Sherill Turner is a New York-based actress and author who has just released her debut novel Him Downstairs - a romantic comedy in which Lucy has to get over boyfriend Tom - but it's not easy when he lives in the flat below! Sherill joins us this week for the Q&A, to tell us more about the novel, her writing life and projects.

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Him Downstairs is about the hilarity and heartbreak of navigating modern-day life and love.

What inspired you to write Him Downstairs?
Some hilariously disastrous dates! I also wanted to explore how dating in our 30s is different these days. So many people are separated or divorced now, have children to consider, are balancing one or two mortgages – there are so many other factors that contribute to if a relationship works.

Where do you do most of your writing?
Coffee shops are great (especially if there’s cake!). Libraries are my favourite. I moved to New York last year and am obsessed with the gorgeous Stephen A. Schwarzman library. I always say this, but the reading rooms are like a Harry Potter set!

What is your favourite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird. I read it in school and although I’d always loved reading as a child, this was the first book that made me realize how a story can take you to a totally different place, but you still recognize yourself in the people there.

Which part of Him Downstairs did you enjoy writing the most?
I think the Singles Night episode. I had so much fun with Lucy’s friendship with Caz and Becs and taking them on a girls’ night out was a blast to write! Plus, I did actually go on this "interesting" dating experience!

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
Oh, do I have to pick just one? Moll Flanders – what a resourceful woman and a riot to read! Elizabeth Bennet, of course! She’s so fabulous and flawed, which makes her more relatable.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Him Downstairs is my first novel and I deliberated for a long time before self-publishing it. I’m glad I waited because I got to keep making it better. Am also glad to have published the eBook version myself, it’s very empowering. We need stories that are entertaining, that are relatable and inspiring more than ever, so whether you go the traditional publishing route or self-publish, your work has value.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I’ve just written a couple of comedy sketches for a friend who is putting together a TV anthology show.  I'm in the editing process for a short film. It’s a comedy that I co-wrote and produced with a partner in the U.K. and is my film directing debut. Am also narrating the audiobook of Him Downstairs and wondering why on earth I made one of the characters Welsh! It’s a wonderfully creative and busy time and I'm consuming a lot of tea and cake!

Thanks, Sherill!

You can find out more about Sherill Turner and her books at her website, or by following her on Twitter.

Him Downstairs by Sherill Turner

How do you get over someone who lives under you?

Life for Lucy Jenkins is going OK … ish. Yes, she’s thirty-three, single, and has had to work as a waitress and children’s party entertainer since her social worker salary suffered from budget cuts, but she stays positive and manages to pay the mortgage on her flat. Her home is her sanctuary – until Tom moves in downstairs. Lucy and Tom quickly fall in love and into a serious relationship, which is complicated by Tom’s recent separation from his wife, who he has two young sons with.

Lucy is heartbroken when Tom breaks up with her, saying that something has to give in his busy life. Encouraged/coerced/badgered by her friends into getting ‘back on that horse’, Lucy finds herself at a tacky Singles Night; dating Danny, a Justin Timberlake impersonator; and attempting a rendezvous with her ‘special friend’. Lucy’s quest to move on from Tom would be a whole lot easier if she didn’t have to hear everything he does.

After all, how on earth do you get over someone when you can hear them peeing?

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