In conversation with... Rosa Temple

Hi Rosa! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Slow Lane Walkers Club! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Thank you very much, Silvia, and thank you for having me on your blog today! Well, The Slow Lane Walkers Club is about Daniel’s reluctant return from Italy to his hometown in Cornwall. To fill a void he starts a walking club and on his first walk, only his eighty year old neighbour, Hazel, shows up. As the walking club grows, so does an unlikely but heartwarming friendship between Daniel and Hazel. A sense of community develops along with a new start for Daniel, one he’d never expected could happen.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: It’s unusual for me to have an entire plot figured out. I usually start writing with a basic plan in my head, a main character and a good idea of how the story ends. This time the whole plot was in place beforehand so I knew how Daniel was going to change by the end of the book. What was unexpected was the introduction of characters I hadn’t thought of but popped into my head all the same. These new characters played a large part in how Daniel coped with his new situation and how he eventually came to make some major decisions in his life.

Was The Slow Lane Walkers Club your working title? Either way, how did you choose it?

A: Actually, the title was chosen by my editor and I thought it sounded intriguing. It’s a title I thought would make readers curious as it conjures up several scenarios and for most people the act of walking or being part of a club is so relatable.

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the roles of Daniel and Hazel?

A: Wow, that’s a tough one. For Daniel I’d probably opt for Colin Morgan who played the lead in the BBC television series, Merlin. He is a versatile actor in my opinion. He’s about the right age and even looks like my description of Daniel. I’d perhaps cast Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Hazel. Even though she’s a lot younger than Hazel, I’ve seen Jean-Baptiste play an array of characters over the years and she’s a great character actress. I think she could play the loveable Hazel really well.

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: There is an intense scene between Daniel and love interest, Jess, when everything between them goes wrong. It was difficult to write, firstly because I was constantly willing them to be honest with each other but they were both holding back their feelings. Secondly, I struggled to get the dialogue just right so that the reader would understand the motives of each character and want to root for them.

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: Of course there are several paragraphs lost before we make it to the final edit. I’m happy that by the end of the editing process, everything I wanted to convey remained and after batting the book back and forth to my editor, the final version was a lot richer.

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: My next project is in the initial draft stage, the stage I wouldn’t want anyone to read as yet. It’s about 29 year old insomniac, Allie, who becomes the owner of her mum’s dilapidated house and takes over membership of her mum’s Monday afternoon knitting club after her mum returns to Australia for good. All the other members of the knitting club are in their seventies. While Allie struggles to have a good night’s sleep she also struggles to find some excitement in her quiet town. Her seventy-something friends have had their fair share of excitement and secrets shadow their friendship. Allie uncovers these secrets and finds an exciting way to bring love and friendship into her quiet life.

What are you reading at the moment?

A: I’m an insomniac, like Allie, and I’m reading a book called Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. I’m also about to start The Island Of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak.

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: Social media disrupts my writing schedule terribly. I’m a reluctant social media networker, which I realise is not good enough when I consider how often some writers are engaging with their audiences. I seriously don’t know where they find the time. My days are always jam packed with things to do from the moment I get up so maybe I need to know their secrets!

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Believe in yourself. There will be difficult days and you will doubt your ability sometimes but remember, you are the only one who can tell this story.

Thank you for your time!

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