#joaniegalboss: Interview with Author, Lindsey Kelk
The latest instalment of our #joaniegalboss series sees us catching up with bestselling British author Lindsey Kelk about her books, her life as a writer... and Channing Tatum. Read on for our Lindsey Kelk interview!
Lindsey is best know for her I Heart book series - her first book, I Heart New York, was the first in this series based across different cities.
In addition to being a novelist, Lindsey has written for many women's magazines, including penning a monthly column for Marie Claire.
She now has 13 novels under her belt, lives in LA, writes a blog and runs a beauty podcast called Full Coverage, along with co-host Harriet Hadfield.
Check out Lindsey Kelk's interview with Joanie, below.
Hi Lindsey, we love the themes you explore through your writing – what was it that inspired you to start your very first book?
I’ve always loved writing, ever since I was little, but I never thought it would actually be my job. Things were not great when I started writing I Heart New York, I was in a bit of a rut. Miserable at work, miserable at home, absolutely broke and generally feeling stuck. Just before Christmas, my (very generous!) brother took me to New York for a few days and I just fell in love with the city. As soon as I got home, all I could think about was what it would be like to walk away from my life and start over in NYC – that was the inspiration for the book, it was a total ‘anywhere but here’ fantasy. I wrote it to distract myself from how unhappy I was, I truly never believed it would be the beginning of a new career and a new life.
You’ve published 13 novels to date; does any book stand out as one that you loved writing?
I’ll always love I Heart New York because it literally changed my life but the book I remember having the most profound effect on me was Always the Bridesmaid. It was a story I’d wanted to write for a while and just before I finished the first draft, my mum passed away quite suddenly. For ages, I couldn’t get it together to write but then one day, I realized writing could actually help me feel better. Also, my mum was a stickler for a strong work ethic and I knew she’d want me to get it finished! Even though I was so sad, it gave me strength to know that I could still create and write something that would make other people laugh and smile. I knew she would have been proud.
Above: Lindsey wears the Bronte Jumper - £30
Many of your books are about relationships – have real life experiences ever influenced any of your storylines or characters?
Oh god, all the time. Sometimes I don’t even realize how much until afterwards! I used to joke that every bad date I went on was for research but really, there’s only so many bad dates a girl can take. Angela was definitely a stand in for me at the beginning of the I Heart series, we were in similar predicaments until she up and left for NYC. It’s weird, sometimes I give my characters my experiences and sometimes, I end up living things I wrote before they happened. For example, I wrote I Heart New York two years before I actually moved their, it’s weird how things work out sometimes.
You grew up in Doncaster, have moved to several cities across the UK and now live in Los Angeles – do you miss England and your hometown in particular?
I do miss England but the more often I move, I miss places less and people more. It’s almost nine years since I left the UK and three since I moved from NYC to LA and I do get terribly homesick for both places. When I lived in London, I wasn’t especially happy but now I have so many friends there and it’s always exciting to visit. NYC is a different story altogether because the six years I spent there were just incredible. Everything you think about NYC is true, it’s just a non-stop rollercoaster of all the feels. Honestly, it breaks my heart every time I think about the place because I miss it so much. Doncaster will always be where I’m from but I don’t have much family left in the area now which is kind of sad but it’s OK, things change.
Did you have a favourite book growing up?
I was an obsessive reader when I was little so it’s really hard to choose one! I was obsessed with YA from far too young an age (explains such a lot) and devoured all of Paula Danziger’s books. My favourite was Remember Me To Harold Square which was about a teenage girl in New York. I’m pretty sure that’s where my obsession with the city began and I always have a copy in my library. The first time I went to New York, I took it with me and visited as many places from the book as I could find. It blows my tiny mind when people message me and say they do the same thing with the I Heart books.
Above: Lindsey wears the Pepper Bicycle Print Dress - £45
Talk us through a typical day being a full-time writer. How do you keep yourself motivated?
I’m so bad at it! Honestly, I’m the queen of procrastination. Given the chance, I’d sit on the settee and drink tea and watch Law & Order: SVU all day long but that’s not really an option. Deadlines are my best friend and my worst enemy, usually, I get around two months to write a first draft of a book and I don’t think I’ve ever finished early, I’m an utter disgrace. Definitely a last minute worker – I always did better in exams than on coursework.
A typical day will be dragging myself out of bed (not a morning person), reading emails and blogs, drinking the tea I have to buy in England still because American tea is weird and then, if I’m feeling virtuous, I’ll go to the gym. After that, I’ll either come home and start work or try to meet up with a friend. When I’m writing, I’m terrible for going to ground. If I didn’t see my boyfriend and the postman, it would just be me and my cats for days on end. If I have a little bit of time in my schedule. I love to go to the LA Zoo which isn’t too far from my house. Me and my friend Kevin Dickson, another writer will wander around, swear a lot and then sit in front of the otters. I know it’s weird but it works. I love swearing and otters.
I’m definitely more of a night owl and do all my best writing at night time so I’ll sometimes go until one or two am if the deadline is looming (and it always is). My life is weird.
As well as writing, you co-host a beauty podcast called Full Coverage. How did you get into that?
When my friend Harriet Hadifield moved out to LA last year, we were always talking about beauty stuff. She’s a makeup artist and Youtuber and I used to have a beauty blog and we really wanted to work on something together but didn’t want to do anything we’d both done before. We were at a skincare launch and a friend suggested we start a podcast. It seemed crazy at the time, I couldn’t figure out how a beauty podcast would work but one year later and Full Coverage is growing so fast! We discuss all the news in the industry, share reviews of our favourite products (and not so favourites) and interview people like Jamie Greenberg and Caroline Hirons. It’s been a blast. I actually worked as a beauty PR before I went into publishing but I was terrible at lying to people when the products weren’t very good so this is much better – honest opinions and laughs with my mate, couldn’t ask for more.
We heard that Channing Tatum once called you a unicorn, please tell us why and when that happened?!
Ha! It’s true, I’m a unicorn for life, Channing says. I was sent to Vegas to review Magic Mike Live, the show inspired by the Magic Mike movies for Glamour magazine and I loved it. Sadly, Channing isn’t in it but it’s still awesome and if you’re in Vegas you should definitely go. He saw my review and posted it on his Facebook and Twitter himself, Channing Tatum typed out my name with his own fair fingers. It was truly a magical day.
Have you got any tips for aspiring writers looking to start their first book?
It’s probably the question I get asked the most and there’s only one answer. If you want to write, write. No one else can do it for you, there’s no secret trick or magical method that makes it easier, you’ve just got to get the words on the page. You can plan and write synopses and character profiles all day long but really, until you sit down and write a story, you’ll never know whether or not you can do it. I wish there was a better answer!
Finally, when you’re going to an event and want to bring your A-game, what’s your go-to style to wear?
When I lived in London and New York, I was all about my vintage. I have the most amazing wardrobe of vintage dresses, mostly minis from the 60s; I love a little shift or a scooter dress. But when I moved to LA, everyone here is so casual, it’s jeans with everything, breaks my heart, honestly. I’ll still go with a vintage inspired frock if it’s for a nice event like a book launch or a beauty event, something like that. My favourite outfit of all time is a pair of gold sequined hot pants, a black jumper with a panda on the front and my gold YSL Tributes. I still have dreams about that outfit. You might not think it but gold sequin hot pants make a fantastic base for many different outfits. The day mine fall apart will be a dark day indeed.
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