The Sunday Seven.
Keris Stainton.

Keris is an old friend of the blog. Here she is in 2006 asking me about what I thought of Keira Knightley in 2006 and to write a strongly worded letter to Steve Coogan in 2008. She also introduced me to Gilmore Girls for which I'll be eternally grateful.  In the meantime, she's become a successful author, her first novel, Della Says: OMG! was published by Orchard Books in 2010 with her second, Jessie ♥ NYC out in 2011. Her new novel is Emma ♥ LA.

How did you become a writer?

I always wrote - as a teenager I filled notebooks with the story of my romance with George Michael (and sometimes Andrew Ridgeley, I wasn't fussy) - but for some reason it didn't occur to me to try writing a novel until I was in my late twenties. And then it took me another nine years to finish one.

What was your inspiration for Emma ♥ LA?

The Venice Beach canals! I read about them in a non-fiction book and thought they must have been drained or concreted over or something, since I'd never heard of them before. When I googled them, I was completely blown away - they're so beautiful and so unlike the image of LA I had in my head. I'd been wondering about an LA story anyway - since I'd written about New York - and discovering the canals clinched it.

What was the trickiest element to achieve?

Emma moves to LA with her mother after her parents' separation. I wanted Emma to have pulled away from her father and be struggling to forgive him, but I found it really difficult to write. I kept thinking I was leaving it open for the reader to interpret when what I was actually doing was chickening out of delving into it all. Thanks to my editor, I think I got it right in the end (I hope I did).

Of everything you've done what have you been most pleased with?

I think I was most pleased with the first draft of Emma Hearts LA, but then my editor absolutely ripped it to shreds. And I'm not sure about pleased, but I'm probably most proud of my horror appearance on The Vanessa Show. It was dreadful, but it taught me a lot and ended up being a really positive experience.

How do you choose the names for the main characters in your books?

Naming characters is a strange thing. I just have to keep trying different names until one clicks and I find that until I get the right name, the character won't quite work. I think Oscar - the main character in Emma Hearts LA - would be a very different person if he'd kept his original name (Adam).

Who’s your favourite writer?

Nora Ephron. When Harry Met Sally is my favourite film and Ephron has long been one of my idols. I still can't believe she's gone.

What stops you from feeling listless?

I don't usually feel listless - you're more likely to find me feeling restless - but if I ever do, Twitter usually sorts me out. Failing that, a big glass of wine and some old episodes of Friends will do the trick.

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