Divorced and keeping a heart-breaking secret, Abbie Potter is sleep-walking through her life as a publicist at a London football club. She seems to spend more time covering their scandals than celebrating their wins, and has had enough. Though she’s already prepared for a fresh start, some shocking news pushes her to take an opportunity even further from home – in Salt Lake City.
The first morning of her new life, Abbie bumps into Kyle Miller. He’s persistent, and Abbie’s more than intrigued by him. Everything else seems to fit into place too: she has a fulfilling job, is on a journey of self-rediscovery, and has revived her love of music thanks to a new-found friendship.
She can’t risk losing what she’s built for herself, but how can she stop it from slipping through her fingers without shattering the façade she hides behind?
When and where do you prefer to write?
This has actually changed over time. In the past I needed a desk and a big chunk of time to focus when I was writing fiction but, in the writing of this book, I worked really hard to develop the skills to be able to write in shorter bursts of time and in different locations. The reason for this is that I’m writing alongside a full-time job that involves frequent weekend working as well as travelling, so it’s rare I have the luxury of a full day to write. By the time I finished this novel I had written chunks of it on trains, planes and, even on one occasion, on a boat!
Do you have a certain ritual?
Not really, although I need a cup of tea before I sit down. I’m a planner, so once I sit down to write, I roughly know where I’m heading. I tend to look at a blank or almost blank screen for a while then, when I start typing, I get into a real flow. I am quite target driven, so if I’ve set myself a word target, I can’t really get up from the computer without having achieved it or it will nag at me, even if that means I effectively imprison myself for hours.
Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
Litres and litres of tea. I’m a proper British tea drinker. Just good old English breakfast or builder’s tea.
What is your favourite book?
This is such a tricky one as there are books I’ve loved at different points in my life and have felt really important in moving to the next level of reading. For example, I remember books I read as a teenager that transitioned me into adult books that I have such fond feelings for. My enduring love is what is considered commercial women’s fiction / romance and I think, for that genre, Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones Diary is simply the perfect book and was so important. A more recent read that I am completely obsessed with is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – it’s absolutely sublime, and for her produce something of that quality and complexity as a debut novel is mind boggling.
Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I don’t think so. This genre is what I love; I love to read it and I love to write it. The only other thing I could probably even consider would be to write a children’s story for my nephew, who is four, but that would probably just be something fun for him.
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Not consciously! With this book I tried to create a world with characters that I loved. There might be qualities that some of the characters have that I appreciate in people around me, but there is no character based on anyone that I know.
Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I’m on my computer a huge amount of the time so I’ll jot something down on a Word document or on my phone. I don’t write a lot of handwritten book notes as I like to be able to play around with my notes and I find it more efficient if it’s already typed out.
Which genre do you not like at all?
I don’t read any horror. That’s probably more down to the fact that my parents banned me from them when I was about 13 and was having nightmares reading Point Horror books, and I didn’t pick one up again. I’m not a fan of horror movies either!
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
There’s two ways of answering this. The sensible way, in which I would discuss the incredible female authors writing today that I adore, such as Paige Toon or Giovanna Fletcher. Or there’s the dreamy way, in which I would say that I would adore to spend time co-writing, in a very remote cottage with a roaring fire and lots of red wine, with Harry Styles.
If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
So many places! I think my wanderlust is at peak level right now with us being locked down due to COVID here in the UK, and so I am very excited about when we can get back out there and fly to faraway lands again. Just over a year ago I went to Mexico and I visited Tulum for half a day and I completely fell in love with it; its natural beauty, its history and bohemian vibes. I would love to go back and spend more time in Tulum – all in the name of research!
Thank you, Rebecca Banks and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the Author
Rebecca Banks owns a boutique public relations agency specialising in sports and entertainment, and has 20 years of experience in PR and events.
She is also a freelance journalist. For over a decade she has written features from celebrity interviews and human profile pieces to motoring and travel reviews. Half the World Away is her debut novel.