If you’re a 90s grunge music fan, I can guarantee you’ll love The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichol. It’s a fantastically nostalgic tale of 90s music, friendship, and discovering who you are.
I sat down with Lucy to chat about the inspiration for her debut novel, and the slight inspiration from her personal life that ended up in the book.
Where does inspiration come from for you?
I’m really interested in stigma, especially relating to mental health and societal issues. So I get a lot of inspiration from that. I think because I started writing non fiction – both as an author and as a writer in the media, there was always a goal of trying to affect change driving me – making somebody feel less alone, or challenging the perceived shame around a mental health problem, for example.
So much of my work starts there with me asking myself – how can I attempt to change perceptions? With my current book, The Twenty Seven Club, and my non fiction project, A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes, I also drew heavily on nostalgia and music and pop culture – mostly for the fun of it, but also to reflect on how things have changed.
Have you ever based a character on yourself?
Not a full character, but some traits or experiences of a character are based on my experiences. Emma, the protagonist in The Twenty Seven Club loves the same music I loved as a teen (although she’s almost ten years older than I was in 1994 when the book is set) and experiences anxiety – so I drew on my experiences of panic attacks and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. But she’s a very different personality to me – I think she’s probably a bit cooler than I was at that age!
In fact, I’ve probably simply created someone I’d have loved to have hung out with. But she’s certainly not flawless! There are, however, a few highly embarrassing comedy moments in the book that are based on things that have happened to me – but I’m not saying what they are!
Is there anywhere in the world you would love to set a book?
I’ve written two books set in Hull so far! It’s my hometown and I feel that there are so many quirks about the place and so many wonderful vibes that you probably wouldn’t imagine if you hadn’t visited and really got to know the place. However, if I were to venture elsewhere, maybe Melbourne, where I lived for four months in my twenties as I loved that city! Unfortunately, I was pretty miserable while I was there, so maybe going back in my mind and having more fun would be a great idea!
What is your most common method of procrastination?
What snacks do you have closeby when reading?
Peanut butter ice-cream.
How do you work through to overcome writer’s block?
I think if I’m not feeling it I just make myself stop. I can’t write if I’m not in the mood so I just admit defeat and come back to it the next day with fresh eyes and ideas. I think it’s just about reminding yourself that you don’t have to be on top form every day so if you end up writing 76 words of rubbish and decide to give it a break, that’s totally OK.
What’s your elevator pitch for your debut novel?
When Emma hears of the death of Kurt Cobain, her world falls apart. But with her birthday coming up, she’s desperate to keep everybody safe from the dreaded twenty seven club.
What’s your elevator pitch for your WIP?
He’s taken her independence – now she’s trapped behind an open door.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for wannabe authors?
Keep going! I kept hearing other authors saying this and sometimes I felt like it was just going nowhere and that perhaps it didn’t apply to me because I just wasn’t good enough – I’ll never publish a book, I’ll never even finish a book, I sure as hell won’t get an agent, etc, etc. But I reminded myself, even when the rejections came rolling in, to keep going. And I’m so glad I did.
What’s your opinion on NaNoWriMo?
I always thought I was a prolific writer – but I have NO idea how anyone can write a novel in a month. So big respect to those who can! I might give it a go one day, but for now, I’ll just marvel at those who can!