Today, I’m pleased to be joined by my fellow Swanky Seventeens member, Rebecca Denton, whose debut, This Beats Perfect, is scheduled to come out February 2, 2017 from Little Brown/Atom Books
Hi, Rebecca and thanks for joining us today!
JR: Before we begin, can you tell us a little bit about This Beats Perfect and the impetus behind writing it?
RD: It’s a love letter to being young and into music really. When I was 16 I knew every single Cure song and could rattle off the track list to every album. At 17 it was Nirvana. By 18 I realized you could like several bands at once. So I worshiped them all. I worked hard to stay current. It was a kind of social currency.
(JR: I LOVE The Cure too!)
And alongside this, I played guitar and sang, but I had no confidence in playing live.
These are the lingering themes of my teenage years, so when I got that little gap in my life where I could write a book (thanks a lot, redundancy!) it was the most natural subject for me to write about. Well, that and TV.
JR: I read on your site, www.rebeccadenton.me that you worked for MTV and also on some TV shows for kids. How was that experience?
RD: Oh music TV is so much fun, and is the best career in your twenties. Here I was traveling to Iceland to film bands I loved. The next month it was some festival in Japan. Then Vegas. In London (by day) I worked at Cartoon Network doing marketing and promotions stuff. I worked with some crazy ass talented people there. But life in TV got really awesome when I got to work on Being Human. The fans were insane.
(JR: That’s an impressive resume, but is it weird that the thing I’m most jealous of is working at The Cartoon Network?)
JR: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing journey getting to this point?
RD: My story is a bit of a fairytale. I got made redundant from my job and was like SHIT what am I going to do? I might try to write a book. I took 3 months out and wrote This Beats Perfect. I’d met a literary agent (Julian Friedmann at Blake Friedmann) on TV course several years before and so when I sent him a note to say I’d written a book, he was happy to read it. I was so delighted when he took me on and married me up with super agent Hattie Grunewald. We submitted later that year. It was under one year from first word on the page to signed deal. With Atom (Little,Brown). I’m really amazingly lucky.
JR: What’s your writing process like?
RD: I like to write early in the mornings mostly. I’m not sure I’ve been an actual ‘writer’ long enough to know my process. Most of the time it seems to be just half my brain trying to distract me and the other half shouting ‘FINISH THE GODDAMN BOOK.’
JR: What’s your favorite book and who’s your favorite author?
RD: My cousin Rachel Johns and her novel The Art of Keeping Secrets.
JR: What’s your favorite movie?
RD: Pans Labyrinth probably. Although sometimes it’s Little Miss Sunshine.
JR: Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
RD: I’m a kiwi by heart. Aussie by birth. Brit by passport. And I am currently living in a cabin in Austria.
(JR: Okay, I found more to be jealous of!)
JR: Do you do a lot of research when you write?
RD: Not really. I write what I know so I don’t especially need to. Maybe when I write that historical novel ….
JR: Here at the Tuesdays, a big part of our success and the purpose of this site, has been being involved in a critique group. Are you involved in one and if so, how has it helped you?
RD: I was a part of a small writers group but whenever we met we tended to drink a lot of prosecco and gossip. However, out of the 5 of us, 4 are published authors now!
(JR: That’s great! And that’s the goal of every group, to push and support each other so everybody jumps that hurdle!)
JR: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received and is there any advice you can give to writers looking to break in?
RD: ‘Just do it.’ From my amazing cousin. But a dear friend and writer for Dr Who, the lovely @snazdoll gave me some sage advice – she said ‘get a draft down. Call it a zero draft. Show no one. Then you can start on your first draft.’ Its the same kind of advice really, and that’s just to get the damn thing done.
JR: What are you working on next?
RD: An unconventional sequel to This Beats Perfect. It’s about a girl who becomes a secret source for an online gossip website (think TMZ), but the story is interweaved with book 1.
JR: Is there anything that else you want to share with our readers or perhaps tell them how they can follow you on social media?
RD: Join me on twitter @rebeccasbrain
JR: Before we go, I always like to ask, who’s your favorite member of The Tuesdays?
RD: I would say Faran except he’s not in the ‘about us’ section of the website. Does he even exist?
JR: Well, I’d like to think there’s a little part of Faran in all of us. Anyway, thanks again, Rebecca! And all of you make sure to be on the lookout for This Beats Perfect, coming February of 2017 and in the meantime, if you have any questions for Rebecca, Faran, or any of the rest of us, please make sure to leave them below. We’re running low and need to restock!