Beth O'Leary on Aussie novels, easy dinners and road trips
Beth O'Leary launched onto the romance scene to great success, with her first novel The Flatshare selling half a million copies in the UK alone. I adored The Flatshare, was equally hooked on her second novel The Switch and was very excited to dive into her 2021 release The Road Trip.
Most of the action takes place with five people squeezed into a Mini Cooper on the way to a friend's wedding. There's an awkward tension between ex-lovers, Dylan and Addie, a simmering mutual dislike between the caddish Marcus and Addie's protective sister Deb and plenty of mad-cap moments as they travel to Scotland. I felt like I was crammed into the car with them as we learned about Dylan and Addie's chance meeting in France, their red-hot love affair and the spectacular implosion that split them apart.
As with Beth's last two novels, I really enjoyed the sparkling British humour, the supporting characters and the hilarious scenes that reminded Dylan and Addie just how good they were together. It's warm and cosy with a hint of more serious issues, and I couldn't help but keep reading to find out exactly what went wrong between them, and whether they'd find their happily ever after.
Besides the fabulous Words & Nerds Podcast in Australia, can you recommend a podcast for book lovers and writers?
I love The Honest Authors’ podcast, run by two fabulous writers, giving the inside scoop on what being an author is really like. It’s brilliant for anyone who’s curious about what goes on behind the scenes, anyone who wants to become an author, and anyone who is an author and doesn’t know if they’re doing it right (ahem, me, much of the time).
Do you have a good luck charm or a special token that sits on your desk/in your office?
I have a super clear desk – literally nothing on it except a lamp, the laptop and a cup of tea! I find it soothing having it completely uncluttered. I guess my good luck charm is the dog sitting under the desk, maybe…
Favourite exercise to counteract all the hours sitting at the keyboard?
Long walks with the dog, yoga, or – if I’m frustrated and stuck – a session on the exercise bike with music blaring.
What’s your go-to weekday dinner dish?
A simple roast veg pasta is my go-to if I’m working to a deadline – it’s perfect because you can chuck all the veg in a roasting tin and then get another forty-five minutes of writing done.
Which career would you choose if money wasn’t a factor and writing wasn’t an option?
I’d be a therapist – I think it shares quite a bit with being an author, really. I suspect therapists are all fascinated by people and what makes them tick, which is definitely true of all the writers I know!
Petrichor. The smell of it’s-just-rained.
Chocolate, potato chips or cheese?
Why can I not have all these things?!
…cheese. I’m going to go with cheese. But I’m pretty sad to say goodbye to chocolate and potato chips.
Have you done anything special with any of your advances?
The first thing I did with my advance was buy a MacBook Air, because it felt SO fancy and writerly to have one! It is quite battered now but I still love writing on it – it reminds me of those giddy early days when The Flatshare had just found a publisher.
Spot where you seem to get the best bursts of writing inspiration?
In the bath, out walking the dog, or sitting in the passenger seat of a car (a great excuse not to do the driving).
Aussie novel you’re most looking forward to in 2021?
I really loved Jaclyn Moriarty’s adult debut, Gravity is the Thing, and I’m holding out hope that there’s a new one coming from her soon (does anyone know?!)
Best one-line sentence from one of your book reviews?
Someone once described my books as ‘plausibly implausible’ which I love – I think it perfectly captures what I like to do, which is to take a neat, unlikely idea (two strangers sharing a bed, a grandmother and a granddaughter swapping lives, two exes crashing into each other on the road) and make it feel completely believable.
Share a quirky habit or something readers might be surprised to discover about you.
I’m a compulsive baker. Any excuse and I’ll make a cake.
Where can people find you online?
I’m on Instagram and Facebook @betholearyauthor, and my website is www.betholearyauthor.com.
Why do you write?
I can’t not, really. If I go too long without writing, I get sad and itchy. It’s just part of who I am, I think!
The Road Trip
Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend's wedding in rural Scotland. The playlist is all planned and the snacks are packed.
But, not long after setting off, a car slams into the back of theirs. The driver is none other than Addie's ex, Dylan, who she's avoided since their traumatic break-up two years earlier.
Dylan and his best mate are heading to the wedding too, and they've totalled their car, so Addie has no choice but to offer them a ride. The car is soon jam-packed full of luggage and secrets, and with four hundred miles ahead of them, Dylan and Addie can't avoid confronting the very messy history of their relationship...
Will they make it to the wedding on time? And, more importantly... is this really the end of the road for Addie and Dylan?
About the author
Beth O'Leary is a Sunday Times bestselling author whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages. Her debut, The Flatshare, sold over half a million copies and changed her life completely. Her second novel, The Switch, has been optioned for film by Amblin Partners, Steven Spielberg's production company. Beth writes her books in the Hampshire countryside with a very badly behaved Golden Retriever for company. If she's not at her desk, you'll usually find her curled up somewhere with a book, a cup of tea and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).
BUY THE NOVEL HERE
This interview has been a collaboration between Maya Linnell and the Word & Nerds podcast. Catch more episodes, interviews and guest take-overs on the podcast HERE or check out the Words and Nerds BLOG. Thanks to Hachette for the review copy of this novel.
WIN! WIN! WIN!
For your chance to win a copy of Beth's new novel The Road Trip, simply read the interview and answer the questions on the WIN page. Entries open June 5. The winner will be drawn Sunday, June 13 at 5 pm. Newsletter subscribers and Aussie addresses only, please. Thanks to Hachette for the review and giveaway copies.