At the end of last month, Nina Whyle’s 4th chick-lit book was released, but who is Nina Whyle? Ot better yet, who are Nina Whyle? Because in fact, Nina Whyle is simply a pseudonym for the writing duo, Nina and Clare. Today we’re lucky enough to find out a little more about them…
Can you tell us a little more about Nina Whyle?
Nina: We are a writing duo. We’ve been friends for 14 years and writing together for the last 4 years. I used to work in the film industry and left to have a baby. I had this vision that I would finally get around to writing that novel – you know while the baby was sleeping! I really didn’t have a clue!
One night I was talking to Clare on the phone, she was living in Denmark and I was probably, no definitely, complaining about lack of “me” time and at this rate I’d be finishing the novel five years from now when I had a light bulb moment – hey, we should write it together! I knew Clare (Whyle) was frustrated in her current job and she too wanted to write something other than marketing materials for fine jewellery. As neither of us had much spare time it wouldn’t matter because together we would keep each other motivated and wouldn’t it be so much fun! That’s exactly what we did; we emailed the manuscript back and forth, writing in our evenings and weekends until we eventually had our finished manuscript. It wasn’t all plain sailing, we learnt that we should never EVER proof read our own work but we were utterly stunned when Moving Up On Manolos reached no.11 in the Amazon Charts. However, sharing the profit on a £1.99 eBook is never going to line our pockets with gold or pay the phone bills, let alone our penchant for nice wine. So writing continues to fit around our day jobs (and yes I consider motherhood a full time job), egged on by kind reviews and our desire to write fun, romantic reads.
Clare: Over the last four years we’ve written and self-published three books however, with our latest book, My DisOrganised Life we approached So Vain Books because we felt we had lost our way with self-publishing and didn’t really know how to reach new readers. We needed the expertise of a publishing house and so were delighted when So Vain Books wanted to publish our book.
Can you tell us what it’s like to write together?
Nina: We chat almost everyday and with the chat comes an idea and then we just start writing. We tend to leave each other notes on the manuscript where we think the story should go and sometimes leave a smattering of ‘xxx’ because the word is on the tip of our tongue but we can’t think of it. Then the other will come along and fill it in – it’s like a sixth sense of knowing what the other wants to say.
Clare: I’m chuffed that we can say we’ve written four books and that we’re done it together. Having each other at the end of a phone is motivational, and to be honest a bit of a giggle too, which makes the whole process much more fun and surprisingly productive! The idea that you weren’t sure at the beginning of a chapter suddenly becomes the best thing the other has ever heard. The support (i.e. the chatter times) creates it’s own impetus. Golden Rule though: when it sucks, say it sucks. There’s no room for being too precious, that’s how most partnerships really work.
What’s to come from Nina Whyle in 2016?
Nina: Book number 5, hopefully. We’ve just started writing it. We’ve also finished writing a screenplay together and have started mapping out a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Trilogy.
What led you to write My Disorganised Life?
Clare: It started with two questions. The first question – What if you did something really embarrassing and it was caught on video and that video went viral?
Before the internet, if you did something embarrassing maybe just a handful of people witnessed it but nowadays, someone will pull out their mobiles and film it and suddenly its gone viral in a matter of seconds.
Nina: The second question – What do I want to do with my life?
Ok, that’s a really difficult question for most of us and it’s something our protagonist, Eve tries to figure out. This leads me nicely on to list, if in doubt, write a list. Write down all the things you want to do because goals motivate you into action and give you a sense of direction. It’s what motivates Eve and suddenly she’s got a vision for her future, a list called, Things to do while I’m still twenty something.
Clare and I are both incessant list-makers. We love nothing better than crossing something off, we’ve even been known to write something down on a list after we’ve completed it, just to feel a rush when we cross it off. Lists give you a sense of achievement, control and can make sense of the small and mundane things but also make sense of the most important things in life.
Clare: In all our books we want to get women out of messes because let’s face it we all face obstacles in our lives, both professionally and personally. We all make mistakes and wish we hadn’t: picking the wrong guy, working for a tyrant boss, wanting to better ourselves. The trick is to surround yourself with a good set of girlfriends who can help you see the funny side and will get you through those tough times. It’s one of the reasons why we always have strong female friendships in all our books because we both know how lucky we are to have friends like this in our lives.
What does love mean to you?
Nina: In my twenties I dated guys, some good some not so good, but I came to be grateful for the memories because when I did find love I knew what I wanted it to be: laughter, trust, passion (there must be passion) and friendship.
Clare: There’s love all about and then there’s the one that knocks you right out of your socks into hyperspace. Go with the latter!
What does romance mean to you?
Nina: I love hearing how people fell in love, what were they thinking when they first clapped eyes on that person? Was it a deep, strong emotional desire to connect with that person or did they loathe them only to fall in love later?
Clare: I was supposed to be editing When Life Goes Pop! (sorry Nina) when a friend wanted a coffee. We met in a country pub in the afternoon (cough) and then I was out, out! (Micky Flanagan style). Hooked up with someone that had a Bichon Frise dog (love small cute fluffy things) walked around the corner to the Catherine Wheel in Goring, asked someone who was standing by the door if it was okay to bring my newly found French pedigree dog in.
He said “NO.”
I pointed at him and said, ‘I like you.’
He found me after my pub dinner, walked me home and proposed two weeks afterwards. Risky to a girl who said she would never get married! That was my hyperspace moment. I felt in a different dimension with him. So said, yes.
Tell us something we might be surprised to learn about you?
Nina: I broke my pinky finger and now it’s crooked.
Clare: All my imaginary animals have names, characters and often speak.
It was a pleasure hearing from both Nina and Clare today. Nina Whyle’s ‘My Disorganised Life’ is available to buy now, so what are you waiting for?