The Who, What, When, Where and Why with Ali McNamara

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By Jade Craddock

Ali McNamara burst on to the writing scene eight years ago with her smash-hit debut From Notting Hill with Love… Actually and since then has a become a firm favourite for readers all over the world. With her ninth novel, Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van, publishing today, Ali has stopped by to answer our Who, What, When, Where and Why, and to offer a tantalising extract from the new novel. ♥

1. Who has been the most important person in your writing journey?

That’s a really hard question to answer, because there’s been so many people that have been influential in different ways. But I would have to say my agent, Hannah Ferguson. Hannah was the first person to not only see, but was prepared to act on the potential in what I’d written (My first Notting Hill book.) We’ve been together ten years this year, and without her foresight and dedication I might never have been published.

2. What motivates you to write?

My publisher’s deadlines! No seriously, I’ve always had a very creative mind, I put it down to being an only child, I just never thought that all the stories I was making up in my head might one day be enjoyed by others too!

3. When did you first start writing?

When I wrote some fan fiction on Ronan Keating’s website way back in 2002. It was so popular that the website used to regularly crash through over use, and so enjoyed that we were able to sell the three stories I wrote and raise over 1000euros for a cancer awareness charity that Ronan was involved in.

4. Where do you write?

In my office at the back of my house, or on a sunny day when I can’t bear to be indoors, on my laptop in the shade in my garden.

5. Why did you write this book?

I’ve always loved vintage VW campervans – there’s something very appealing and magical about them. They all seem like they’d have their own personalities and are always adored by their owners.

Although I don’t own one myself, I’d love to one day. May be that could be my mobile writing office then!


September 2001

‘What ya listening to?’ the new girl asks, sitting down next to me on one of the benches that surround the schoolyard.

I look at her suspiciously, wondering if I should say. I usually got teased mercilessly when I admitted what was playing in my earphones, but something in the expression on this girl’s face tells me she might understand.

‘Wham!’ I say hesitantly, still not trusting her or my judgement completely. ‘Actually it’s a compilation of eighties music.’

‘Ooh, I love eighties music!’ she exclaims happily. ‘No one at my old school got it. They were all into the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and’ – she pulls a face – ‘Westlife.’

I feel her pain.

‘I’m Daisy,’ she says, introducing herself. ‘I’m new here.’

‘I know,’ I tell her. ‘I’m Ana.’ I shyly offer her one of the earphones. Daisy takes it and in that moment we begin a friendship that will last for the next seventeen years.

Until the day it ended.

Ali McNamara is a writer and author of nine novels. The latest of which, Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van, will be published in June 2018. Her debut, From Notting Hill with Love…Actually, the first of three ‘Notting Hill’ books, became an instant bestseller. Her novels Step Back in Time and Letters from Lighthouse Cottage were nominated for the Romantic Novel of the Year. Ali lives in Cambridgeshire with her family and her beloved Labrador dogs. When she isn’t writing, she likes to travel, read and people watch, more often than not accompanied by a good cup of coffee! Her dogs, and a love of exercise keep her sane!

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