Today on Meet the Author we’re talking to the lovely Pernille Hughes…..Read on to hear about her new book ‘Probably the Best Kiss in the World’, the Teletubbies, Right Said Fred and what to read so we know how to ‘adult’……
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a mum to four teens, including twins, who writes while the kids are at school to the whirr of laundry appliances. I live in Buckinghamshire, close to where I grew up. I believe that love and laughter go hand in hand, so that’s what I write.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been making up stories since I was little and always wanted a job with words, originally journalism, until my English teacher told me that wasn’t likely, which crushed me and I didn’t write for another ten years. Roll on to having had lots of babies in a short space of time and I felt like my brain was shrinking. So while they slept, I picked my pen up again, first trying children’s stories, then Teen, then YA, before finally finding my voice in RomCom.
How many books have you written and published?
My debut Sweatpants At Tiffanie’s came out last year and this one Probably The Best Kiss in the World is my second. I had a short story written in each of the bestselling Belinda Jones’ Travel Club Sunlounger anthologies too, prior to getting my deal with Harper Impulse.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
That’s a toughie because Sweatpants was my first and so I’m very fond of it. That said, I learnt so much in the editing ofSweatpants that I was able to bring to Probably, that it feels like a step forward to me and so I’m very fond of that too. Maybe ask me later when the reviews are in!
How do you choose the names of your characters?
The MC’s names generally just come to me. I like a name that can be shortened, as that’s how people often speak. It’s probably the antagonists I spend more time on. It often rests again on how they get shortened or how they can be twisted (or who has been a dickhead to me in the past… Bwahahaha!) I think in dialogue when I first draft, so it’s often a name that sounds right coming from the protagonists.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Well, either Mike from Sweatpants or my mysterious rescuer from Probably would be lovely to pass the time with, but actually either Shelby the best friend in Sweatpants or Lydia the sister in Probably would be a hoot to be stuck with. I think laughter can get you through so much.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
I don’t think I have one favourite. There are books and writers I love from various points in my life and across genres. The one book I do return to is a by historical crime writer Lindsey Davis. It’s a stand-alone romance she wrote a long time ago called The Course of Honour and I just adore it, for no other reason than the characters existed and it depicts a love that spans decades and long absences. My husband used to be away for a longer stint every year for work, and I always read it then.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
A story about a character called Pinky Rabbit (white, pink ears, brown shorts). The Rights are still available…
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
School kitchen assistant (Y11), School cleaner (Sixth form), Kids Drama coach, University Security steward (met my husband doing this), Counting cinema stubs at Odeon HQ, Advertising (I was a Suit, but should have really been on the creative side playing with The Words), Marketing Natural History films, PA to the co-creator of Teletubbies (I lived in Teletubbyland for a summer) and finally selling Children’s TV shows internationally, before spawning more babies than made having a paying job viable.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
Oooh easy, 1992, for its fashion and music. You can’t beat a bit of Right Said Fred and shoulder padding, or Kriss Kross wearing their clothes backwards. No really, I would go back to meeting my husband and the first few months of being together, in 1992. My memory isn’t what it used to be after the fog of all the babies, so I’d like to revisit it. (Ahmagerd, how sappy is that?! 19-year-old-me would be embarrassed for me.)
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I think it would be Marian Keyes, firstly because her voice is just lovely –I could listen to it all day – and secondly I’d ask her her top tips for staying in the business.
What are your favourite things to do?
Sleep. Reading. Sitting in a sunspot. Eating cake and chocolate. Curling up on sofa with my family. Having bare feet when it’s warm. Skiing. Travel (but not the actually travelling bit, more the being at the destination. A teleporter would be good…)
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
During my Uni years I had a summer job at Odeon HQ (the counting cinema stubs tedium) in London and had been there just a week. I was racing to catch the train out of London and sprinted to sit in my train, which was the same train in the same place as the other days. As I sat panting (I was an unfit knacker even then) the guy opposite me says “This isn’t your train.” I’d never laid eyes on him before, but he seemed so adamant that I didn’t even stop to ask where it was headed. I got off, the doors closed and the train rolled out, leaving me slightly bewildered on the platform. Sure enough, my train had been moved. I would have ended up in Birmingham. I’m still spooked as to how he knew.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Don’t listen to the Naysayers! Only you decide what you are capable of.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
I’m going to cheat a little here;
All primary school children should, by law, read Wonderby RJ Watson, to promote kindness from an early age.
All 14-18 year old girls should read He’s just not that into you by Greg Behrendt & Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt. It will save a lot of tears and wasted emotion, plus set better expectations from partners. We shouldn’t put up with crap behaviour, but spotting it and having the confidence to walk away from it isn’t always a natural skill.
And all women should be given Dolly Alderton’s Everything I know about Love when they turn 18, as it is a gorgeous honest look at learning to adult and the value of friendships.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
Probably the Best Kiss in the World is the story of Jen, who seeks to stay in control of her and her sister’s life, micro-managing everything to curb life’s surprises. On a trip to Copenhagen, Jen falls in a canal and is rescued by a gorgeous Scandi-man, who knocks her socks off, causing her to question her choices and plans for her future.
www.pernillehughes.com (Come have a look! Sign up for my newsletter :))
Thanks so much to Pernille for taking part! Absolutely loved this interview which made me chuckle, and the train incident freaked me out too! I’m reviewing Probably the Best Kiss in the World on 14th May so come back and check out my review!
Any comments/questions for Pernille, then give us a shout below!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!