Thursday, 15 November 2012

Interview with Talli Roland

Morning everyone. Well it's dry here. That's about all that can be said, BUT if you didn't see my little message on FB yesterday, today is the day! I will start writing my third novel today - never one to let the grass grow under my feet. So very exciting!

But, before I get onto that, the wonderful Talli Roland has kindly agreed to be put through the mill by me about her writing...

Build  A Man was the first of your books which I have read. Should I move straight on to Construct a Couple and if not, which one should read next?  Why?
Thank you so much for reading! I’d go straight on to Construct A Couple, because it follows Serenity and Jeremy’s story and the development of their relationship.
How many years have you been writing and published for and do you write in any other genre/intend to at any point?
I’ve been writing seriously for about five years now, but like many authors, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I was first published in non-fiction, writing travel guides on London and Paris, but my real love was fiction. After writing four ‘practice’ novels, I was fortunate enough to have The Hating Game published two years ago. 

Tell us a little about your other books - you have quite a few now!
I do! It’s been a busy couple of years. Watching Willow Watts was my second novel, followed by Build A Man, Construct A Couple, and The Pollyanna Plan (to be released this month). I’ve also published two Christmas novellas, Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts and Mistletoe in Manhattan.
I really enjoyed Build A Man, but wanted to bang Serenity’s head against a wall for many unethical things she did, the least of her sins being writing journalistic articles whilst she was being paid to be a receptionist, and the worst...well I won’t spoil it for other readers... How did you manage to make us still like Serenity?
I think we all have a little bit of Serenity inside, albeit not to the same degree! When we want something, it’s very easy to bury our heads in the sand and justify our actions. Serenity isn’t inherently evil, but her ambition blinds her to the reality of what she’s doing. It’s always important to me that characters learn and grow over the course of the novel, and I think she does just that. 

I liked the uber-bitch at the newspaper, with whom Serenity would have to vie for a job. Do you like to always have this type of female conflict and do you enjoy writing it more than writing the goodies?!
All conflict is good, as far as I’m concerned! I love throwing obstacles in my characters’ paths and watching as they try to overcome them. I don’t aim for a certain type of conflict, besides internal versus external. The conflicts the characters face come from the situations in which they find themselves and how I want them to develop. 

Serenity’s boyfriend  is a truly despicable character, self-absorbed and condescending.  How much do you think was down to the age gap and how much down to the different level in status?
Although there is a definite gap in age, social status and culture between Serenity and Peter, even if they had been on equal footing, they wouldn’t have lasted long. Their personalities are fundamentally different and by the end of the novel they’ve grown so far apart, it’s obvious they wouldn’t work together.

Jeremy is a sweetheart. You understand that from the get-go, but he was short in brains (in some ways)  and self-esteem.  How did you decide on his characteristics?
Funny, I never thought of Jeremy as short on brains! He’s intelligent in a different way from Peter, Serenity’s boyfriend, who is book-smart but low in emotional IQ. I wanted Jeremy to be beat up by past relationships, but also willing to do something about it, despite his fear. He goes on a journey as much as Serenity, gaining in confidence and self-awareness.

If Build A Man were ever made into a movie, who would you think should play Jeremy? Who could pull off that hang-dog expression?
Hmm, good question! It would have to be someone handsome yet slightly downtrodden . . . maybe a chubby Ben Affleck?

Which was your favourite character to write and why?
Despite her flaws, I love Serenity – perhaps because, like me, she’s a transplant to London and sees everything through an outsider’s goggles. She was great fun to write!

I haven’t read Construct A Couple yet. Are you able to tell us if Serenity will feature in a third book?
She will! I’m planning to write the third in the series, Marriage to Measure, next year.

Fun stuff

(almost) everyone knows I am a big Rupert Penry Jones fan. Who is your Rupert Penry Jones?

Yikes, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of anyone in particular. I like to spread the love!  

Fave place in the whole world (can’t be home!)

I love the island of Lopud in Croatia. It’s just off the coast of Dubrovnik and it’s idyllic. 

You aren’t originally from the UK. If you could choose another part of the UK to live in, where would it be and why?
The Lake District (without the tourists!). Such gorgeous scenery.

Pets or people?
Pets! Much easier to deal with.

Music or movies?
Music. I’m a sucker for Chopin.

Reading or writing?
Writing – as I get to be in control!

Which genre of books do you like to read and who are your favourite authors?
I read all genres, and I love Peter Mayle, Rose Tremain, and Sophie Kinsella.  

Who is your favourite actress?

Judi Dench. She’s incredible.

Favourite cocktail?

Total cliché, but I do a love a good Cosmopolitan. 

3 things we couldn’t possibly guess about you

I collect dirty coffee mugs on my desk (what can I say, I’m lazy!)

I love the bagpipes.

I’m a big believer in the power of the nap.
Well, thanks, Talli, for joining me today and best of luck with your upcoming releases.
Talli Roland writes fun, romantic fiction. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories--complete with happy endings. Talli's debut novel The Hating Game was short-listed for Best Romantic Read at the UK's Festival of Romance, while her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as an Amazon Customer Favourite. Her novels have also been chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites and have been bestsellers in Britain and the United States. Construct A Couple is her latest release, with The Pollyanna Plan due out this month. To learn more about Talli, go to or follow Talli on Twitter: @talliroland. Talli blogs at
You can find all of Talli's books on her Amazon author page - (UK) & (US)
Here are some of her great covers - hasn't she been busy?!
Well, I am not keeping you waiting too long. We have another feature tomorrow - a book review. You won't want to miss this discovery, so tune in or regret it!
Have a great day





  1. I loved Build A Man! Soo funny! And I'm with you on Chopin - my husband is classically trained musician and plays Chopin sometimes. Lovely to listen to it 'live'. Talli, you are a true inspiration, and an all-round nice person!

  2. First of all, thanks to Sooz for hosting me! It's great to be here. Good luck with novel number three!

    Carol, thank you. Such kind words, and it's good to know there's another Chopin-lover here!

  3. I enjoyed this & found myself nodding in agreement about both napping and Judi Dench. I'm a little in awe that Talli comes up with such great book titles, especially knowing Marriage to Measure already, before the book is even begun.
    I'm looking forward to reading Build A Man.

    1. Thank you, Pauline! I hope you enjoy Build A Man!

  4. Wonderful interview! I love bagpipes too. I remember being on the Dame Judi Dench walk in York :-)