Good morning Talli and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?
Good morning! Thank you for inviting me onto your blog.
Over the past few years, I’ve built a writing career on a blend of non-fiction and fiction writing, and a mix of self-publishing and traditional publishing. I started out with a non-fiction publishing deal (The 24 Hours Travel Guides), went on to publish two more novels with a small publisher, then moved to self-publishing. I’ve published my last two novels with Lake Union, Amazon Publishing’s women’s fiction imprint.
I’m also a founding member of Notting Hill Press, a co-operative of differently published writers working together to promote their books.
When did you first decide you wanted to write and how did you begin that journey?
I don’t even remember starting to write – I just did. I was always scribbling something . . . a poem, a short story, a make-believe newspaper article. When I was nine, I wrote my first travelogue, a non-fiction piece called ‘Disasters in Florida’, based on a family trip to Orlando. My real piece de résistance, though, was my novel called ‘Glint off the Gold’, which I completed on the Commodore 64 at age thirteen and sent off to various publishers. And thus began my long love affair with rejections!
My first big break was when Prospera Publishing contracted me to write a London travel guide. Although non-fiction was never really my dream, I figured being published in any genre was a good first step. It taught me a lot about how the process works.
Who are your favourite authors and have any of them inspired your writing in any way?
Such a difficult question! I read across many different genres, so it’s hard to pinpoint one. Growing up, I loved Danielle Steele’s novels – they were so absorbing, and she had such a way of making you care about her characters. Maeve Binchy was another firm favourite. I also loved Sophie Kinsella and her brilliant Shopaholic series. Now, I’m very into non-fiction: autobiographies and travelogues. I love exotic lives and locations!
Can you describe your average writing day – if there is one!
I’m very much a creature of routine, so my writing days are similar. I write Monday to Friday mornings when my son is at nursery. I’m at the desk by around 7:15 a.m., and I work through until around eleven when I need to brush my hair (at least!) and go get my son. If I have any energy left in the evenings, I’ll engage in social media. It’s all downhill after wine o’clock!
Your next novel, Who We Were Before is due out in October with you writing as Leah Mercer. What made you decide on this change of name and will you be writing again as Talli Roland in the future?
Who We Were Before is very different to the previous novels I’ve written – it’s definitely not romantic comedy – and to signal this change, my editor and agent thought a different name was in order. Although I’m not hiding the fact that it’s me, the last thing we wanted was people buying the book, thinking it would be funny, and then being disappointed when it wasn’t.
I’m not ready to give up on Talli yet, though, so I’ll definitely be writing more romantic comedies in the future.
Can you tell us something about Who We Were Before and what inspired you to write it?
Who We Were Before follows a couple two years on from the death of their young son. Their relationship is at a breaking point, and they take a trip to Paris as a last-ditch effort to save it. They become separated shortly after arriving, and they must try to find their way back to each other and the people they were before . . . if that’s even possible.
I had the idea of a lost couple – literally and figuratively – a few years ago, but the rest of the storyline came to me shortly after the death of my father. I’d been toying with the idea of writing something other than rom coms, and after experiencing grief myself, it felt like the right time to be working on this project.
Are you a city or beach girl? If money was no object what would your dream holiday destination be?
I grew up by the ocean, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. That said, I live in central London, so I love the city, the buzz, and all it offers! If money was no object . . . . hmm. Maybe Barcelona? It has the perfect combination of city and beach.
And lastly, if you could invite four famous people to dinner, who would they be and why would you chose them?
Ernest Hemingway would be first on my list. I’m sure he’d have plenty of interesting stories (not to mention I also love his writing!). Next up, I’d ask Margaret Atwood. She’s a fellow Canadian, very generous, and an amazing inspiration. I’d also invite Theresa May because I’m fascinated by her rise to power, and I’d love to learn more her plans for the country. Finally, I’d ask composer Philip Glass, because I adore his music and I’d love to see him play the piano.
ABOUT LEAH MERCER:
Leah Mercer was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada. By the age of thirteen, she’d finished her first novel and received very encouraging rejections from publishers. Leah put writing on hold to focus on athletics, achieving provincial records and becoming a Canadian university champion in the 4 × 400-metre relay. After getting her BA, she turned to writing again, earning a masters in journalism. A few years later she left Canada and settled in London, where she now lives with her husband and their young son. Leah also writes under the name Talli Roland, and her books have been shortlisted at the UK’s Festival of Romance.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leah-Mercer/e/B01FUZSM8G/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1?follow-button-add=B01FUZSM8G_author&