Nicole Kennedy – Q&A

After Paris by Nicole Kennedy was published by Aria Fiction on 6 April 2023.

Nicole kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about After Paris.

After Paris is about three best friends who, having met in Paris in unusual circumstances in their teens, spend a weekend together in Paris each year. This year the cracks are starting to show and they each leave Paris on separate Eurostars, believing the other two friends have ghosted them. We find out what really happened that weekend. It’s about growing up and growing apart and is an homage to female friendship.

2. What inspired the book?

My first novel, Everything’s Perfect, explored the beginning of a friendship, and finding authentic friendships in an increasingly online world. With After Paris I wanted to look at the end of friendships and the limits of long-term friendships in particular: their elasticity and endurance in the context of challenges which many of us may face. And I wanted to put it to the test, asking: with everything stacked against it, could twenty years of friendship be undone in one weekend?

Before writing I worked as a solicitor and spent four months as a trainee working in Paris. The setting is inspired by my time there (and was a welcome opportunity to reminisce when writing After Paris during lockdown!)

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

I like to have a rough plan which develops as I go along. I didn’t plan my first book and had to spend a lot of time editing it afterwards before it went on submission. I’m always keen not to repeat that process!

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

The lack of transparency with regards to author earnings and how little the average author earns (which seems to be in stark contrast to the general public’s expectations!).

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

I have three sons so when I’m not writing I spend a lot of time driving round in circles dropping them to various activities and play dates. I enjoy hanging out with them and my husband, exercising, reading books and seeing friends.

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

Oh, good question! I think it would have to be Pride and Prejudice. My ultimate comfort read.

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?

‘How do you name your characters?’ I almost always name my characters with the first name that pops into my head, often someone I know or have met. I know if I procrastinated on it I would never get past names and actually write anything so the first name goes in but I’m often paranoid any friends who read it will think it’s been done on purpose. So this question would set the record straight!

About the book

Three best friends. A weekend away. And a whole lot of baggage.

Alice, Nina and Jules have been best friends for twenty years. They met in Paris and return there once a year, to relive their youth, leave the troubles of home behind, and indulge in each other’s friendship and warmth. But this year, aged thirty-nine, the cracks in their relationships are starting to show…

After their weekend together in Paris, the three women never speak again. Each claims the other two ghosted them. But is there more to the story?

You can buy a copy of After Paris here.

(This is an affiliate link so I may earn a small amount should you buy through it. You can also purchase After Paris from your local independent bookshop.)

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