The Regulars is already being hailed as “a Dorian Gray for the Girls generation”. I haven’t read it yet, but since Dorian Gray is one of my favourite books, I jumped at the chance to catch up with author Georgia Clark and ask her a few questions.
The story centres around three best friends in their twenties: Evie, Krista and Willow. They’re having typical quarter-life crises springing from troubles at work and the confusion of dating. But then they find Pretty, a magic potion that makes them look like supermodels for a week. Of course they try it – why wouldn’t they? – but soon they find that there’s a dark side to getting exactly what you want.
What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?
Tell us a bit about yourself, Georgia. Who are you? What do you enjoy?
I’m an Aussie lady living large in NYC. Lover and a fighter and a professional writer, who enjoys an accidental rhyme all the damn time. (Sorry, I’m in launch week delirium right now.) I enjoy boozy beach hangs, assembling cheese plates, buying clothes on sale, creating fictional worlds, hugs, and iced cinnamon rolls.
If someone were to read one thing, watch one thing and listen to one thing that would help them understand you fully, what would those things be?
Watch: “Bad Girls”, the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Faith and B get naughty, yo!
Listen: Either Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” or an episode of the podcast Throwing Shade.
Read: The back of a packet of jalapeno cheese puffs.
Tell us about the process of writing The Regulars. Where did the inspiration come from, and how did you go about writing the novel?
I’d been thinking loosely about something to do with beauty. One night, I was home alone working on edits for my last YA novel Parched, and the idea of a purple potion that turns you beautiful popped into my head. Hm, I thought, That’s interesting. I muted The West Wing (sometimes I edit with a familiar well-loved TV show running in the background), and gave the idea my full attention.
A scene started playing in my head: three or four girls (wasn’t sure how old), at someone’s home. A potion introduced, mockery made, grounding the scene: this is the real world, one where “magic potions” don’t exist. Unexpected transformation: gross and visceral, not a Disney one. Unexpected results, it works… and someone comes home, forcing the girls to lie to an authority figure as they grapple with the impossible magic change… and the inherent possibilities. The scene ended, and I knew immediately it was a strong enough concept to become a novel. It was the easiest and the clearest inspiration I’ve experienced. I relayed the idea to my Mum and my agent, and they both said, go for it.
It took about two years to write, working nights and weekends. I worked with a freelance editor, Sarah Cypher of the Three Penny Editor: my secret weapon. I also worked off a more extensive outline than I’d done the first two times and that really helped too.
The Regulars is already being hailed as a fantastic feminist oeuvre – is this something you set out to achieve, and if so, what made it so important to you?
Certainly it was the goal! I’m super passionate about creating, celebrating and consuming feminist pop culture. I love to laugh, but always with them ladies, not at them/us. Some dodos get that the wrong way round. I’m here to offer a sweet alternative.
What is the one sentence someone could say about The Regulars that would make you the happiest author in the world?
That it made them feel better about their relationship to themselves. Oh, and they laughed so hard they peed their pants a little bit.
Be honest 😉 if you had the chance to try Pretty, would you? Why / why not?
Oh for sure! I’m too curious not to try something MAGIC. But only once. Or twice. It’d be too much of a mindf**k.
What’s your favourite book that you’ve read so far in 2016?
The Girls. Emma Cline’s buzz book of the summer merits all the praise. Her literary gifts are astounding. Her prose is elegant, lean and surprising. I loved her rendering of the teen girl experience. Such a wise storyteller makes everyone else seem like cliché-ridden buffoons. I had the odd experience of having my life reflected back to me by a person I didn’t know. Incredible.
Do you have any advice for people who want to (a) write and (b) publish a book?
1. Write an outline. I work from a detailed outline that my agent and editor have provided notes on before I even think about starting Chapter 1. It saves time and lets me solve any structural problems before I write them into existence.
2. Read your genre. It’s non-negotiable: you can’t publish in a genre you’re not well-versed in. I listen to audiobooks on my commute to keep up with new releases.
3. Learn how to be a good manager. As an author (or as any creative), you’re both the manager and the talent. As well as devoting time to your craft, make sure you’re also being a great manager of you. A great manager doesn’t scream at you for a dud day’s work, likewise, they don’t let you watch TV all weekend when you’ve committed to writing. Maybe it’s setting guidelines for hours in the chair, or word limits, or deadlines: whatever you know you will respond to. Personally, I set slightly ambitious deadlines because the stickler workhorse in me will always meet them.
4. Don’t go out early. Don’t look for an agent or editor until you ms (manuscript) is ROCK SOLID WATER TIGHT UNPUTDOWNABLE. It’s the number one mistake. Be patient. Do the work. Go out strong.
Do you have a specific soundtrack that helps you write, or any other conditions you find particularly conducive to writing?
Where can people keep up to date with your news?
– Sign up to my mailing list from my website georgiaclark.com
– Like my author page on Facebook
The Regulars came out in hardback on the 11th August 2016, priced £12.99
Next stop on the blog tour: The Whispering of the Pages tomorrow!