Interview with Manchester based author Holly Kingston on the launch of her first novel
When an email landed in my inbox about a new novel, where the heroine was forced to admire her crush while sporting udders in the back end of a pantomime cow, I was hooked!
Even better, author Holly Kingston lives in Manchester. It would have been remiss of us not to chat!
Holly’s book – A Cinderella Christmas was published this week. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it’s a huge success for this talented Manchester writer!
Tell us a little about yourself
I grew up in Preston and knew I wanted to write from a very early age. But being a novelist isn’t something that they actively encourage when you go for careers advice!
If you admit you want to be a writer, people tend to look at you like you’ve just expressed a deep desire to be the next Lady Gaga.
So I concentrated on getting a degree in Psychology instead, which was rather interesting, and also turned out to be massively handy if you want people to think you’re a Derren Brown style Svengali (I wish, it would be useful!).
I started working on scripts when I studied at Scriptwriting North in Manchester, and I’ll go back to writing for screen at some point. At the moment I’m concentrating on novels. I live in Manchester with my boyfriend, two cats (who definitely believe they own the house), and an undisclosed number of squirrels who use our garden as some kind of critter expressway.
What’s A Cinderella Christmas all about?
Picture your biggest celebrity crush. And now imagine what it would be like if you not only got to meet them, but you got to work with them!
That’s what’s happened to Lucy Tilley.
She’s one of the dancers in this year’s Cinderella pantomime, and Ryan Aspall, famous actor and probable love of her life, has been cast as Prince Charming.
Unfortunately she’s been given a rough deal with her casting in the panto, which doesn’t exactly allow her to shine…things are not going well at work. She does manage to get the lovely Ryan’s attention, but it’s not in the way she intended.
All her romantic hopes are pinned on the show’s Christmas party, hosted by her new best friend, the ridiculously glamorous Charmaine. Everything builds up to the chaos of Christmas day…will Lucy get to her prince at the ball?
I absolutely love Christmas, and I’ve been involved in pantomimes myself, so setting a book backstage in a theatre seemed like a great setting for a bit of winter mischief!
Tell us about writing A Cinderella Christmas – did it come easily?
If there was a picture next to writer’s block in the dictionary, it would be a photo of me eating crisps. I always have writers block!
The fear follows me round like a persistent little munchkin holding out a bag of snacks. Before I become Weeble shaped I really should get me a stress ball or something!
I prefer solitude to write. I used to write in a coffee shop (carrot cake is a big draw) but I’m easily distracted and if I start chatting to someone it’s game over. These days I love cuddling up with my laptop on my sofa when I’m home alone.
I signed with my wonderful agent, Hannah Ferguson, 12 months ago, so it’s taken me a year to get published. But I’ve loved writing since primary school so technically the process has been flippin slow!
Any funny pantomime stories?
I used to be in pantomimes a lot as a kid. I used to dance – well I use the term ‘dance’ loosely.
I wasn’t a natural.
Some people are innately graceful, supple and poised. And then some people are like me.
One year the top half of my costume fell off mid routine. I was dressed as a tree. The bit covering my head was supposed to be my lovely leaves. I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that a bit of my outfit flung off, or the fact that I was dressed as foliage in the first place. It’s a toughie!
Which is your favourite pantomime?
Cinderella of course! I think it’s the frocks!
I love a good frock.
I live in a hoody and jeans, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten over being a bridesmaid. When I was twelve I wore a voluminous lemon skirt with one of those giant hoops. It was like, the best thing EVER.
I think of Cinderella, and I think of giant hooped skirts. (I realise I’ve just screwed any chance I ever had of being proposed to, bride in a meringue anyone? Anyone? *Sulks*)
Why do you love Manchester?
I love love love Manchester!
As a kid growing up in Preston, Manchester was the big sister city that we visited when we wanted to pretend to be cool and shop in Afflecks, normally for a new nose ring and some pink hair dye.
I liked it so much that I’ve lived here now for thirteen years, although I no longer have a nose ring, or pink hair. (My grandma really did not approve of that nose ring.)
Spinningfields and The Northern Quarter are currently my favourite haunts but the best bit about this city is the people. It’s soooo friendly.
What are your plans for the future?
A Cinderella Christmas is my first Novella, but I’ve written another full length novel and am half way through my second. I want to write loads of books. I just need to learn to focus and concentrate on one thing at a time!
Ideas are easy. It’s getting tens of thousands of words down on the laptop that’s the tricky bit!
We have got three copies of A Cinderella Story to give away to three lucky readers.
All we want to know is which pantomime character you’d like to be?
Pop it in the comments box below – but only one comment per person please.
So don’t be shy – whether it’s Widow Twanky or Tinkerbell we’d love to know?
Good luck and good luck to Holly – we’re sure A Cinderella Story is going to be a huge success!
Alison x (your 4Manchester Women Editor)
A Cinderella Story is published by Novelicious
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