Sunday Times bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane was born in Scotland in 1976 and her unnecessarily confusing name is pronounced Vah-Ree. After some efforts at journalism, she started writing fiction and her first book, You Had Me At Hello, was an instant success. She’s since sold nearly 2 million copies of her books. Mad About You is her eighth novel and she lives in Nottingham with a man and a cat.
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What’s the strangest thing you searched for on the internet for your novel?
Haha! Oh God – there’d be so much. It’s not strange but it’s absolutely typical, yesterday I searched ‘How do you know if someone’s left a WhatsApp group.’ Today’s tech provides so many plot lines but because everyone (pretty much) has a smartphone, you can’t really get it wrong. I Google character names to check they’re not inadvertently well-known people (especially for anything bad). Historically I guess I must’ve searched full size fox costume fancy dress rental and whether or not a certain bar has a toilet window you can crawl through….
What book (or author) made you fall in love with the romance genre?
Easy. Jane Austen. The way she includes so much wry social observation and insight into human nature, alongside the romance, made me realize it is a genre of endless scope. If rom coms are really about how we treat each other and why, she is the master of describing that.
What is your favorite trope? Why?
Ooh what a great question! OK so it’s obvious I love fake dating, as I covered it in my book If I Never Met You. It’s a smaller trope, but done well, I can’t resist – when either main character mistakenly thinks the other has fallen for / is dating another. There is absolutely nothing like rivalry for sharpening feelings, in an agonizing way. Even if I’m the writer, that fear invests me that much more. (And if anyone thinks that’s cheesy, it was good enough for Jane Austen in Persuasion, haters!)
It’s the morning after, and a lover is making your main character the perfect breakfast in bed. What is it?
A stack of toast with Marmite, using the end bits of the loaf. In my books I don’t do ‘perfect’ so there’d be no smoked salmon, eggs and Mimosas, sorry ☺
What book are you reading currently?
The Premonitions Bureau by Sam McKnight. It’s a true story, non-fiction, about a department of a mental hospital in 1960s Britain set up to investigate people claiming to have psychic premonitions. It could not be more my thing.
The rapid-fire question: Would you rather spend your summer back backing across Europe or relaxing on a beach at a resort on an exotic island?
I am not a beach holiday girl but you said the dread words “back packing” so you leave me with no choice but to go relax on exotic island, I’m afraid…