His Royal Hopeless hit shelves earlier this month and it is already a hit! Robbie is too nice to take over the evil empire ruled by his mother! This debut middle grade novel is fantastically funny and full of fairy tale charm! I was so pleased that Chloe Perrin was able to take the time to answer my questions!
How long have you been hoping to become a published author?
When I was little I wanted to be a scientist (I’ve never been able to do science), then a chef (I can cook any instant noodle flavour you want) and at one point of toddlerdom I wanted to be an armadillo. However, I always assumed in my head that I would do all these things while writing- being an author was always my default. I’m very, very lucky that spark continued into adulthood, forcing me to actually put work into making it happen!
What have been the greatest challenges in getting published?
At the start it was just finding time to write. Back in North Wales I was working while studying to get into university, so the only time I could sit back and write tended to be in the middle of the night through a sleepy haze. Randomly, my degree made it easier for me to spend time on my book, as my lecturers gave me lots of lovely leeway when my course deadlines collided with my editing ones (I mean, it was a creative writing degree, after all).
What is the most surprising thing you have learned about publishing?
That other people could love my characters. At first it was jarring hearing people talk about the things that, up to then, had lived exclusively in my head. I also had this weird idea that no one could possibly understand my characters the way I did. I was a bit overprotective! But then my incredible editor Kesia Lupo would make suggestions for His Royal Hopeless along the lines of “this seems more like what Robbie would do” or “Robbie would probably react in this way” and I’d suddenly stop and realise “oh yeah, that’s exactly right, he would”. Sometimes she knew him better than me!
In hindsight, is there anything you wish you had known?
How tech savvy you have to be to promote yourself online. And you really only have to be slightly tech savvy – which is an indication of how un-savvy I am! I can just about write a tweet without breaking something. If I could go back I would learn how to do all the tiny things that make that little bit of difference, like embedding links, changing picture formats, all the inconsequential stuff that has me pulling my hair out now!
Do you have other stories waiting to be written or published?
I have one draft waiting in the wings, but I’m also enjoying just letting myself sit and wait for new ideas to come. There are a few things percolating in my brain, hopefully they’ll start to take shape soon!
What do you think makes a good story?
I think a good story is one that sticks with you in ways you weren’t expecting. Like when you come away from it missing the characters like you would a friend, or having lines from the story pop into your head when you’re sitting on the bus. A good story is one where you’re unable to stop yourself
saying to your friends: “I know we were talking about something else but I just finished this book and…”
What is your most interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if this counts as a quirk, but for me my ideas always start with snippets of dialogue. Oftentimes I’ll have full scenes of dialogue in my head before I’m able to structure a story around it. The best thing is when I get a story idea I want to run with and I suddenly realise “wait, wait – that dialogue can fit in this!!”
Can you describe your writing space?
Right now my writing space is a cheap desk that was small enough to fit in my room. You can’t cross one leg over the other, it’s so small (and that’s saying something, I’m hobbit sized). It also wobbles because I put it together myself. Sometimes I get a little seasick when I type, which is why I keep a bin by my feet, but it works! I love my wobbly little nearly-desk.
How long do you spend writing on a daily basis?
That varies wildly day to day. Depending on work shifts and uni deadlines, I can get about half an hour a night before my brain starts to melt out of my ears. Most of the time, if I’m having a busy week work-wise, I’ll do no writing until a free day where I’ll absolutely blitz through a draft. It’s all a bit erratic, but a book got written that way so fingers crossed it keeps working for me!
What tips would you give to other aspiring authors?
Be wary of comparing yourself to other writers. Something I’ve often caught myself doing is making my own imaginary timeline based on what other authors have done: “well they were in this chart by this time and therefore if I don’t do the exact same thing I have unequivocally failed at writing” etc. The only author you’ll ever be is you, things will work out how they work out!
HIS ROYAL HOPELESS by Chloe Perrin is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)