The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp tells the story of Molly and her endeavours to transform lazy and inattentive men into perfect boyfriend materiel. You can see my review here and author Poppy Dolan has kindly agreed to answer a few questions.
When did you realise you wanted to become a writer?
I always loved writing stories and poems at primary school, and then did some creative writing courses while at university (think awkward, tortured poetry and you'd not be far off). But it wasn't until I was in my twenties that I realised the thing I wanted to write was the thing I loved to read: romantic comedies.
What was your inspiration for The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp?
Well, bad boyfriends! Those I've had in the past, those I've heard urban myths about because they were so bad... but the things is, these rubbish boyfriends aren't all bad people, they just get things wrong sometimes. I wondered what would happen if I let a group women loose on a gaggle of disappointing men, sorting out their wardrobes, beer bellies and dating technique. It was a nice daydream!
Who was your favourite character to write?
It has to be my heroine, Molly. She's bossy, talkative, kind and caring (the bossy bit she definitely got from me) and in trying to sort out bad boyfriends, she realises she's not exactly a great catch or so wonderful at the dating malarkey herself...
You self-published The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp. How have you found the experience? Was it easier/harder than you imagined? And were there any problems you didn't anticipate?
Self-publishing has been a rollercoaster, but definitely a good one. It is pretty much a full-time job in itself, as you don't have a publishing house behind you, so you have to motivate yourself to meet deadlines, find freelancers, double check every detail and get your book out there to readers. I've learnt an absolute tonne of great stuff (some trial and lots of error) so I'd recommend it to anyone who's thinking of trying it for themselves, but do be prepared for a long slog. My dream is still to be traditionally published one day, so fingers crossed and touch wood.
What advice would you give to other writers who are thinking of self-publishing their book?
Don't rush into anything, although it's tempting - take your time and do your research. Go on recommendations of the people who've been there and done that. Most of all, join the online writing community wherever you come across it: forums, Facebook, Twitter. Writers tend to be the warmest, most helpful and astute people, in my experience, and always talkative. And Twitter is also brilliant for celeb gossip, of course, so not to be missed.
If you were stranded on a desert island with only one book (conveniently) about your person, what would you like it to be (bearing in mind you may be stranded for months on end with nothing else to read)?
I don't think I could ever point to one book as my favourite of all time, forever and ever amen - that's just way too much pressure! But I might cheat and say I'd take a huuuuuuuge fat notepad to doodle things, write notes to myself and keep a diary of desert island life. Also, knowing what a sieve-like memory I have, I'd have to use it to write myself little to-do lists: Go fishing. Build a fire. Scream for help. I do love a good list.
Finally, what are you working on at the moment?
My new book is called None in the Oven and it's about relationships, baking and finally growing up. I'm a big chunk into the first draft and really loving it, so hope to have it ready to publish by the end of 2012.
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Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Poppy. I like to do a bit of (amateurish) baking myself so your new book sounds fab.
The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp is out now.