Having enjoyed The Anti-Ageing of Harmony Richards, the debut from Fiona Jane Collins (so much so that we awarded it Debut of 2014!), it was inevitable that our questions would be put to the lovely Fiona, to discover the inspiration behind forty-something Harmony's tale.

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
It’s about a fed-up forty-something whose marriage is shaken by a younger rival.

What inspired you to write The Anti-Ageing of Harmony Richards?
I was forty-five and pondering a lot on ageing, especially as the media (yes, you, Daily Mail!) is always going on about it and making women feel ashamed of losing their looks or daring to look a day over thirty. I wanted to explore what it’s like for someone really affected by it, especially if I threw in a one-sided marriage and a husband with a young, hot ex…

Where do you do most of your writing?
At the kitchen table, mostly, with a hot chocolate by my side and absolute quiet around me.
When I first started writing, it was a secret from my family so I was scribbling down random things on bits of paper and shoving them in drawers. My daughter once had a friend over after school and they found some notes ‘about love’ in my bathroom cupboard. I remember going bright red and mumbling some rubbish about practicing my handwriting!

What is your favourite book?
Can I choose three? To Kill A Mocking Bird; May We Borrow Your Husband? (a collection of short stories by Graham Greene); and Playing Away by Adele Parks.

Which part of  The Anti-Ageing of Harmony Richards did you enjoy writing the most?
The girls’ night out! The one where Harmony gets really, really drunk and does something she shouldn’t… I’ve been on so many of those nights out, over the years, so I found it great fun to roll all my best and worst into that one scene. I also loved writing all the delicious flirty bits with Blake.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
For laughs and all those ‘whoops’ moments I can definitely relate to, I still love Bridget Jones, particularly from the first novel.  Pandora Braithwaite from the Adrian Mole books is also up there for her ambition and feistiness (and proving I must have a thing about diaries!).

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
My motto is ‘give it a go’. Decide you have nothing to lose, don’t worry about the finished product being any good or not, just write, write, write. Then, once it’s done, and you can no longer see the wood for the trees or recall your own name, get beta readers to read it. Complete strangers. It’s scary but it has to be done and is invaluable.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I’m working on a new novel about a single mum, the first to admit she’s never really done much with her life, who finds it transformed when she strikes up an unlikely friendship on the school run with an older, female rock star who was huge in the 80s. I’m cooking up lots of adventure and romance for my reluctant heroine who may find herself stepping into the spotlight of her own life for the very first time…

Thanks, Fiona!

You can find out more about Fiona Jane Collins on Twitter and Facebook.

The Anti-Ageing of Harmony Richards by Fiona Jane Collins
What would you do if you discovered the real reason for your husband’s proposal…and she was younger than you, prettier than you and out to get him back? 

Harmony Richards is forty-five, swallowed whole by a marriage she’s insecure in and a chore-ridden motherhood she can’t escape from, and dismayed that her looks are beginning to fade. If all that isn’t bad enough, she finds out her husband of twelve years has a Lost Love. A one that got away. Except she’s not away; she’s back. And her arrival makes Harmony feel her life is in faster free-fall than her face. 

Surely stalking the lost love, flirting with a man young enough to know better and taking on an unexpected new challenge can’t possibly make things worse?

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