Pernille Hughes: Smartphones And Swoony Kisses
12 April 2019
Today, I’m delighted to welcome Pernille Hughes to the blog to tell us about her new release, Probably the Best Kiss in the World, which is part set in the wonderful city of Copenhagen, and to talk a little about how photographs and humour play a part in her life and work.
Probably the Best Kiss in the World by Pernille Hughes is published on April 12th by HarperImpulse.
Jen Attison likes her life Just So. But being fished out of a canal in Copenhagen by her knickers is definitely NOT on her to do list. From cinnamon swirls to a spontaneous night of laughter and fireworks, Jen’s city break with the girls takes a turn for the unexpected because of her gorgeous, mystery rescuer.
Back home, Jen faces a choice. A surprise proposal from her boyfriend, ‘boring’ Robert has offered Jen the safety net she always thought she wanted. But with the memories of her Danish adventure proving hard to forget, maybe it’s time for Jen to stop listening to her head and start following her heart…
Smartphones & Swoony Kisses.
Copenhagen has a special place in my heart. My sister lives there and it’s a lovely city; small enough to cover in a long weekend, a perfect mix of old and new, and ever-changing too. Including it in my new book, Probably the Best Kiss in the World came very naturally.
My husband and I took our first kid-free weekend to Copenhagen in 2012. As we’d been before and seen the main sights, I devised an alternative way to make our way around; a route that consisted of microbreweries. I’d just got my first smart phone, and took lots of selfies of us and the beers, while sending a running commentary to my sister in progressively slurry texts. (I am very fond of that set of photos. I heartily recommend this as a way of revisiting any city.)
In 2015, I was back, this time for a weekend with the kids. We did the glass-top boat tour along the canals (the best way to see the city if you haven’t been before) and spent an afternoon at the Carlsberg museum. We scoffed ourselves full at a cake buffet in Tivoli gardens. Again, more selfies, and a new album showing another angle of the same city.
The following year I returned by myself for a few days. This total freedom was new. I would have breakfast at a bakery overlooking a canal and come out of the doors thinking, “what shall I do today?” Aside from one morning that I had designated to sending out submissions to agents for my first book, my time was completely unscheduled. I covered a lot of the city on foot, taking photo after photo, particularly of the many different houseboats. I had an idea fermenting from my past trips. My micro-brewery pictures already had me thinking about a character who wanted to be a brewster. Now, I wanted a character who lived on a houseboat, and I wanted to show this city, as I saw it and loved it.
Scroll on two years, and here I was again in Copenhagen, this time on a bike in the blazing heat of last year’s mega heatwave, cycling across the city with my very pregnant sister, taking pictures of all the things I’d referenced in my new book. The selfies and pictures I’d taken in previous years had brought me both joy and been brilliant memory aids, but now I wanted to have photos to share with readers.
I’m not from the generation that instinctively takes pictures of everything and myself. I need to remind myself to take them, or go with a deliberate intent, but I’m learning. I have plans for all those photos, I’m going to work them hard. Some have already served to illustrate my new website. I’ll have shots to post to Instagram to promote the book under numerous hashtags. I plan to have Chapter albums on Facebook, so readers can see images of the things I’m describing in each of the relevant chapters. I’m making Pinterest pins, and populating Pinterest boards too. I’m cack-handedly teaching myself to use photo apps, to make image grids combining romantic quotes, my shots and some swoony effects. And best of all, the shots are mine and stock-fee free.
I’ve recently bought a new phone. My criteria were fairly modest; 1) big keys as my eyesight isn’t what it used to be and my thumbs appear to be getting fatter, and 2) a good camera. That’s it. I’m still not trained to take selfies instinctively, but in the last years I’ve learnt the benefit of having the camera with me, how the photos we take can lead to inspiration for stories and how they can be used for a multitude of things after. So my lesson to share is get out there, see things and above all else, snap to it!
Thanks, Pernille. If you don’t mind staying with us, I’ve a few questions for you.
Copenhagen is such a beautiful city. How important was it in helping you to create a world for your characters?
Having been to Copenhagen numerous times and being so fond of it, I wanted to show some of my favourite spots and features in my story. I deliberately set scenes in and around those places such as the Christianshavn area, highlighting less-mentioned sights such as the houseboats, bridges and pretty building features. My heroine Jen is a control freak, an absolute app, spreadsheet and to-list fiend, and I needed a way to break her out of that for a short window of time. The canals of Copenhagen offered a fun way of suspending her phone usage for that moment. I wanted her to stop and notice life going on around her, to breathe a little. Pointing out the smaller details of the city was part of that. In addition, beer plays a significant part in this story, and being the home of Carlsberg, Copenhagen fitted the bill perfectly.
I believe you had varied work roles before becoming a published author, I’ve even heard tales of Teletubbies! Could you tell us about your different experiences and how they helped you to become an author?
I’ve done things like cleaning school toilets and coaching kids in drama, to working in Advertising, marketing natural history films and finally, as you mention, working for Ragdoll, the creators of Teletubbies. There I was at first the PA to the co-creator, living on site as we filmed (Teletubbyland is exactly as you see it on the screen) and then moved to the International Rights department based at Pinewood, selling Ragdoll’s other programmes such as Rosie & Jim and Tots TV abroad. Some of those earlier jobs were more fun than others of course, but in the various teams we always had a laugh. I realised how important laughter was to me. I don’t think I could stay in a job where there was no laughter. At Ragdoll, the company’s ethos was bringing joy to little children, which we did primarily by finding the humour in the simplest of things. So, for me and my writing, I think I try to find the funny in scenarios. On the harder writing days, I remind myself that I could be cleaning school toilets instead!
Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the future?
Really, it’s just to keep writing and hopefully get more books out there. I’ll be staying with the romcom genre for now, but if I ever venture anywhere else it would still have a comic lilt to it. I need the funny in there!
Thank you again, Pernille, for a lovely look into your world. I’m looking forward to reading the book!
About the Author:
Pernille Hughes is a RomCom author and mum, whose debut novel was SWEATPANTS AT TIFFANIE’S, soon to be followed by PROBABLY THE BEST KISS IN THE WORLD (April 2019). Previously, her writing has been printed in The Sunday Times as Confessions of a Tourist and in the fabulous SUNLOUNGER summer anthologies.
Pernille (pronounced Pernilla) studied Film & Literature at uni and took her first job in advertising, having been lured by the temptation of freebies, but left when Status Quo tickets was as good as it got. After a brief spell marketing Natural History films, she switched to working in Children’s television which for a time meant living in actual Teletubbyland, sharing a photocopier with Laa-Laa.
Now, she lives in actual Buckinghamshire, sharing a photocopier with her husband and their four spawn. While the kids are at school she scoffs cake and writes RomCom stories in order to maintain a shred of sanity.
Ebook available from online retailers including;
Paperback available from June 27th from online retailers including
How to keep in touch with Pernille:
About the Interviewer:
Ruby Moone lives in the wilds of Lancashire with her husband and writes historical and contemporary romance. At school, her teachers said that she lived with her head in the clouds and if she didn’t stop daydreaming she would never get anywhere. She never did stop daydreaming, and after years of happily living in the clouds, decided to write the stories down.