Friday, 25 July 2014

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Elizabeth Aaron

Elizabeth Aaron's fashion-focused debut Low Expectations hit the shelves last week. Elizabeth, who studied fashion design in London, interned at Alexander McQueen and Jonathan Sanders, and also worked on a freelance project for Givenchy. In 2012, she moved to Paris to work as a nanny and write Low Expectations - in which single Georgie, working in fashion for a boss who doesn't know her name, decides to change her life in a year...

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
A comic love story about trying (mostly failing) to pull yourself together in your 20s!

What inspired you to write Low Expectations?
I had started writing comedy sketches in my final year at University but I didn’t have the self-confidence to preform them. It had always been my dream to write a book, so I decided to take a chance and create a narrative around the ‘voice’ that was emerging in the sketches. My goal was simply to write what I wanted to read on holiday - something smart but also fun, absurd and true to life (with all the dubious morality and griminess that can accompany this). I also had a wealth of hideous social gaffes and romantic disasters that were ripe for exploitation in fiction!

Where do you do most of your writing?
I wrote most of Low Expectations in caf├ęs, but for a few months now I’ve had one of those bamboo bed-desk things that keep your laptop from overheating. Which is dangerous as I have become electively bed-ridden, moving only to walk two paces to the kitchen…

What is your favourite book?
Hard to say, there are so many! The last book I read where I fell utterly in love with one of the characters was East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I wanted to climb into it and marry Samuel Hamilton. Even though he’s about 70. The magic of fiction!

Which part of Low Expectations did you enjoy writing the most?
Probably the situations in which my lead character Georgie is most wild, uncontrolled and badly behaved! Of which there are quite a few. The fashion related scenes were the hardest - to make them feel true and fair while also acknowledging some of the problematic aspects of that world (it’s also pretty hard to describe designer togs in detail without sounding like a tool!).

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
Mae West. She’s unique in being both a writer and performer but also a sort of living, life-long literary creation herself. She never broke character. She just went ahead and did what she wanted, with incredible wit and verve. She was a trailblazer in so many ways (as well as a gloriously camp icon).

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Write what you would like to read! Trust your taste. Draw a line under the project and finish it after a set period of time. Even if it is imperfect, send it to agencies to see what response you get. That’s the only advice I feel qualified to give at this point, I am still a novice in many ways.  

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I am getting started on my second novel, though over the summer I’ll be concentrating on a one-woman stand-up comedy show I am putting on this summer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Low Expectations: The Unpublishable Material is made up of material that was cut from Low Expectations for being too full-on, plus lots of new jokes! I’ll also be projecting my comic illustrations. It’s a terrifying prospect but in a weird way it feels natural, like things have come full circle.

Thanks, Elizabeth!

Low Expectations by Elizabeth Aaron
Georgie has a glamorous career in fashion.

Her boss doesn’t know her name, but working for a genius will pay off one day. She hopes.

She also has great friends. Granted, they’re sometimes a bit superficial, but who wants to discuss a global crisis on a Friday night? And she’s enjoying her single life. Eighteen months of celibacy, and not a hot prospect in sight. Perhaps life’s not quite what she was hoping for . . .

But how can she change it, and what does she really want? Stuck somewhere between a quarter-life crisis and self-fulfillment, Georgie is determined that this year, everything will be different. Armed only with her sense of humour, some black eyeliner and her best attempt at ‘charming’, she’s on the way. But just how long will the new improved Georgie last?

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