Q&A with Lacey London, author of the Clara Andrews series & Anxiety Girl.

One in four people will be affected by mental health issues at some point in their lives, but it couldn't happen to YOU, could it?

Sadie Valentine is just like you and I, or so she was...
After a series of unfortunate events in her life, Sadie finds herself in a dark hole that seems impossible to crawl out of. Once a normal-ish woman, mental illness wasn't something that she really thought about, but when the three evils, anxiety, panic and depression creep into her life, Sadie wonders if she will ever see the light again.

Set in the glitzy and glamorous Cheshire village of Alderley Edge, Anxiety Girl is a story surrounding the struggles of a beautiful young woman who thought she had it all. Lacey London has spoken publicly about her own struggles with anxiety and hopes that Sadie will help other sufferers realise that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Hello gorgeous book-folk, and welcome to a brand-new author Q&A on Hummingbird Reviews. Today, I'm delighted to be welcoming the fabulous Lacey London, author of the Clara Andrews series, to the blog. Grab yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy!
Please introduce yourself. Where are you from? What do you? And what's your shoe size?
My name is Lacey London and I am the author of the Clara Andrews series. I currently live in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, with my lovely husband and our spoilt Yorkshire Terrier. I take a size 5.

When is your next book published and what is it called?
My new novel, Anxiety Girl, is due for release in April. This particular book has been many years in the making and I cannot wait to share it with my readers.

What is it about?
Anxiety Girl tackles anxiety, depression and panic attacks. As a sufferer of all three of these things, I wanted to create a story which showed that mental illness can happen to anyone.

Sadie Valentine is a normal-ish woman who never put much thought into her mental health, but after a series of unfortunate events in her life, Sadie finds herself in a dark hole that seems impossible to crawl out of.

How do you hope readers will feel while reading it?
Unlike the Clara series, Anxiety Girl tackles raw issues that I expect will draw out a plethora of emotions, especially to those who have been through the same things which Sadie is experiencing.

If you were to describe this book in the same way you'd describe the weather, what would you say?
A layer of heavy clouds and showers in the morning with a chance of sunshine later in the day. In some parts, we might see a rainbow...

When did you begin writing? What was your first book about?
I first started to write a few years back. At the time I was running my own clothing business and looking for a change of career. After a few months at the laptop, Clara Andrews was born and I never looked back. The Clara Andrews series had been likened to, 'Bridget Jones meet Shopaholic' and I think that sums it up perfectly.

Do you have any goals for your writing?
I started writing with an aim to make it my career, which is exactly what I have done. To be able to write full-time is a dream come true for me and I count my blessings every day.

Which authors inspire you?
So many! I love fun, flirty and frothy reads, but the author who inspires me the most is probably J.K. Rowling.

If you had to describe your writing style in only three words, which words would they be?
Original, fun and real.

What themes do you focus on within your writing? Is it different with each book?
The Clara Andrews series has comedy as a central theme, whereas Anxiety Girl is hard-hitting and addresses more serious issues.

Once you've an idea firmly in place, what is usually the next step for you?
Storyline planning and character development breakdowns. I try to familiarise myself with the personal details of each one of my characters before I begin.

Do you have a favourite part of the writing process?
I love those moments where the words are flowing easily and you just can't stop.

Are there any techniques/methods you use when it comes to plotting?
I try not to plot too much. Once I am knee-deep into a story, the characters take over and steer the book in a completely different direction.

Have you ever come face to face with writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?
Thankfully I have never had a case of prolonged writer's block, but I do encounter temporary writer's block all the time. The days where I stare at a computer screen for hours on end without a clue of where to take the story next are incredibly frustrating. I do find that taking a break from the laptop for a day, or even a few hours, helps massively.

Where do you normally find inspiration?
I love to people watch. Hotels, coffee shops and restaurants are all great places to get ideas for writing.

What does a typical day in your life look like?
A typical day in my life revolves around my laptop, a pair of fluffy slippers and a whole load of coffee.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult?
Editing! If deadlines didn't exist, I would spend years perfecting each book before clicking 'submit'.

How do you usually come up with your titles?
Titles are difficult. I believe they can make or break a book.
I have been lucky with the Clara series as the titles are pretty straight-forward, but Anxiety Girl was a whole other story. My husband and I must have dismissed a hundred different suggestions before settling on Anxiety Girl.

When it comes to creating your characters, what is the first step you take?
I generally have a storyline breakdown and then develop characters to fit in with that. The first step is a name. Once I have a name the character becomes real and I can envisage them better.

Have you ever taken a research trip? If so, where did you go and for which book?
I haven't ever taken a trip specifically for research, but I do use my previous travelling experiences as a base for my book.

Do you set yourself word-count goals?
I live by word count targets. Every day of the week I set myself word count goals. I have tried waiting for inspiration to hit and I wind up staring at a blank screen all day. Word count targets don't work for everyone, but for me they fit my lifestyle perfectly.

What is your definition of 'success'?
Hearing from happy readers is the best part of the job. Knowing that your stories have brought a little laughter into people's lives is an amazing feeling. I think that is the definition of success.

What is your definition of 'happiness'?
Being carefree. We tend to worry so much about a variety of different things and I think that is quite sad. So many of us let minor issues dampen our happiness, but when we take a step back and reassess, we realise that they're not so important after all.

Which do you find hardest? The beginning or the end?
I always find ending my books the hardest as you strive to tie-up all those loose ends in one final chapter.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
In regards to writing? Not to take negative reviews to heart. When I first started out in this industry, I would get so upset by them. Learning that your work won't be everyone's cup of tea has helped me so much. Some people will love it and others won't. Just like Marmite, and Marmite doesn't take it personally, does it?

What one piece of advice would you pass on to another writer?
Pretty much the same as above. If someone doesn't fall in love with your characters, there's plenty more fish in the sea that will.

Tell us an author who is on your auto-buy list?
I must confess that I have so little time for reading these days and that makes me sad, although I do always make time for anything by Jane Costello.

If you were to write in an entirely new genre, which genre would you pick and why?
Oooh! Good question!
Anxiety Girl is a huge step away from my usual genre, although it does maintain my writing style throughout. I guess I would be intrigued to write a drama/mystery/thriller.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on the second book in the Anxiety Girl series.
What will Sadie Valentine do next?

Now for some quick-fire questions:
Coffee or tea? Coffee! I am not ashamed to admit that I am a huge coffee lover. Without it I can't form sentences or put on my pants...
Summer or winter? Summer.
Bath or shower? Baths in winter, showers in summer.
Sweet or savoury? Savoury.
Holiday in the city or the countryside? I live in the countryside, so I would take a city break.
Text or call? I must confess that I am useless at both, although you have more chance of me answering a text than a call.
Facebook or Twitter? Twitter. I don't use Facebook.
Sunrise or sunset? Sunset. I am a night owl, so sunrise is something that I haven't seen in years!
TV programmes or movies? TV shows. I actually watched the entire collection of Breaking Bad in little over a week.
Wine or beer? Wine! Preferably a Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Cats or dogs? Dogs. I am a huge dog lover! I am that crazy lady you see stopping to stroke all the furbabies she passes in the street.
Chinese or Indian food? Indian.
Pasta or cheese? Pasta.

   About the author.

Lacey London is the bestselling author of the Clara Andrews series.

Lacey London lives in Cheshire with her husband and their Yorkshire Terrier. When she is not writing, she can be found in one of Alderley Edge's many bars or restaurants. Failing that, she is probably sleeping. Lacey loves fairy-tales and hates numbers, except the ones in her bank account.

You can find Lacey London on Twitter.
You can find Anxiety Girl on Goodreads & Amazon UK.

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