Is It Time To Go Home Yet?

Which great novel have you tried to read but failed?

The Great Gatsby. Why read when you can drool over Leo?

What was your first job?

Working in an independent video rental shop. Remember them?

What is the silliest thing you have on your desk?

An RSI squeeze ball that I just use to play catch with against myself

Tell us about a passion you have outside the business.

I’m currently training to be a counsellor. I like to dig below the surface of every human I come across, it’s endlessly fascinating. There’s something about my personality that means people just tell me stuff. “I cant believe I just said all that” is the phrase I hear most often. It’s a tremendous privilege.

Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?

Louise Rennison. Never underestimate how much courage it takes to be a funny woman.

What distracts you from writing?

The void. Instagram. They’re probably the same thing really.

What was the first book that made you cry?

I’M NOT READY TO TALK ABOUT SIRIUS BLACK YET, OK?

What are the most common traps for aspiring writers?

Focusing too much on getting published before they’ve even written a book. Write the goddamned book. Nothing can be achieved before you’ve done that.

If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Please stop wearing Converse, your back is going to hurt to much later.

What was your favourite childhood book?

Walk Two Moons. 

If you could bring a fictional book character to life for one day to hang out with, whom would it be?

I’ve always been very certain that Dave The Laugh from the Georgia Nicolson series is my dream man and that we should totally get married. Anyone who hangs a ‘FOR SALE’ sign on their school roof is the man for me.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Go on very long walks. Or watch weird 70 minute long YouTube videos about developmental psychology.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

2000 words a day, five days a week, means a first draft within three months.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write the goddamned book already.

Holly Bourne joins London Book & Screen Week 2019 to discuss mental health, feminism, female friendship and realistic romance, alongside her latest novel Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? with award winning journalist and podcast host Daisy Buchanan. Book your spot herehttps://lbsw-hollybourne.eventbrite.co.uk

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