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In Conversation With… Laura Jane Williams

Author Editor - 4 minute read

Tell us everything we need to know about you.

I’m Laura Jane Williams - @superlativelyJ on social – and I’ve written about love, lust, and my feelings everywhere from The Guardian to Buzzfeed, to the TelegraphStylist and more.

I’m the "Talking Point" columnist at RED online, as well as Grazia's ex-dating columnist, and the author of heartbreak memoir BECOMING, and self-help guide ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST.

My first novel is due for publication in 2019.

Tell us one thing that not many people know about you.

I think the thing that surprises people most is that in my first book, a memoir, I smoke quite a lot. I’ve had close friends call me after reading it to say, “Wait! You smoked?!”

In my twenties I learned how to roll my own cigarettes and did it because I thought it made me cool and exotic. I’m the worst kind of ex-smoker, though, because now I am evangelical about how bad it smells and what it does to the skin.

I can’t stand it now!

Tell us about your new book.

I can’t tell you anything about the book I’m writing now, because my publisher would kill me.

But what I can tell you is that I am writing it from a place of joy and playfulness, and I hope it’s a book that people recommend to each other as their 2019 holiday read. That would be the dream.

Where does your inspiration for your books come from?

Living well.

I just framed a quote in my living room that says, “The art of mastering life is the prerequisite for all further forms of expression”. To me that means: don’t hide away from the world to write, but go out, live boldly and fully, and go get the stories you can put on the page.

How important is where you write your book in terms of your writing process? 

My new house has been lovely to write in because my office is at the far end of the kitchen, and has a lot of natural light. I’m nearer my family now, and they pop their heads over the back gate and bring me lasagne, and that is all really helping with wanting to writing a joyful story.

I’m quite religious about being at my desk by 8am, and getting eight hours sleep, and going to hot yoga as much as possible so that I stretch out my otherwise crumpled and hunched-over spine!

I just got a Flexispot cycle desk, too, so that I can stay active even as I write.

How do you chill out after a long day at work?

It depends. Having left London recently I have to plan further in advance to see friends there, but I try to make the effort to drive down for special events – it took me four hours to get home from Secret Cinema with my best friend, but it was worth it!

Otherwise it’s yoga, cooking, or decorating this house that still isn’t finished.

What would be your biggest piece of advice for people who work from home?

I mean, for me it is routine. I like to be at my desk early, because the more I get done in the first part of the day, the more flexibility I have with my afternoons, which is the whole point of being self-employed, to me.

In an office job I had to keep my ass in their chair for 40 hours a week – being my own boss means getting the job done and then peace-ing out to live well… which, like I said, is just as important to my writing as the actual typing part!

What advice would you give to people who want to get into writing?

Actually write. It is staggering to me the number of people who think they will get offered a book deal simply because they “have an idea” for what they think will be “a really great book”. Carry that idea for 80,000 words and then get back to me about your dreams of getting published, please! 

You’ve just moved into a new house – what are your three pieces of advice for anyone who is in the same position?

The best advice I got was to go corner by corner, which has been so helpful to me. I’ve tried to be really deliberate in building this home, and going corner by corner reminds me to slow down and get it right. I think you have to live in a place for a while to figure out what you need and how you want the energy to flow, too. Finally, I keep a folder in Instagram for any inspiration I come across or stuff I like, then when I’m out shopping I pull it up and remind myself of the stuff I am naturally drawn to.

What are you enjoying reading at the moment?

Holly Bourne’s How Do You Like Me now is an important addition to the female narrative. I was embarrassingly late to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, but I can see what all the fuss was about: she’s the most likeable protagonist in a long time. Finally, urm, mine? Can I say mine? Too late. I’ve said it. Mine! Ice Cream for Breakfast is a great read!

Your three top picks from French Connection’s new collection?

1. I just got two large vintage king rugs to layer over each other in my living room.

2. I’ve been wearing the recycled crossbody bag with everything.

3. I’m about to go on vacation and have been eyeing up this simple beach dress, too – it’s in the sale, now!