Author Q&A - The Other Half
What made you write this novel?
A few years ago I bought some lottery tickets from a friend, and when they drew the cash prize, I won. It wasn’t a huge amount of money – it was $5000 – but it was enough for me to make my first ever trip to New York. Not only did I fall in love with the Big Apple, but that trip inspired The Other Half, and spurred me to write fiction, so it was a genuinely life-changing event.
What scene did you most enjoy writing? Why?
I had great fun writing the conversations Chloë has with her gay flatmate, Rob, and early on in the novel there’s one where Chloë tells Rob about going out for dinner with James and their mutual seduction that I relished especially because in many ways Rob’s reactions - his gasps of horror, his love of gossip - mirror my own.
What scene was the hardest to write? Why?
On the whole I found the scenes were characters are having difficulties in their relationships hardest, because I have to put myself into the heads of my characters to write them, and if they're sad, then to an extent I feel their pain too.
Who would you cast if your book made into a movie?
Both women are sympathetic characters, but they are very different physically - Chloe is dark haired, curvy and with a kookie style - Zooey Deschanel would be a good Chloe, or Emma Stone - if she dyed her hair! Maggie is a bit older, tall, slender and blonde, more classically beautiful. I could imagine Naomi Watts or Gwyneth Paltrow as Maggie, I can imagine they’d convey her quiet intelligence very well. And as for James/Jamie, ooh, that’s such a fun game – I’ll leave him up to readers to cast!
If you could give your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
I wouldn’t say “don’t have an affair with a colleague”, as a lot of people meet their partners at work and it would rule out too many potential suitors, but I would say “don't sleep with your boss”. And it’s not because of the potential for awkward encounters at the office or colleagues thinking you’re easy that I say this: it’s because it’s important to get on job-wise because of your ability, and you don’t want anyone thinking you’ve been given a leg-up for the wrong reasons. It wouldn’t be good for your professional reputation, or, just as importantly, your self-esteem.