Today I am on the It Was You blog tour and I have Jo Platt on the blog with a great guest post for you all!
First though, here’s some info on the book!
About the Book
Alice, Miriam and Lydia had been inseparable since they first met at Bristol University. They knew they would be friends until they were old and grey but as life’s events take hold it gets harder and harder to keep in touch. When Miriam has a baby she persuades everyone to set up The Short Book Group so they maintain contact. But then Lydia becomes ill and suddenly Alice and Miriam are forced to face a very different future.
Fast-forward three years and Alice has been happily single for some time after having her heart broken by a lying ex-boyfriend. But when her best friends in The Short Book Group offer their match-making skills, she decides to take the plunge and start dating again. From a handsome pathologist with a penchant for battle re-enactment to a suave businessman with a beautiful car, Alice is inundated with prospective suitors. But things soon unravel as she uncovers the secret heartache, calculating lies and hidden hopes of those closest to her. And her most surprising discovery is the life-changing truth which she has kept hidden even from herself…
Can Alice face up to her own shocking secret – even if it means hurting those closest to her?
Do you ever sit back, take stock and think, ‘How on earth did I end up here? Doing this?’ I do. In fact, I think it about once a day. It’s not that I don’t enjoy where I am and what I do – I absolutely love it. It just all feels slightly surreal.
My journey began in 2012, when a Bristol friend suggested that I write a book. What she actually said was, ‘Why don’t you write something longer? I’d definitely read it.’ Up until that moment, my writing had been confined to local newspaper articles, short pieces to entertain family and friends and a couple of sketches and plays I’d penned for my daughters’ school assemblies. I’d had an idea for a longer story (inspired by my friend growing a moustache for charity and my sister telling me a rather distressing tale about her neighbour and a Flymo), but sitting down to write it felt a bit too, well, self-indulgent. Nevertheless, my friend telling me to write ‘something longer’ proved to be the perfectly-timed push I needed and so, unbeknownst to her, or to anyone else, save my husband and my children, I went home that day and started to write. A year later, after much furtive typing, my first novel, Reading Upside Down, a romcom about a jilted woman, her beardy neighbour and a rather unfortunate incident with a lawnmower, was complete.
On reflection, I realise that revealing to my friends and wider family that I’d written Reading Upside Down, and then letting them read it, was actually the biggest hurdle I have had to overcome throughout the entire literary process. Because not only did I still view my writing as a self-indulgence, I also had no clue whether what I had written would entertain anyone other than myself. But I took the plunge, sharing it with friends and with my mother-in-law. As it turned out, the reaction of the latter, in particular, was so aggressively enthusiastic, that the idea of self-publishing the novel (which had been lurking at the back of my mind for some time), suddenly seemed a lot less scary than doing nothing and facing her wrath. So with the help of a local friend who created a cover, and then gave me some shouty advice about getting some sort of marketing act together, I self-published Reading Upside Down in February 2013.
From there, things moved rather rapidly. The book received some positive reviews online and, most significantly, in a small local magazine. This lead to a radio interview, following which my interviewer, Steve Yabsley of BBC Radio Bristol, encouraged me to send the book to an agent. I did so the next day, and by the end of that week was already getting to know my lovely agent, Camilla Wray of Darley Anderson. Within four months, Camilla and the Darley team had found publishing homes for Reading Upside Down in six countries. It was a whirlwind ride, which left me breathless, and which has continued to do so ever since.
Without a doubt, one of the best consequences of being signed by Darley Anderson was the transformation of my mindset. Writing was no longer a guilty pleasure, but simply a pleasure. Of course, with my agent and editors on board to ask questions and offer support, the experience of creating my second novel was very different to the first. But It Was You, a romcom about the feelings we keep hidden, and the unexpected consequences of falling for a friend, was every bit as fun to write as Reading Upside Down. And, fingers crossed, will be every bit as fun to read.
With hindsight then, it’s clear that my entire journey, from ‘write something longer’ to the publication of It Was You in Europe and now in the UK, would not have been possible without the support, encouragement and kindness of others. Left to my own devices, and to my own insecurities, Reading Upside Down would probably still be languishing in my underwear drawer, and It Was You may not have ever been written at all. So, as I sit here with my cup of tea, tapping away at my laptop and wondering how on earth I got here, I am certain of one thing: it wasn’t on my own.
It Was You was published by Canelo on 31st October price £1.99 as an ebook. Visit canelo.co or follow #ItWasYou on Twitter.
About the Author
Jo Platt was born in Liverpool and has lived in Wiltshire, London, Seattle and St Albans, before settling in Bristol with her husband and two children. She studied English at King’s College London and worked in the City for 10 years before becoming a pre-school teacher in the US and then a mother and secretary. Her debut novel Reading Upside Down was self-published in 2013, selling over 15,000 copies and has since sold to publishers internationally.