Have you read The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper yet? No? Oh my! You are missing out. I recently wrote a review of the book and was very touched by the praise Roxie gave it. But, things have gotten even better! I actually had the chance to interview Roxie and discuss all things writing with her and now, I get to share her wicked answers with you.
The Law of Attraction draws a lot on your own life. Did you feel awkward putting so much of yourself out there?
Roxie: The Law of Attraction is a very personal book in one sense because I think all authors subconsciously put themselves into their debut novels. I can absolutely relate to the difficult journey Amanda goes on in this book because I went on it too; the agonising worry of whether I’d get tenancy, the constant need to impress other members in Chambers, and whether it was worth compromising your integrity to fit in with the right crowd if it meant getting ahead. It’s a huge step to put all of that in a book and allow other people to read your fears, worries and thoughts. But a good book is one which bares your soul, and I think I did with this one.
Amanda Bentley is a strong female character who leaves very little deter her. In real life, how did you handle criticism about your past as you trained to become a barrister?
Roxie: I didn’t receive much criticism, so to speak, but I got some stick for it. I used to work as a dancer in a nightclub and would often be expected to play up to that on nights out. I never did. I also got all the ‘peroxide dumb blonde’ jokes but they didn’t bother me, to be honest. I think the best way to deal with that is to just let your actions and excellent results speak for themselves.
I also come from a working-class background and I found not only do people who deem themselves “higher up” like to criticise, friends and schoolmates sometimes also do not want people to succeed and move on. Did you experience anything similar?
Roxie: I think everyone experiences a bit of the green-eyed monster every now and then. There’s a saying – ‘Pay close attention to those who don’t clap when you win’ which I observe, but I think it says a lot more about them and their own insecurities.
What made you switch from being a barrister to an author? Would you ever go back?
Roxie: I left the Bar initially to look after my two young children. I personally couldn’t find the balance between being a criminal barrister and being a mam – it’s so full-on, working very long hours and travelling all over the country. However, being a barrister furnished me with so many funny stories and a wealth of experience, exposing me to very interesting attitudes, situations and people – I needed to put all that in a book. I have no immediate plans to go back, but never say never.
You are quite active on Twitter. How important do you find social media is when promoting a book, or any other product for that matter?
Roxie: Very important, I’d say. My novel was released as an eBook, so social media presence and promotion really is key. Fortunately, I’ve been on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for years and so I understand how it all works, but it really is essential when you’re trying to promote anything these days.
How do you deal with negative comments on and offline?
Roxie: I don’t engage with any form of negativity in real life, so online negativity doesn’t even scratch the surface! When you create any form of art and throw it out into the world – whether it’s a book, picture or film – you are inviting positive and negative comments. You can’t have one without the other. I’ve had a couple of reviews which have slated my book, I mean they have hated absolutely everything about it – to the point where I found it funny! But I’ve also had almost 70 5* reviews, and one of them was in Heat Magazine. I concentrate on those ones because they are in the majority.
What advice would you give to any aspiring writers out there?
Roxie: Do what works for you, even if this means ignoring all the ‘classic’ writing tips. Some authors live by the rule ‘write for an hour every day’ – I tried this when I was just getting started, when I had a full-time job, and I hated it. It did not work for me at all. I work much better when I work in long slots of time (even though this means sacrificing weekends), but I felt like a bad writer for not writing every day. They’re tips, not commandments.
Finally, tell us what is next for Roxie Cooper!
Roxie: I’ve just finished my second novel and I’m editing it. Sending it to my agent was so unbelievably scary because you worry that the debut novel was a fluke and you actually just can’t write! But she loved it. It’s different to The Law of Attraction though; less rom-com, more ‘book club’ feel about it. I adore it though and I can’t wait to share it.
Thank you, Roxie! You most certainly have a fan in me and I can’t wait to get my hands on your next book.