Tilly Bagshawe is the internationally bestselling author of three previous novels. A teenage single mother at 17, Tilly won a place at Cambridge University and took her baby daughter with her.
She went on to enjoy a successful career in The City before becoming a writer. As a journalist, Tilly contributed regularly to the Sunday Times,
Daily Mail and Evening Standard before following in the footsteps of her sister Louise and turning her hand to novels.
Tilly's first book, Adored, was a smash hit on both sides of the Atlantic and she hasn't looked back since. She is married to Robin Needs,
an American businessman and former investment banker, and the couple have two young sons as well as Tilly's daughter Safi, who is now 18.
The family divide their time between their homes in Kensington and Los Angeles and their beach house on Nantucket Island.
Author Interview: Tilly Bagshawe
We have a great exclusive for you today... an interview with the lovely Tilly Bagshawe! I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to put some questions to Tilly after reading her latest book Scandalous which I reviewed yesterday.
I've been a big fan of Tilly's books for a few years now, so it was a really exciting chance for me to get to ask her some questions I had been thinking about for a while, so here it is! My huge thanks go to Tilly for taking the time to answer my questions. Enjoy!
Can you tell us about your latest book, Scandalous?
Scandalous is a tale of love, passion, betrayal and ultimate revenge. It begins in Cambridge, and the action sweeps from there to new York, Los Angeles and Tokyo as our heroine plots the downfall of the man who has tried to destroy her.
There's quite a bit of scandal(!) happening at Cambridge University in the beginning of this book, did you know of anything like this going on while you were there or is it complete fiction?!
The scandal itself is complete fiction...but there is plenty of backstabbing, rivalry and of course sex going on in all universities, and Cambridge was no exception. I loved Cambridge though, so I wouldn’t want to slander it too badly!
Sasha is a woman hell-bent on revenge, and is a really ruthless female character. Theo is a pretty nasty piece of work too, not caring who he tramples on on his way to the top. Do you base these characters on anyone, and do you ever see bits of yourself in any characters you write?
Sasha becomes ruthless, but she did not start out that way. Her life experiences harden her, and I think that happens to many people as they grow older. Theo is based on every egotistical male out there, so no shortage of inspiration! My characters do not tend to be autobiographical, although there are elements of Sasha’s life that mirror mine, like her growing up in Sussex, going to Cambridge and ultimately to America to make her fortune. She’s tougher than me though.
You worked in the City before you became a writer? How did you go from a high-pressured job like that to becoming an author?
I had already quit my city job and started writing some journalism for about a year before I turned my hand to novel writing. My family were very supportive and instrumental in the decision to make such a big career and life change, especially my sister.
Your sister, Louise Bagshaw, is also a best-selling author. Do you mind being compared to your sister which I guess is somewhat inevitable, and how do you feel you and she differ with your writing?
I don’t mind being compared to her at all. Louise is a wonderful writer, and a pretty great sister too. People don’t believe that there is no rivalry between us, but there truly isn’t, we have both always been very supportive of one another and come from an extremely close family.
I would say that my books are probably more sexually explicit than Louise’s – don’t know if she would agree with that though. Ultimately we are both trying to write fun, escapist fiction with strong, feisty heroines, because that is what we both love to read ourselves.
Your stories are real blockbusters - very glamorous, lots of great characters and very enjoyable. Where do you get the inspiration for these stories? Do you write the sort of stories you yourself like to read?
Inspiration is all around, but living between LA and London helps – two very glamorous, larger than life cities. But they are stories, they are not reality and so ultimately it all comes down to your imagination. I do like to read this type of fiction, yes, but I read other things too. I also like history books and comedy, especially David Sedaris’s short stories. And Bill Bryson is a genius.
How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a set schedule for writing that you have to stick to?
It takes me a year, on average. And yes, I have a set word count every day that I try to stick to. Then, once I have a finished first draft, I go back and re-write/edit as needed.
Have you started writing your next book and can you tell us anything about it?
Yes I have, I am always writing something! I don’t want to give too much away, but this is a movie book, based around a film set, with the action moving between England and Hollywood. There’s a deathly rivalry between two directors, a lot of dastardly villains, and naturally a good amount of romping, lust and heartbreak...with a major twist in the tail.
I have noticed you have also written some sequels to Sidney Sheldon's books, how did this come about?
I was approached to do it by Sidney’s agent and friend, Mort Janko, as well as by Sidney’s family. Mort’s son Luke is my literary agent in new York and he very kindly threw my hat into the ring to continue the Sheldon legacy. It has been so much fun.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren't writing fantastic chick lit books?
Erm...a lot of school runs? I have three children, ranging in age from two to eighteen, so they keep me on my toes. And moving house. My husband is addicted to moving house.
At this rate I may well be writing my next book in a tent. Seriously though, I am a very family oriented person, so I enjoy hanging out with my kids, being in the countryside, walking my dogs etc... Not very rock and roll I’m afraid!
Finally, do you have any advice for someone aspiring to be an author?
Stop thinking, and start writing. If you have an idea, begin it, and see it through. In my opinion a finished book with faults/that needs work is a lot more impressive an achievement than half a good book. And don’t write for a specific audience. Write for yourself, the story you want to read. Everything else should flow from there.
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