Linda Green – Q&A

Linda Green’s novels include While My Eyes Were Closed, The Last Thing She Told Me and One Moment. Her latest novel, In Little Stars, was published by Quercus on 2 February 2023.

Linda kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about In Little Stars. 

In Little Stars is a modern-day reimagining of Romeo and Juliet set against the backdrop of a West Yorkshire divided by Brexit. Sylvie and Donna, whose families are on opposite sides of the bitter Brexit divide, get the same train to work in Leeds each day but have never spoken. What they don’t know is that their eldest teenagers are about to meet on the next train and will fall in love, vowing to keep their relationship a secret. And their romance will either unite their families or end in tragedy. 

2. What inspired the book?

Several friends of mine were racially abused and told to ‘go home’ after the EU referendum and then a French friend and her young son were racially abused on a train by four men, leaving him in tears. I wanted to shine a light on what was happening, and I came up with the idea of a reimagined Romeo and Juliet as a powerful and moving way of doing that. 

3. Do you plan before you start writing or do you sit down and see where the words take you?

I’m very much a planner and plotter. I work the whole plot out in my head and by going through it out loud while going for plot walks with my husband. I’ll then write chapter plans and work a lot on characterisation before I sit down to start on chapter one. I don’t believe there is a ‘right way’ to write a novel, it’s very much a case of whatever works for you, and this is my tried and tested way so I’m sticking with it! 

4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that still surprises you?

How long it all takes was one of the big surprises when I first started. Also, how much influence big booksellers and supermarkets can have on the process, including asking for the cover of your book to be changed if they don’t like it (as has happened twice to me).  

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

Walking is my number one relaxation. I live on the edge of beautiful countryside in West Yorkshire and can be walking along the river in the woods within five minutes from my house, which I love. Having said I often end up talking about whatever I’m writing or planning, so it’s not a complete escape! I also love going to the theatre to see other people’s stories brought to life. 

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?

That’s a tough one as I’m not a great re-reader, always preferring to move on to something new. I’d probably say To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee as it’s a book I’ve read as a teenager and in my forties and I saw very different things in it and drew different things from it. I suspect I could go on doing that for some time. 

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?

Nobody’s ever asked about the working titles a novel has had before we agreed on the final one. I can brainstorm novel titles for England (though I have a tendency to resort to eighties pop songs when desperate!). In Little Stars started life as Two Households (I wanted a line from Romeo and Juliet and thought the first two words of the play were hard to beat). However, this was just before Covid hit and it soon became associated with rules about meeting up and press conferences with Prof Chris Whitty, so I had to go back to the drawing board and look for another line! 

About the Book

Two families divided by hate
A love that will not die.

Sylvie and Donna travel on the same train to work each day but have never spoken. Their families are on different sides of the bitter Brexit divide, although the tensions and arguments at home give them much in common.

What they don’t know is that their eldest children, Rachid and Jodie, are about to meet for the first time and fall in love. Aware that neither family will approve, the teenagers vow to keep their romance a secret.

But as Sylvie’s family feel increasingly unwelcome in England, a desire for a better life threatens Rachid and Jodie’s relationship. Can their love unite their families – or will it end in tragedy?

You can buy a copy of the book here.

(This is an affiliate link so I may make a small amount if you buy through it. You can also purchase In Little Stars from your local independent bookshop.)


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