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Unwrapped – Q+A with debut author Beth O’Leary

Today we’re chatting to debut novelist extraordinaire Beth O’Leary about new reads, new beginnings and Easter. Her first novel, The Flatshare, is the uplifting story of Tiffy and Leon who share a flat, share a bed but have never met…

The Flat Share

When you’re on the hunt for a new read, how do you go about discovering one?
I get a lot of my book recommendations via Twitter and Instagram – I follow lots of bookish people with similar tastes to mine. If I’m in the mood for something specific, I might look at a Goodreads ‘Top 50’ list for that genre and browse through until a cover and blurb catches my eye. What I should do is go and choose something from my existing bookshelves, which are completely overloaded and have no room left on them for new books!

Easter and Spring are all about new beginnings. Tell us a little bit about how ‘new beginnings’ are discussed in your book.
Oh, The Flatshare is all about new beginnings. One of my main characters, Tiffy, has just left her toxic boyfriend and is trying to figure out what her life looks like without him; the other main character, Leon, is in desperate need of a fresh start. He’s stuck in a rut in his relationship and is dealing with the trauma of his brother being imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. But Leon can’t stay stuck for long once Tiffy moves in to his flat…

If you were to set up a bookish Easter egg hunt, which five books would you choose to hide?
What a phenomenal question! Now I want to set up a bookish Easter egg hunt. I’d pick five fun novels about fresh starts: One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk, The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, The Cactus by Sarah Haywood, Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pierce and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

If your characters were Easter eggs, what kind would they be?
Leon would be something very classy and simple, I think. Lindt chocolate, maybe… And it wouldn’t be hollow on the inside, because there’s much more to Leon than there seems, so maybe there’d be lots of truffles in the middle of the egg!

Tiffy would be a homemade Easter egg, for sure, with a really ambitious combination of flavours that shouldn’t work but totally does: ginger and lemon and strawberry chocolate, or something. Hers would come brightly wrapped, too.

How would your main character celebrate Easter?
Leon would be bemused by the idea of celebrating Easter – he’s not religious, so what’s it for? Chocolate? He can eat chocolate whenever he wants anyway? Plus he never gets the bank holiday days off at his work – he’s a hospice nurse – so he sometimes forgets it’s happening at all.

But Tiffy would be all over it. Any excuse to decorate the flat, wear bright colours and do some arts and crafts…

The Flatshare is available now!

You can follow Beth on Twitter @OLearyBeth and on Instagram @betholearyauthor


The Flatshare