Jodie Chapman is the author of Another Life which was published by Michael Joseph on 1 April 2021.
Jodie kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about Another Life.
Another Life tells the story of Nick and Anna who fall in love on the cusp of adulthood, but Anna comes from a very different life to Nick. She’s grown up preparing for the end of the world, in a tightly-controlled existence, and ultimately this comes between them. Years later, a tragedy draws Anna back into Nick’s life and they must choose between their love and the promises made to others along the way.
It is a love story, but in every sense of the word. The book deals with romantic love, but also familial love and the love and respect we have for ourselves. It is very much a story about love in all its forms.
2. What inspired the book?
The sibling relationship between Nick and his brother Sal was originally inspired by my own two sons. I remember watching them play together when they were tiny, and wondering how their bond and dynamic would change over the coming years. The love story between Nick and Anna was partly inspired by my own upbringing as a Jehovah’s Witness, and although their story is fictional, I remember the conflict within my teenage self about my feelings for unbelievers.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I spend a long time on the gestation period of a book, so spend many months (if not years) thinking of the story and characters. When I begin a first draft, I have a fairly clear idea of what will happen, but I try not to be too rigid. The fun of creativity is to experiment and follow your intuition, and I allow the characters to guide the story to a certain extent.
4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that surprised you?
I did not expect to find publication such an emotional rollercoaster. As a debut author, I had no idea what to expect, so it has been a real learning curve in terms of dealing with highs and lows.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I’m a huge film fan and draw a lot of inspiration from cinema. Of course, I also love to read, and few things make me happier than reading outside in the garden with a fresh coffee by my side. I am lucky to have beautiful views of distant hills from my garden, and the sight of the horizon instantly relaxes me.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
Probably The Forsyte Saga. I liken it to EastEnders with corsets. There are so many characters and scandals and love affairs, and I have an obsession with Victorian London, which is the setting for the book. I think I’d always find something new with each reread.
7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
Q. What is your idea of success? A. To be completely in love with my life.
About the Book
Nick and Anna work the same summer job at their local cinema. Anna is mysterious, beautiful, and from a very different world to Nick.
She’s grown up preparing for the end of days, in a tightly-controlled existence where Christmas, getting drunk and sex before marriage are all off-limits.
So when Nick comes into her life, Anna falls passionately in love. Their shared world burns with poetry and music, cigarettes and conversation – hints of the people they hope to become.
But Anna, on the cusp of adulthood, is afraid to give up everything she’s ever believed in, and everyone she’s ever loved. She walks away, and Nick doesn’t stop her.
Years later, a tragedy draws Anna back into Nick’s life.
But rekindling their relationship leaves Anna and Nick facing a terrible choice between a love that’s endured decades, and the promises they’ve made to others along the way.
About the Author
Jodie Chapman has spent twelve years working as a photographer and lives in Kent. In 2016, she was accepted on the Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course. Another Life is her first novel.