Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Hellooo, I’m Pernille Hughes. I’m a mum of four teens, including twins and I write RomComs for Harper Impulse, an imprint of Harper Collins. My debut Sweatpants At Tiffanie’s came out in 2018 and my second book Probably the Best Kiss in the World came out this April. I believe that love and laughter go hand in hand, so that’s what I write.
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Sweatpants At Tiffanie’s is a second-chance romance, about getting back up again when life punches you in the face. Tiffanie is down on her heartbroken and homeless and unexpectedly inherits a boxing gym, much to the chagrin of various parties. Probably the Best kiss in the World is about Jen, a control freak, who has to decide whether to follow her heart or her head, as her app and spreadsheet-driven world is turned on its head during a weekend trip to Copenhagen.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I’ve made up dialogue in my head since I was a little kid, and eventually it had to come out and onto the page. (Yes, you could say I hear voices…)
How do you deal with creative block?
Restart small. With pen and paper. A sentence a day if necessary. An opening line perhaps. Then a paragraph a day, maybe the opening para, or a segment of dialogue. Then two paragraphs, and so on… Do the task, then walk away, then come back the next day and do a little more. Essentially, rebuild the habit.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
I’m not a fan of big info dumps at the beginning. But I think it’s a confidence issue, that you need to be brave and hold back, peppering detail as you go, to trust the reader to trust you to tell it right. You need to go in with confidence, even if you aren’t a confident person in real life. Be ballsy on the page, convince the reader that they are safe in your hands, that you’ve got this and you’re about to spin them a proper yarn.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I’ve only experienced this from a Traditional publishing point of view, in which case my tip is; Don’t be too precious. You might have an image in your head and a title, but if you are signed to a publisher, their marketing department will have the final say, and should know their markets. If you’re designing your own cover, absolutely invest a professional company to do it. Books are genuinely judged by their covers in a matter of seconds. Anything amateur will stand against the perceived quality of your story and subsequently your sales. Don’t feel the need to tell the story or represent all the elements in the picture, it’s more about mood. Simply; Invest in a good cover. I’ve heard good things about Damonza.com
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
At first the idea of reviews terrified me – why would you put yourself up on a dartboard?? But as they come in you get used to them. You need to decide what is good for your own mental/writing health. I’ll read the ones on Netgalley and Amazon, but that’s it. That’s enough for me. Low stars will come and you can either look at the reviewer’s other reviews to see if they simply don’t like your genre and should never have picked it up in the first place, or whether they might just only post unhappy reviews. BUT you have to remember that a bad review is just an opinion, not a fact. There will always be something that gets to you at some point – if a review says the story isn’t funny I die a little- but do not, ever, respond. It’s just an opinion, not a fact, remember…
How has your creation process improved over time?
Oh gahd, I’m not sure it has!! 🙂 Now I have to do marketing and I am a slave to Twitter and Facebook, it’s way harder to get writing. I might be better at knowing the elements I want to include in a story. I learn something about the craft with each new story, but that can also feel like spinning more plates each time.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
Personally it’s sometimes hard to be creative if I’m anxious about things in the world. On the other hand, being het up about smaller things can be good if I need to write a shouty scene. Like many writers I enjoy getting an argument down on a page when I completely failed to do it in real life just before. Overall, for me, it depends on the kind of emotion- anxiety or being deeply sad does not make me particularly creative.
What are your plans for future books?
To write more!!! I’ve learned that the best marketing is first and foremost writing more books, so that they can work off each other sales-wise. I’ll continue writing romcom for now.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I used to work in Teletubbyland
I cannot poach eggs
In spite of having four children, I cannot stand the sound of groups of children singing
I believe parsnips are the Devil’s work
Despite being of Danish origin, I do not have blonde or red hair.
I have hypermobile thumbs
My happy place is laughing at things on Etsy, especially the Balaclavas section.
Pernille Hughes is a RomCom author and mum, whose debut novel was SWEATPANTS AT TIFFANIE’S, soon to be followed by PROBABLY THE BEST KISS IN THE WORLD (April 2019). Previously her writing has been printed in The Sunday Times and the fabulous SUNLOUNGER summer anthologies.
Pernille (pronounced Pernilla) studied Film & Literature at uni and took her first job in advertising,having been lured by the temptation of freebies, but left when Status Quo tickets was as good as it got. After a brief spell marketing Natural History films, she switched to working in Children’s television which for a time meant living in actual Teletubbyland, sharing a photocopier with Laa-Laa.
Now, she lives in actual Buckinghamshire in the UK, sharing a photocopier with her husband and their four spawn. While the kids are at school she scoffs cake and writes RomCom stories in order to maintain a shred of sanity.
www.pernillehughes.com (Come have a look! Sign up for my newsletter 🙂)
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00DTAXQSG
Sweatpants At Tiffanie’s and Probably the Best Kiss in the World are available from your online bookseller of choice or on order from actual in real life bookshops.