Author Interview: Cally Taylor + Win a signed copy of Heaven Can Wait!

I recently read and reviewed Heaven can Wait (read my review here) by Cally Taylor and absolutely loved it! If you haven’t already read it, then I really recommend you do! Today I’m pleased to welcome Cally, who has been kind enough to give some brilliant answers to my questions!

Hi Cally, and thanks so much for dropping by! Firstly could you introduce yourself?

Hello! I’m Cally, I’m thirty-six and I live in Brighton. I wanted to be an author from the age of eight but it wasn’t until 2007 that I finally started, and finished, writing a novel. That novel was ‘Heaven Can Wait’ and it was published by Orion in October 2009.

Your first book Heaven Can Wait is certainly unique! Where did you get the inspiration from to write it?

A couple of things inspired me to write ‘Heaven Can Wait’ – the sudden death of a friend in 2006 and a comment from my then boyfriend about how long I’d wait before I moved on if he died (he was a chirpy kind of guy!). An image of a woman, madly in love and about to be married, popped into my head. What would she do if she died the night before her wedding day and had the chance to return to earth to be with her fiancé? That woman became Lucy, my main character.

Lucy is such a fun character and I loved her ditzy side (I relate!) is she based on you or anyone you know?

Lucy is a completely fictional character and much sweeter than I am but we’re both romantics and both share a bit of a ditzy side! I’m always embarrassing myself one way or another but at least these days I can console myself by thinking, “Hey, that would make a really funny bit in a novel!” A couple of the embarrassing things that happen to Lucy in ‘Heaven Can Wait’ actually happened to me but I’m not admitting which ones!

I also found Claire’s story incredibly touching, how did she come about?

In the same way that I share a few traits with Lucy I also share a few traits with Claire. When I was a teenager I was horribly grumpy, wore far too much black and was quite insecure. I used those emotions as a basis for Claire’s character but she’s a lot more sarcastic than I ever was and made extreme decisions and choices that I’d never have considered. I’m so glad you found her story touching. I grew really fond of her as I was writing ‘Heaven Can Wait’.

I love asking this question (sorry!)… If Heaven Can Wait was to be made into a movie, which actors would play: Lucy, Anna and Archie?

I’d absolutely love to see ‘Heaven Can Wait’ as a film! I waver over who I’d choose to play the main characters but think I’d pick Rachel Weisz as Lucy, Jim Sturgess as Dan and Elijah Wood as Archie (he’d have to put on an English accent though!).

If you had the choice would you choose heaven or ghost? And if ghost…who/where would you haunt?

Oooh, brilliant question! I’d only choose to be a ghost if there was a chance of getting to heaven eventually. I’d also want to be able to move around a bit. I think I’d get really bored if I was stuck in one house for eternity! If I could be a ghost for a bit I’d probably sneak around trying to uncover conspiracy theories (like whether there are aliens in Area 51 and whether Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana were murdered). I’d also spy on people like the Queen and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to see what they get up to when they’re out of the public eye!

Can you tell us about your route to publication?

After I’d edited ‘Heaven Can Wait’ I bought a copy of The Writers and Artists Yearbook and looked through it for agents who represented chicklit. I drew up a shortlist of six agencies and sent them a covering letter, a synopsis and the first three chapters of my novel (or whatever they asked for). The Darley Anderson Agency was the first agency to ask for the full manuscript of my novel. I received some fantastic feedback, did a bit more work on my novel and signed with them about a year later. A month after that Orion offered me a two book contract. Since then my agent has gone on to sell the foreign rights to Germany, Spain, Russia, Brazil, Hungary, Czech Republic, Taiwan and China

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Read a lot. And don’t just read for pleasure – read books you love to try and work out how the author kept you so gripped and/or make you laugh/cry. Read bad books too so you can learn what doesn’t work! I also bought lots of ‘how to’ books on writing a novel (I’ve listed my favourites on my website – – under the ‘links’ tab) and learnt some important lessons on structuring a novel, pace and character.

The most important tip is to actually write. It’s easy (and a lot of fun) to dream about holding your published novel in your hands but that won’t happen unless you sit down day after day and actually write the thing! It’s easy to get disheartened or lose interest in your novel when you’re slogging away at it day after day but every published author I know feels the same way. My motto is ‘First drafts are supposed to be rubbish.’ It’s the rewriting and polishing you do after you’ve written that first draft that turns it into a book. Finally, make sure you get feedback on what you’ve written before you approach agents. Don’t rely on friends and family who are likely to say nice things to spare your feelings. Join a writing group (a local group or online) and ask for honest criticism. It can really sting at first but it’ll make you a better writer.

When you’re not writing, who do you like to read? Favourite books/authors?

I read everything and anything! My favourite chicklit author ever is Lisa Jewell and I devoured ‘The Truth About Melody Browne’ in a couple of days when it came out last year. I also read all the Twilight books. This year I’ve read ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls, ‘Twenties Girl’ by Sophie Kinsella and am currently reading ‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’ by Muriel Barbery. I’ve got a huge pile of books waiting to be read on my bookshelf and am itching to start reading ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ by Steig Larsson because I’ve heard great things about it.

What’s next for Cally Taylor?

I’ve just received the edits for my second novel from my editor and am about to start work on them. Hopefully that novel, currently untitled, will be out in January 2011. Once the edits are out of the way I’m going to start work on my third novel. I can’t wait!

I Can’t wait for the new book! Thanks so much for answering my questions.

Now Your Chance To Win!

‘What would I do without you, Lucy Brown?’ he said, and kissed me softly. I held his face in my hands and kissed him back. I felt that life just couldn’t get any more perfect. And I was right, it wouldn’t. By the end of the next day, I’d be dead. Lucy is about to marry the man of her dreams – kind, handsome, funny Dan – when she breaks her neck the night before their wedding. Unable to accept a lifetime’s separation from her soulmate, Lucy decides to become a ghost rather than go to heaven and be parted from Dan. But it turns out things aren’t quite as easy as that. When Lucy discovers that Limbo is a grotty student-style house in North London she’s less than thrilled. Especially after meeting her new flatmates: grumpy, cider-swilling EMO-kid Claire; and Brian, a train-spotter with a Thomas the Tank Engine duvet and a big BO problem. But Lucy has a more major problem on her hands – if she wants to become a ghost and be with Dan she has to complete an almost impossible task. How the hell does a girl like Lucy find a girlfriend for the dorkiest man in England? IT geek Archie’s only passions are multi-player computer games and his Grandma. But Lucy only has twenty-one days to find him love. And when she discovers that her so-called friend Anna is determined to make a move on the heart-broken, vulnerable Dan, the pressure is really on…

Cally has kindly offered to send a signed copy of her novel, Heaven Can Wait to two lucky winners!

This contest is open to everyone, you don’t have to be a follower or tweet about it (although obviously I’d be grateful if you did!)

But to make things interesting, I’m offering an extra entry if you leave a comment telling me who you would haunt if you were a ghost and why! (this is entirely optional, you still get one entry just filling the form in below)

Competition closes at midnight Thursday 15th April and the winners will be picked at random and notified by email.

Good Luck!

31 thoughts on “Author Interview: Cally Taylor + Win a signed copy of Heaven Can Wait!

  1. Oh, can I haunt a fictional character? I'd love to haunt Angela Clark from Lindsey Kelk's books, she seems to get up to so much fun and I could join her and get to travel. And it would mean I'd be in New York! 😀


  2. This is a tough one. I think I would haunt the queen to see what she does all day? Whether she has a normal life sometimes like the rest of us just chilling watching telly or whether she sits on a throne with her crown on ordering people about. I would also want to haunt my family just to check on them. xx


  3. I would haunt the 3 girls who bullied me at school relentlessly and made my life hell for 3 year. It was 35 years ago but had a profound effect on my life.

    Jude Dunn

    @jadlgw on twitter


  4. Oh, I was just saying to someone the other day I'd love to be invisible and spy on someone but I can't remember who! So for now, I'd have to say I'd haunt singer Paloma Faith, she seems to be a fun one!


  5. Totally loved your questions, and Taylor sound like a fun person to hang out with. I also read your review which was also terrific. I will definitely be getting this book if I don't win (fingers-crossed)


  6. I would haunt my children (but only in a nice way!) to see what they were doing in life and hopefully act as a kind of guardian angel!
    Thanks for the giveaway – your book sounds great and I shall look out for it.


  7. Thank you for the interview and contest!^O^ If I were a ghost, I would be a traveler ghost! 😛 After a bit it's boring to always haunt the same person! >_< Maybe I could begin with the people I love and then move on to other interesting people!


  8. What a great review and author interview! It looks like a great book.
    I would definitely want to “haunt” and keep track of my hubby. I have a sneaking suspicion I am the only one that empties the trash under the sink and a few other odd jobs…wouldn't want him buried! He may need gentle reminders about certain things!


  9. If I had to become a ghost (I'd rather not :P) I would rather haunt a place than a person… maybe Disneyland? Ghosts can have fun at Disneyland right? =D


  10. Great interview! I'm really curious about Heaven Can Wait now!

    If I were a ghost…I would probably spy on as many people as possible! I would of course check in with my family from time to time, but I would also read the latest editions of US Magazine and then see for myself if the rumors were true! 😉


  11. This book sounds really fun – kinda like 'Just Like Heaven', but with a really cool twist. I'd love a chance to win & read this!!!

    One person to haunt … My first serious crush, to try and figure out why his brain doesn't work as it should, haha ;o)


  12. Great interview & I love the sound of this book! I'm not sure I'd really want to be a ghost but if I was I'd probably haunt my friends and family. Not in a scary way though – more to keep an eye on them & see what they're getting up to :o)


  13. who you would haunt if you were a ghost and why?

    I think I wold haunt first my boyfriend, to see how he's doing and because I'll miss him soo much. Then my family (mother & father)…just checking on them.

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway. This book is on my to-read list, hehe.


  14. Oh, I would definitely haunt some or all of my favourite see what they're up to and knowing what happens in the books before everyone else does..that would be amazing 🙂


  15. oh i would totally just exist as i would alive. Of course i'd get up to more trouble because they wont know its me. I'd be spying on all the celebs and famous places plus my family.


  16. I would haunt my mother in law-she has so many antiques over every surface.She would get annoyed with my little boys for picking them up to admire them and not quite putting them back exactly. So I would have fun moving all the knick-naks into the wrong places! oooh fun.


  17. I loved the interview!And I liked the fact that Cally wants to move around as a ghost before going to heaven eventually!
    The book sounds great!Please count me in for this!


  18. If I were a ghost I'm sorry to say I'd haunt my mother in law….terriable I know but I'd love to see her jump like how she makes me jump at anythhing.oops Reading back that's aufull 🙂
    thanks. For this great oppertunity xx


  19. That's a fun question: Who would you haunt?

    Honestly, ideally, I wouldn't become a ghost. It just doesn't sound appealing to me (and for some reason I suspect I'd constantly be cold)… but if we put that aside, I'd probably keep an eye on my family, of course, but also check up on some writers I love & see about their next books/how they create. It would also be fun to get into museums like the Louvre, etc. and go see the Eiffel Tower… after all I'd have all the time in the world & wouldn't have to pay airfare. : )


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