For today’s blog, I threw some curly questions to author Andrea Grigg about the release of her second novel ‘Too Pretty’. Her answers cast an interesting perspective on the writing process.
Andrea, thanks for being our guest blogger for today. The title of your latest book is intriguing. A lot of people would think that you could never be “too pretty”. Could you explain a bit about the main premise behind that title?
Thanks Nola for inviting me to be a guest here today. It gives me great pleasure to be able to share my thoughts with so many lovely people. Great questions, too!
The idea that someone could be too pretty for their own good came out of the blue and stuck with me. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where being beautiful is portrayed as being difficult. When I told a couple of women what I was writing about, they were thrilled as they knew Christian girls who had that exact problem. They then proceeded to give me examples, some of which I have used in the story.
Writing this book made me realise that people like Ellie may never know if they are loved for what they look like or for who they are. I wouldn’t like that at all. It was a very interesting perspective to write from.
That's really interesting. It's easy to assume beautiful people have it all, when that's not always the case. This is your second book. Was it easier the second time around?
Yes and no. It was easier because I knew what I was in for as far as the editing process was concerned. But the first draft was hard work this time – things took longer to fall into place.
I think part of it was because I was writing something I didn’t personally relate to. In A Simple Mistake, Lainey is a teacher (like I was) and both she and Nick are musical, (which I am too). In Too Pretty, Ellie is exceptionally beautiful and Nate is extremely wealthy neither of which is within my realm of experience – I had to use my imagination an awful lot!
I think you're underestimating your great beauty Andrea. ☺ Your first book, A Simple Mistake, has been out for a couple of years now and you would have received a lot of feedback and reviews in that time. Did any of that feedback impact the way you approached Too Pretty?
I’ve had some terrific feedback from A Simple Mistake. One time I was in Koorong organising a book signing and one of the young sales assistants positively gushed over the book. She asked me loads of questions about Nick and Lainey and wanted to know what happened to them after the book had finished. It was very cool having someone love my characters as much as I do!
Last month I received an email from a 77-year-old man. He’d picked out A Simple Mistake from the library for his wife and ended up reading it himself. A particular part really touched him, and he was also challenged about his relationship with God. It was rather amazing.
These things spur me on yet they scare me too. What if I can’t back up with an equally good story? I suppose that made me work extra hard on my characterisation in Too Pretty. If my readers can’t connect with my characters then I’m done for!
That must be so encouraging to know that your book is reaching out beyond the audience you would have expected. That ties in a little with my next question on marketing. Both of your books were written for the Christian market. Does that mean that a person would have to be a believer in order to enjoy your books?
I have a number of teaching colleagues who probably wouldn’t call themselves Christians but they still loved my first book. I think part of it is because they know me personally. I hope it’s also because they loved the story!
I think that if my writing is strong enough, non-believers would still enjoy the read, and simply skip over the ‘Christian’ parts if they choose. The basic premise is the same – my characters get their Happy Ever After ☺
What projects are you currently working on?
Now that’s a really good question! I have so many stories on the go it’s not funny.
Should I complete the one about Sophie who was bullied mercilessly in high school by Will, who is now a washed up footy star? He's quite different to how he used to be. In fact he even seems nice. Very nice. And Sophie's different now too. Like 40kgs different. Will he even recognise her? And what will she do if he does?
Or Anna, who has run away from her fiancé to a little cottage by the beach where she meets Ryan, who has just broken off his own engagement. They become close friends, but it can never be more than that because Anna has a secret and if Ryan knew what it was, he'd want nothing to do with her. After all, Anna's father rejected her when she was only little because of it. Why wouldn't Ryan?
Or should it be the sequel to A Simple Mistake? Maybe it’s time to tell you what happened to Liam because I know exactly where he is and the family he ended up in. And what might happen if he and Nick and Lainey inadvertently crossed paths quite often?
You've got lots of options there. I love secrets, so I'll vote for Anna and Ryan ☺ Thanks so much for joining us today Andrea. It's been great having an insight into your writing process. All the best for your book launch this weekend.
For more information about Andrea, or to connect with her on social media, please check out the following sites: