Meet the Neighbors brings you Serena Clarke – world traveler, author, and believer in the magic of second chances. Now this is someone I’d love to have a large coffee with. And maybe a sweet. Thanks for being part of A Fairy Tale Life today Serena!
Hi Lynn – thanks for having me to visit!
All Over the Place is a fun story set between London, New Zealand, and Paris, with an interwoven plot, snappy dialogue and a chick lit vibe. Livi strikes out into the world after a reality TV disaster, but finds that her old life won’t quite let her go! It’s about finding the place you’re meant to be – and the person you’re meant to be with.
Best laid plans and all. I love that theme. What do you think makes a good story?
For me, a good story is one that carries me along effortlessly, with a sense of fun – but makes me think at the same time. That’s what I was aiming for with All Over the Place – to keep the reader swinging along, but also give them those “oh yes!” moments, when they recognise something that’s so true for them too. Oh, and a good story ALWAYS has a happy ending.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Everywhere! All over the place. Sometimes I’ll overhear something, or see something in the newspaper, and it makes me snap to attention. It might not be anything remarkable, but it just has a kind of resonance. When that happens I don’t question it – I just grab it!
You like to find bright and shiny’s too! What did you learn from writing your first book?,
Amongst other things, I learned about Paris and London, voluntary simplicity, boutique British beer, how a hair salon works, Pooh Bear, and the Italian painter Pietro da Cortona. I learned how determined you can be when something is really important to you. And I learned just how patient and supportive my lovely husband can be!
Voluntary Simplicity and Pooh Bear? That’s a combo. What is the craziest thing you did as a kid, and would it ever end up in a book?
I wasn’t really a crazy kind of kid. My mother says I was quiet – but I did unexpectedly brave things. I like that idea – that the most unassuming people can surprise you with what they’re capable of! Does 16 count as a kid? That’s when I left home in New Zealand for the first time, and went to live in Sweden. I’d be horrified if my kids wanted to do the same! But that’s a long way off, thankfully…
I think 16 totally counts. What are some jobs you’ve done that would end up in a book?
I’ve done an embarrassingly large number of jobs – my resume is a disaster! On the other hand, it’s all good material, right? I was a riding instructor for a while, and I still love the horsey world. Teaching English as a second language introduced me to lots of wonderful characters. And working in a law firm in London was a whole new world. There are lots of possibilities!
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
That they should never turn down an adventure! A reminder that even after a disaster, we have the power to go out and make things happen. A sense of the extraordinary in the ordinary. And renewed belief in the joy of friends, family and true love – despite the trials they sometimes put us through!
What a great answer. Never turn down an adventure.
Thanks so much for having me Lynn – it’s a treat to be here!
About All Over the Place – contemporary romantic fiction with a chick lit feel
Livi Callaway has fled back to London after a reality TV disaster in New Zealand. Safely anonymous in the big city, she’s determined to stay under the radar from now on. But her attempts to build a new life are complicated by unexpected visitors from her old one, and new dangers and temptations lie in wait.
Late one night, she meets a mysteriously sexy American on the Underground – and the events that follow take her from Pooh Bear to the golden lights of Paris, via a trail of rock stars dead and alive. A family in disarray, a determined Swede, a crazed Australian and a childhood friend (who might yet be more than that) have her all over the place as she tries to discover the American’s secret – while keeping her own.
With help – and occasional hindrance – from her friends, what she eventually finds is something unexpected…sometimes, running away can lead you to exactly what you didn’t know you needed.
All Over the Place is available from all major e-book retailers, including:
Serena grew up in a family of itchy-footed readers and dreamers – not concentrating, reading the atlas and Narnia books, and planning to escape somewhere magical as soon as she could. When she was 16, she went from New Zealand to live in Sweden for a year. It was the beginning of many travels and adventures – and quite a few disasters! She didn’t know it at the time, but eventually she’d be grateful for all the downs as well as the ups. As writers say in the face of adversity: “I can use that.” She’s now living back in New Zealand, where she writes stories reflecting her determined belief in magic, possibility and second chances – and happy endings!
Find Serena here – she’d love to hear from you!