I would like to welcome today the multifaceted author Sasha Lane.
I like romantic comedies where there’s a hint of darkness. Would you say Emma’s latest experiences echo your own?
I love these kind of books too- where there is a bit of a dark theme even though the book has romance and comedy throughout. The latest book starts with Emma turning forty which I can totally relate to as I turn forty myself in October. Emma is fearing forty because she doesn’t feel old enough to be turning that age, however she is seeing some of the physical aspects of middle age – greying hair for one – and having to deal with that, and I can totally relate to both of those things. She’s also looking at forty as though this is when her life will settle down and all of the crazy things will stop happening to her, and, although I haven’t personally experienced some of the challenges that Emma does throughout the book, I wanted to show the conclusion that I have come to about turning forty in that life will continue to challenge and surprise you, regardless of your age – it really is just a number and has very little significance on the life that you lead – that’s your choice, you are not dictated to by your age.
If the novels were to be adapted into a film or series, can you picture it? Who could you see playing Emma? Who would play Joe?
Ah, that’s a tough one. I can’t put my finger on who would play Emma. I can see her clearly in my head but as she’s my character that I’ve created; she’s unique. As for Joe, I think Ryan Phillipe embodies the characteristics of Joe – strong physique, a sexy ‘bed head’ look, and slight dimples when he smiles. When I’m writing, I can see every scene playing out in my mind. I write in first person so for me I find it easy to envision my characters in a real setting as it’s like I’m Emma having those conversations with the other characters and going through every moment with her.
Without giving too much away, does Emma somehow redress the balance with Joe?
With the help of her friends – which is a common theme throughout all four books. I wanted to show the importance of friendship in keeping us sane! The books all focus on the strong bonds that Emma has with her close friends Sophie, Jenny, and Simon. They help her to gain perspective when she’s doubting herself.
I will never forget a conversation I overheard between two authors at an Ox lunch, several years back. One author had written a series of novels and had just released her latest, they were having a heated discussion about one of the main characters.
Author one said:
‘You said he was gonna die, you were going to kill him off.’
Series author said:
‘Well that was my intention but it didn’t happen.’
Author one said:
‘So you lied.’
Series author argued:
‘I did not lie. I tried everything I could but the (so and so) refused to die.’
So Sasha, for the readers who have followed Emma’s life over the last eight years, will ‘Girl, Always and Forever’ leave them satisfied to let her go or will there be another in the series?
This is the last book in the series and I hope that the ending leaves readers satisfied, but also a little surprised! I hope that readers have seen Emma grow as a person and develop over the four books. I’ve taken Emma along a journey and this book is the conclusion. For me, it ends perfectly. I love the final chapter – while I’ve been editing it, I’ve found myself reading it quicker and quicker as I get carried along with the momentum even though I know exactly how it will end!
It must be challenging to balance writing romance and working as an insurance broker. How do you manage this? Do you have a typical writing day? Do you have a set routine? Any rituals? And how do you squeeze in the time to promote your books?
When I’m working on a new book I try to write a couple of hundred words a day during the week and then a few thousand each day at the weekend – it can be hard, particularly when working to a publishing deadline. I’m much more creative in the mornings so on Saturdays and Sundays I try to get up early and write a few thousand words then I can get on with my day without worrying about having to fit it in. Finding time to promote my books can be challenging as I work full time. Sometimes I find myself doing a day’s work then heading straight from the office to an event where I’m guest speaking and selling/signing books, and weekends can also be taken up by events so it’s a balance making sure I spend quality time with my partner as well as making enough time to market myself and my books.
Due to your passion for Criminal Justice, do you think you’d like to write Crime Novels someday? Or combine the two?
I’ve tried writing a serious crime novel – twice! – in fact that’s the genre I started writing in before Romance, but my writing style is too light-hearted for crime novels. I do have a side project at the moment which is more of a ‘girl turns detective’ so it’s still a chick lit style book but with a crime theme which works better for me than crime thrillers.
Do you have a hidden desire to become a secret detective? If you were, would there be a particular area of interest?
I love forensics and am obsessed with watching true crime documentaries on television. I would have loved to be a crime scene investigator – although in reality, I might not have the stomach for it!
A serious marketing push for the new book, and lots of events in the run up to Christmas promoting all four books. I’m launching the paperback of ‘Girl, Always and Forever’ with a book signing at WHSmith at Meadowhall Shopping Centre on the 5th October, then in the new year, I’ll turn my attention back to my chick lit crime book and see where that adventure takes me.
Girl, Always and Forever
This is the fourth and final book in the series which follows the rollercoaster life of Emma, and follows on from Girl, Conflicted, Girl, Unhinged, and Girl, Unconventional.
Emma is turning forty, and that’s when everything in life falls in to place, right? Apparently not.
The book begins with Emma waking up the day after her fortieth birthday. She thinks that once she turns forty, she will transform into what she perceives to be a grown up, and that all of the ridiculous things that keep happening to her will stop and she will live a settled, happy life, but she’s wrong.
The idea behind this book came from myself, and a number of my friends, also turning forty this year. We’ve all approached this birthday differently. Some have written lists of things they want to do in their fortieth year, some are having huge parties, some have tried to hide from it. But the reality is, that nothing changes; yes 40 is a birthday to mark, but life goes on around you regardless.
As Emma moves into a beautiful new house with her lovely boyfriend, Joe, she feels that life couldn’t get more perfect. But perfection is short lived as Emma’s friend’s relationships all start falling apart at the seams, with adultery and mid-life crisis wreaking havoc.
Joe is also given a promotion at work meaning he is away from home in London, leaving Emma alone and under pressure to keep everything together.
Joe‘s new found love for life in the big city, and his close relationship with his new work colleague, Karen, leave Emma questioning everything.
Is she destined to follow in the footsteps of her friends, or will she and Joe stand the test of time?
Although the main character is completely fictional, she does bare some of the characteristics that I do, and I’ve actually included in the last two books, some true stories as some of the funny things that happen to Emma have unfortunately happened to me in real life too, but that’s also part of my writing style – I can laugh at myself, and add humour into the stories.
I always wanted to write a series about a character as I hate it when you get to the end of a book, close the last page, and that’s it – it feels like you’ve lost a friend. I love the fact that the series follows Emma’s life over a period of eight years and really lets the reader get to know her, and see how her character grows over the four books.
It’s a romantic comedy that addresses serious life issues. Throughout all of my books I wanted to write about everyday issues that women face. I hope that this helps readers to connect with the characters and their storyline, and associate with some of the topics that I raise. I keep the books light-hearted, and with humour, despite some more serious storylines, as I want them to be an enjoyable, fun read, and a bit of escapism from reality for my readers.
About Sasha Lane
I’m a Romance/chick lit author by night, Insurance Broker by day. I live in South Yorkshire with my partner and two cats. I also have a Criminal Justice Degree as this is also a huge passion of mine. I love writing funny romance novels as they allow my imagination to run riot; they’re romantic comedies with a hint of darkness.
I’ve always loved reading books and never thought I would actually write one, but once I started the process, I fell in love with it.
I try to create characters that are everyday women so hopefully readers can find something about their personality or lifestyle that they can relate to and fall in love with them as much as I have while writing about them.
The idea behind my books is to show the challenges of everyday women trying to balance jobs/careers, with family, friends and relationships. It’s hard, and sometimes you have to laugh at yourself, which the main character, Emma, does, but I also wanted to show how important friendship is too at keeping us all sane!
I love writing romance with twists and turns, but of course, with a happy ending!
About the interviewer:
Catherine Lawless lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, daughter and their three border terriers. She writes novels, journals and children’s books. Catherine’s career started out as a singer/songwriter in a rock band. She toured extensively throughout Europe and the UK before settling down and following her childhood dream of writing books.