Hi there, my name is Rosie Millard. I’ve been a journalist for about 30 years during which time I’ve worked at the BBC as a correspondent and all of the main UK broadsheet papers as a feature writer, columnist and arts reporter. The Brazilian is my fourth book and my second novel – my first two books were non-fiction. I think I needed a bit of a warm up before diving into fiction!
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I started out with a love of drama and performing but in retrospect, I was always going to be a writer because I absolutely loved reading as a child and I also loved newspapers and journalism from a very young age.
Tell us about your book, and the story behind writing it:
The Brazilian is a comic romp and a sequel to my first novel The Square which is a comic romp set in a London square. This time I sent my favourite characters off to Ibiza where they carry on misbehaving and being naughty. It’s also a humorous account of TV reality shows, inspired in no small way by my horrendous experience on one for a Channel 4 daytime show.
What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?
Confidence! It’s very tough beginning to write a book, having the confidence to a) finish it and b) that people will want to read it. Anxiety and doubt are your constant companions throughout.
Do you have a specific writing space?
As a journalist you have to be used to writing anywhere. My latest column for the Independent was written on my smartphone while sitting on the road during the London Marathon (it was about the Marathon so it was a good place!) I wrote The Brazilian in London, but also while on holiday with the family in Provence and the Italian Lakes. As long as I have a quiet space with a decent desk I can write just about anywhere.
What’s your number one piece of writing advice?
Discipline. You have to sit down and simply churn out the words. Editing can come later and is much easier. Organise a 2-3 hour block in your diary every day. Make sure you do it. Don’t stop until you have written (say) 1000 words. Every day. It’s the only way you will get it done.
What books do you currently have on your bedside table?
Currently on my bedside table is the biography of Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser. My lovely father gave it to me for my birthday because he knows I love that period of history.
Who have been your biggest writing influences and why?
One was definitely the novelist Adam Foulds, who ran the Guardian/UEA fiction writing masterclass which I took two years ago, and out of which I managed to write The Square. This weekly class led by Adam gave me the belief that I could actually produce a novel. Above that my biggest writing influence has probably been the journalist Simon O’Hagan when he was Comment Editor of the Independent. He had incredibly high standards and would send back my stuff to rewrite when it wasn’t good enough. As he put it, he was ‘saving me from myself’. That is the best training of all. He’s now a brilliant editor at the Radio Times.
How do you market your writing? I market my writing online, in print, on radio, basically I talk about it non stop. That is if I have a book to promote. I love doing book fairs and events and have spoken to groups of over 1000 to groups of 2. You simply have to turn up and deliver the speech even if hardly anyone turns up.
Lastly, something fun. What’s something our readers might not know about you?
A few years ago I ran the Great Wall of China Marathon which involved climbing and descending 5000 steps on the famous Wall. It took me 5 hours 39 minutes.
By Rosie Millard
Following a sensational scandal at one of London’s most desired postcodes, Jane and Patrick decide to escape the gossip with a family holiday to Ibiza, their eight-year-old son George in tow.
Also on the island that week is a TV reality show involving an eccentric artist, a horny It Girl, a Brazilian footballer and a famous magician.
As hapless celebrities are picked off one by one, Jane is desperate to be on the programme, leaving childcare in the not so capable hands of a teenager.
One lesbian escapade and an explosive row over hair removal later, the contestants of Ibiza or Bust leave the island with more than sand in places they never knew existed…