Friday, 14 June 2013

Olivia Hugo, author of Black and White

Black and White by Olivia Hugo is available for Kindle from Amazon:
US: Black and White by Olivia Hugo
UK: Black and White by Olivia Hugo

Black and White: A tale of life and love in the city.
Black and White by Olivia Hugo

Samantha has a well-paid, challenging job in London. She’s just over 30, married and lives in a lovely flat in Clapham with her husband, Steve. Things are going well for her, or so they appear, but she’s worried. Is her job coming between her and Steve? Is it just becoming monotonous? Should she leave it? As she embarks on finding ways to improve her happiness and help her single friend Claire find the perfect man things take an unexpected turn…

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Author Quiz interviews Olivia Hugo...

Is there anything about you or your writing that makes you unique from other authors?

I like to think that I'm a little different from many authors. I'm currently a Management Consultant full time - a job that typically doesn't allow much time to do anything else. However, I woke up one day with the inspiration for the start of a book in my head and felt compelled to write it down. Over the next month or so the rest of the book just came to me and I spent every spare moment trying to record it!

The book itself is based around my job, which means that unlike many chick-lit books, the lead character has to live in the City and deal with a demanding career whilst sorting out her personal life. I wanted to write something that was more aligned with how I see life than a purely escapist plot line based in the countryside.

Would you expect yourself to be most creative as a writer shut off on a desert island or immersing yourself in a busy social life?
Whilst I would love the peace and quiet of a desert island for a while - the hustle and bustle of London can get a bit too much at times - I think I'd be useless as a writer if I was there. A key differentiator of my work is the focus on describing people and how they behave. I draw my inspiration from watching people and I remember particular interactions. I cannot imagine trying to do that entirely from scratch without being able to sense check against real people.

If your book, Black and White, was made into a movie who would you want to play the main character and why?
If my book was ever made into a movie then I'd want Gemma Arterton to be the lead actress playing Samantha. I enjoy her films, particularly Quantum of Solace and St Trinian's. I think she'd be perfect for the role because she is very versatile - she can play a strong woman on the outside but still be credible when faced with portraying self-doubt. She's also beautiful and that's never a bad thing in a movie.

If you could invite one character from your novel to a dinner party who would it be and why?
If I could have dinner with one character from my book then it would have to be Patrick. He's a fabulous mix of being good looking, successful and charming. It's a heady combination in a man and I'm sure dinner would be absolutely fascinating. I'm just not sure that my husband would let me go!!

If you worked for a publishing house, what sort of books would you be looking to publish?
If I worked for a publishing house then I'd try to focus on finding books that are slightly different. I know the mass market is driven by easy to read books but I would like to think there's also demand for carefully thought out and different books. I know there are fantastically successful 'copycat' series but I would want to be looking for something fresh and different, even if I didn't think there was going to be a direct follow up or a movie or whatever.

Do you have a favourite review or has anyone expressed a particularly nice compliment about your writing which stands out as your most memorable piece of praise?
This is my first and only book so I don't have any experience of reviews until now. However, within a week of my book going live on Amazon I got a review from an American girl. She gave me 5 stars and wrote some beautiful things about my book. Arguably, she did a better job of describing the book than I did. I was both overjoyed and incredibly humbled by this response. I never imagined that anyone in America would even buy the book, let alone give it a 5 star review!

Would you rather sell 1000 books at $10/£10 each or 2000 books at $1/£1, i.e. what gives you the greater sense of satisfaction; overall earnings or overall sales?
For me it's not about the money, per se. It was never my intention to try and live off my writing. In fact if you'd suggested that I might contemplate it six months ago, I think I would have laughed in your face. Going through school my English teacher was incredibly disparaging of my ability and I came out with B grades. Since then I've laboured under the impression that I'm 'no good at English'. So for me, the positive reviews and the fact that people are buying a book and not returning it straight away are enough! That said, I do think that people should pay for their entertainment (like music, movies and books) so I wouldn't want to give the book away completely free - as I did incur costs in writing it.

What advice would you give to a new author who has just finished writing their first novel and is unsure as to what steps to take next?
Try not to feel as if there is a right and a wrong way to proceed, just make sure that you take steps to get your book out there. You can afford to try some things, have it not work and then change tack if you need to. There are 6 billion people on the planet, even if you don't please 100 of them, there are still plenty left. It's easier than you think to publish the book yourself - just do a little bit every day or every other day and before you know it you'll have got your first sale. Good luck!

What sort of audience will your book, Black and White, most appeal to?
I think the people most likely to enjoy my book are professional women in their 30s (although any age should be able to identify with it) who have demanding jobs in a City somewhere. That said, some of my male friends (aged up to their late 40s) have read my book and enjoyed it, so perhaps I shouldn't be so prescriptive!

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Thanks for your comments, Olivia, and good luck with your writing.

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Discover more about Olivia Hugo and her writing at her website:

Follow Olivia Hugo on twitter:

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Black and White by Olivia Hugo is available for Kindle from Amazon:
US: Black and White by Olivia Hugo
UK: Black and White by Olivia Hugo

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