Hi Beth, please tell us about your debut novel.
Saving Missy is about a very spiky, proud and lonely old lady who lives on her own, has lost her husband and family, and has faded out of society. One day, a chance encounter in the park gives her the opportunity to turn her life around – but will her secrets hold her back, and stop her finding happiness?
What was the idea behind it?
It was mainly walking my dog around the park, realising I knew a lot of people there simply because we walked our dogs together. I started imagining how a lonely person might be rescued by the simple addition of a dog, and it went from there.
Can you tell me one positive trait of your main character or characters?
Missy Carmichael, despite her age, has a curiosity and zest for life, and a razor-sharp mind.
Can you tell me one negative trait of your main character or characters?
Missy is very proud and stubborn, with a tendency to be waspish and judgemental.
Why did you chose this genre to write in?
It was 2016, there were lots of celebrities dying, and Brexit, and Trump got elected, and it felt like everything was unravelling, so I wanted to cheer myself up!
What is your favourite book?
My favourite ‘classic’ is Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, because I love the grim humour and the anarchy of it all. More recently, I loved The Girl with All the Gifts, by MR Carey, because although it’s sci-fi, he makes everything so real and believable.
What is the book you are reading now?
I just finished The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen, which was lovely – such poetic, lyrical writing. And I’ve just started Grown Ups by Marian Keyes, which of course grips you from the very beginning, so I know I’m going to enjoy it.
What is your favourite romantic film?
Truly, Madly, Deeply, because it’s so unexpected in terms of plot, and so unbearably poignant. A ghost love story! It’s an utterly magical film.
Was it hard to let your first book go out into the wild?
I love everything about being an author – almost everything. The thing I find hard is sending the book out and wincing in advance of any criticism which will surely come your way. It’s impossible to please everyone, so I’m steeling myself for the scrutiny, which I find really hard. I’m hoping that if I manage to have a long-term career in writing, I will develop a thicker skin!
What ways do you overcome procrastination?
Like many writers, I am a TERRIBLE procrastinator – I will waste hours on twitter reading about obscure medical conditions, cooing over rescue dogs, trawling Rightmove. If I’m at home, there’s the danger I will re-organise all our storage cupboards or wash the dog’s bed. The best way I’ve found to avoid all that is to use all my spare time to do the jobs that would distract me from writing, so that when I sit down to write I’m more likely to stay focused. Also I find if I just start writing, I get so into it that I’d rather do that than anything else. It doesn’t always work though – there are always socks to pair, or a skirting board to paint.
What’s your poison – high heels or flats?
Last time I answered this question I said high heels because I’m short. But I’ve realised there is one pair of shoes I wear more than anything else. They are my dog-walking boots, and they’re amazing – they’re supposed to work in Arctic conditions, and I’m very precious about my feet getting cold. They are not the most stylish of items, but I’ve walked hundreds of miles in them, and they’re probably the best money I’ve ever spent.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Beth Morrey is a TV producer, whose day job was dreaming up ideas for TV programmes, pitching them to channels and mostly getting roundly rejected. For a long time, Beth was Creative Director of Development at RDF Television, where she was involved in numerous productions – she helped create The Secret Life of Four Year Olds series on Channel 4 and devised 100 Year Old Drivers for ITV.
She was previously shortlisted for the Grazia-Orange First Chapter award, and had her work published in the Cambridge and Oxford May Anthologies.
Beth lives in London with her husband, two sons and a dog named Polly. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking curries, and reading the entire internet when she should be going to sleep.
You can find Beth on Twitter at @BethMorrey, Facebook at @BethMorreyWriter and visit her website here.