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Fiction-Net > Author Interviews > Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees Interview (2)

Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees Interview (2)

With their third co-written book, The Boy Next Door, hitting bookshops all over the UK and receiving plenty of praise, we met up again with authors Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees to gain an insight into what makes the couple work well as a team.

Emlyn Rees Author InterviewJosie Lloyd Author Interview

Fiction-Net: Have you found that since becoming parents, you've found less time to write?

Josie and Emlyn: When we first started writing together, it was great not only to have the sudden luxury of being able to work from home but also to be able to do that work whenever we felt the urge. All we had to do was take the phone off the hook and the necessary peace and quiet was ours. Some days we'd work eighteen hours and some days, usually the sunny ones, we wouldn't even get as far as switching our computers on.

However, now that our daughter, Tallulah, has landed - and is becoming more vocal and mobile by the day - we've both been thrown into the weird situation of occasionally craving an office to head off to just to get some work done. But we don't, so instead, our writing habits have altered radically, becoming baby-centric to an alarming degree. When Tallulah sleeps, in other words, we work - ie. maybe not as often as we should! We still get the hours in, then, but just not when we might have chosen them before.

Fiction-Net: In your new book, The Boy Next Door, it's really difficult for the reader to know if Fred and Mickey will get it together. Was this a key aim for you?

Josie and Emlyn: When we started writing The Boy Next Door, our intention was to write a wistful romantic comedy set against a backdrop of Seventies, Eighties and Nineties pop culture. The idea was to have these two kids growing up next door to one another in a tiny village and then heading out into the big wide world. We wanted it to be obvious that they were meant for one another, if only they could see it themselves - kind of an extended When Harry Met Sally.

However, when we started writing it, we realised that if the two main characters didn't get it together for thirty years, it would get very boring. Where were the stakes? Why couldn't they see what everyone else could? Were they really suited at all? We therefore scrapped what we were doing and had a re-think, hitting on the idea telling two love stories about Mickey and Fred, one from their teens and one from their twenties, one with a happy ending and one without.

The aim was for both the back story and the present day story to have equal impact and tension, keeping everyone guessing until the end.

The Boy Next Door by Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees - Book Review

Fiction-Net: Will your next project be co-written or are you sick of each other yet?

Josie and Emlyn: We're certainly not sick of each other and we're still delighted to have the opportunity of working together. We'll be starting to write a new book later this year. We both want to make sure we're stretched and stimulated by what we write, so we're always thinking up new ideas and ways of working.

Fiction-Net: How well do you respond if one of you criticises the other's writing?

Josie and Emlyn: Working in a partnership makes you much less precious about your own work. At the end of the day, we have both our names on the book and we've both got to be proud of it. It's a joint effort but that doesn't mean it has to be a compromise. On the contrary, working together means that we try and show off to each other.

We have a rule that we have to make our writing as polished as possible before we show it to the other person. Generally, we try to be as constructive as possible when it comes to criticism. Most problems only occur when there's been a lack of planning.

Fiction-Net: Do you plan out the full plot in advance before putting pen to paper/fingers to keyboard, or do you find the story changes as you write?

Josie and Emlyn: The more we write together, the clearer it becomes that good planning is essential. We threw out 50,000 words (one hundred and fifty manuscript pages - aargh!) of The Boy Next Door half way through writing, when we realised that we could write a much better story. Taking those kinds of decisions is very painful and it's best to avoid them at all costs.

Every writer has a different process but for us, from now on, the plan is to work up a water-tight plot before we start.

Fiction-Net: What was the last book you read?

Josie: C is for Cancer, by John Diamond.

Emlyn: Sheepshagger by Niall Griffiths and The Seinfeld Scripts.

Fiction-Net: Finally, now that you've got a few successful novels under your belts, did you still get an excited buzz when The Boy Next Door hit the shelves in bookshops?

Josie and Emlyn: Our friends and family seem to have accepted that writing novels is our job, so for them there wasn't as much excitement as there has been in the past. For us, though, having a book published and seeing it out there in the shops is still a huge buzz - terrifying and exciting at the same time. It's out there, ready to sink or swim and there's not a thing you can do about it, except hope that people like it.

In the meantime, the very fact that it is now in the shops means - guess what? - it's time to switch off that TV and Playstation and get on with writing the next one - and that's what we're heading off to do. Right now. Honest, guv.

Want to read more from Josie and Emlyn? See our First Interview with the couple. You can also visit the Emlyn Rees Website.

Read more about Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees at Fiction-Net.

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