I read an amazing book called “Songs about a girl” by Chris Russell that i strongly recommend you read and I can’t wait for the sequel. I was very fortunate that Chris is a very friendly author and has answered some questions for me so here it is.
1) Why did you start writing?
I’ve been lucky enough to tour all over the world with my band, The Lightyears, and a few years ago I started writing tour diaries chronicling our various adventures. One day, my lead singer suggested I turned those tour diaries into a novel, and that novel became Mockstars, a rock ’n’ roll comedy very loosely based on The Lightyears. After that, I spent three months ghost-writing for a One Direction fan-site in Australia and developed an obsession with boy bands – an obsession which eventually gave rise to Songs About a Girl …!
2) Have you ever had a problem with writing a book?
Well, the simple answer is – yes, all the time! All writers do. The writing process is massively rewarding, but it’s never easy. Think of it like mountaineering: if you were a mountain-climber who made it to the top of Everest, the next time you tried it, you’d know what you were doing, but that wouldn’t make it “easy”. You’d still encounter problems and challenges along the way. I guess the difference would be that you would know, from experience, that you had it in you to reach the top.
3) Do you have a special space where you write your stories?
I like to vary it. When I’m at home, I write standing up, in my living room (standing up is much better for your health, and it also helps me think), but I often find it helps my productivity to get out of the house and change my environment. Big chunks of Songs About a Girl were written in libraries all over London.
4) Do you get inspired by the public, family or your own imagination for characters and situations in you books?
A bit of all three! Part of being a writer is, quite simply, noticing the world. You might, for example, overhear some tiny interaction when you’re on a bus, make a note of it and, months later, use it in a story. Writers have to be observers. We have to be aware of the world around us, every day.
5) How do you come up with characters’ names?
I trust my gut. On the whole, names come to me quickly, by instinct, and they stick. So with Charlie, for instance, I wanted her to have a unisex name because in some ways she’s quite a tomboy (and also, if I’d been a girl, my parents would have called me Charlotte!). I chose Bloom as her surname partly as a veiled reference to the YA author Judy Blume, and partly because it’s suggestive of growth – of someone coming out of themselves, changing, and blossoming into an adult … which is what happens to Charlie over the course of the trilogy.
6) Do you know anyone like your characters in any of your books?
Ha! 🙂 The general rule is that it’s OK to base your fictional characters on people you know, provided you never reveal them in public! But, yes, you do often find yourself borrowing traits from friends and acquaintances. Olly Samson is partly based on my best mate, George, who is also the lead singer in my band. George is blue-eyed and charming, with an amazing singing voice, and just a thoroughly good person through-and-through … just like Olly.
7) If you could choose between a series of TV shows or a film to adapt your books into, which would it be?
I think Songs About A Girl would work best on TV, because the plot is quite complex and would be better served by, say, three seasons on television than by three movies. Plus, these days, TV tends to be a more innovative medium, which would provide more scope for the potential music tie-ins (think about what they’ve done with the TV show Nashville – running live concert tours and so on).
8) Has it always been your dream to be an author?
In a way, yes – and in another way, no. I was into books and writing before I was into music, but the way my life panned out, I ended up pursuing a career as a musician first, and then circling back (unexpectedly) to writing. In retrospect, I think that was the right way to do it – novels come more naturally once you have things to say, once you’ve lived a bit. So for me, spending all those years on the road with my band gave me something to write about. It gave me life experience. If I’d tried to write a novel before I’d done any of that, I’m not sure I’d’ve had much to say!
9) Do you record ideas for books via pen and paper, voice recorder, memory or your phone ?
Book ideas most commonly come to me in two places – the shower, and in bed, just as I’m dropping off to sleep. Which is great, but can be irritating if I’m need of a full night’s kip! But once the ideas come to me, I tend to note them on my phone, then transfer them to my master ideas document on my laptop.
10) Which of your characters do you think is most like yourself?
What a great question! I’d like to say Yuki, but that might be a bit conceited since he’s turned out to be a lot of people’s favourite character. 🙂 I guess there’s a fair bit of my personality in Melissa, too.
11) Did you write the amazing song lyrics that are in the book? And if so how?
Yes, I did. I’ve been writing songs since I was thirteen years old, so fortunately I had quite a bit of experience to fall back on. It was a challenge, of course – writing songs that I had to weave into a narrative – but from an artistic point-of-view, it was a really fulfilling thing to do. You can check out my early demos of two of the tracks at www.songsaboutagirl.com
. Also, over the next few months, I hope to be releasing a brand-new version of “Dance With You”, featuring four separate male vocalists, just as you’d get in a real-life Fire&Lights!