Hi, Hey, Hello!
So it’s Sunday afternoon. Which means I am probably barely out of bed, face masked up and wearing some kind of onesie or other loungewear because I have next to no intention of stepping out my front door. It’s Sunday. The day was made for this and well I have work in the morning so totally (mostly) switching off is my intention for the day. And for most Sundays. Anyway.
The title probably gave today’s post away (as did my maybe hint yesterday). Yes, we are 10 days into the new year and they are back. They honestly don’t leave me alone anymore, but I’m not complaining. Gonna stop rambling now and wish you all a happy rest of the weekend and get on with it.
Now I don’t want you to think that I shirked on my job as an interviewer on this particular day because I’m unprofessional or lazy so let me set the scene.
We arrive on to set with Lizzy Maxwell at 10am and although she is bleary eyed she is very enthusiastic for the chance to style herself today for our photoshoot and that is infectious. We work until 1 when we break for lunch and Lizzy immediately makes a phone call in a quiet corner of the room. Half an hour later and she is checking that she can flit off and fetch her boyfriend. Naturally we have no problem with it and a couple of minutes later Lizzy is walking back in the room deep in conversation with aforementioned boyfriend, Ryan Haines. I have never been fortunate enough to interview Ryan over the years but a few of my colleagues have and all of them report back that he is a gem. And it takes all of a minute for me to realise that’s 100% true. As Lizzy falls into an armchair to eat her lunch Ryan walks around the room and introduces himself to the crew with a firm handshake and a bright smile. In the 10 minutes we have left of our allocated lunch break Ryan leans on the arm of the armchair Lizzy’s on and the pair exist in their own little world. That’s when I was hit by the idea.
An idea that was only solidified when Lizzy started to use Ryan as a soundboard for the 3 looks that she has to shoot before we can move on to the talking part of the day. A task that just highlighted clearly how in sync these two are with one another and how much they trust each other (maybe you just had to be there to fully understand it). And well we’re set to do something that Lizzy has said many times she isn’t a huge fan of. Interviews. So why not try and make it as painless as possible? (It turns out I’m not the first person to have this idea, but I am the first who was, through a singular stroke of luck, able to actually propose the idea to the two of them.) I asked the couple if they wanted to carry out the interview. Lizzy laughed (and we snapped a shot of that, it’s now our cover, lucky we know) and said sure and Ryan shrugged and said he’d “give it a go”.
There were only two questions that I wanted answered definitely in my interview and I told him what they were, but otherwise, once Lizzy was back in her battered white Converse and black skinny jeans/oversized jumper combo I let them get on with it. (Note that I never left the room and any interjection I make will be in brackets and a note I made at the time watching those two together.)
Ryan: So Elizabeth, how are you today?
Lizzy: That was very formal of you dude, what the hell?
R: I’m taking my interviewing job very seriously.
L: Well there’s a first time for everything.
R: How rude.
L: To actually answer your question, I am very good thank you. And how are you?
R: Realising that I am probably never gonna make it as a journalist.
L: Yeah I feel like it it unlikely babe.
R: How did you find today’s photoshoot?
L: It was one of my favourites to be honest. I liked that I got to style myself, it added an element of comfort to the whole thing. Plus you showed up at some point and that made it significantly less stressful.
R: You really don’t like photoshoots do you?
L: I honestly don’t think I can stress to you enough how much I truly despise them. I mean generally speaking I like the end result, but the getting there is just so awkward and odd.
R: I have never understood that.
L: That’s because 9 out of 10 times you have Dan and Max around. You’re not standing there on your own looking like a bit of an idiot. And also you’re a bit of a show off.
R: Very true. What was your favourite look today?
L: You just asked a question that you probably already know the answer to.
R: I have an inkling.
L: I loved the jumpsuit. Red is one of my fave colours when it comes to clothes and I dunno I just really love that particular piece. I wore it to my mum’s wedding years ago and I love how versatile it is and today I decided to really go for it in terms of accessories and stuff and yeah, it was fun.
R: Okay, yeah I was right.
L: Did you really doubt that you were? (Ryan shrugs and Lizzy just shakes her head with a bright smile on her face.)
R: So, new book.
L: Correct, you watched me write it.
R: Is that annoying?
L: Not anymore. Although you’ve gotten better at not hanging around me and my laptop screen when I’m writing. You used to get on my nerves, big time.
R: Is that why stopped coming on tour with us?
L: Almost entirely (she deadpans)
R: But how was that experience?
L: What writing an entire book on the road?
L: (laughs) It was hard to be honest. Everything was so new and exciting. But it became like this weird guilt cycle at one point. I felt bad about seeing the world and taking time to myself but when I was holed up in a corner of a coffee shop, because yes I am that cliche, I felt bad about not seeing the world. So it was hard. I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world because it was life changing, as cheesy as that sounds, but there’s a reason I haven’t done it quite like that again.
R: See at the time I always thought you found the perfect balance between the two. Like I definitely couldn’t have done that because it’s so self-motivated as a profession.
L: That’s why people still have to tell you what to do at 32. (laughs)
L: No, but it got easier as that tour went on to be honest. I had a solid two hours when you were on stage because, honestly, there’s only so many times you can watch the same set. And when you had other various commitments then I could get stuff done and I could just slink away and caffeinate without you which was prime writing time. I got the balance “right” because I wanted to. I had this chance that I didn’t imagine I would ever get and I needed to work with it. I was greedy and wanted both worlds and if I was going to do that then I had to balance the two. But I’ve always been used to keeping up that balancing act of being a person with a life and a person who strived for the best…professionally I guess you could say.
R: The entire time I’ve known you I can attest to that, but that focus has definitely paid off. I have, and probably always will be, crazy proud of everything that you’ve achieved in your…life.
(Lizzy shakes her head almost in disbelief and mouths at him to shut up with slightly wet eyes and starts stroking her wrist)
R: Alright I’ll stop. New book. Tell me all about it.
L: It’s 482 pages.
L: Okay fine. It’s the conclusion to this whole series. Which is in itself terrifying because I’ve, and you I guess, have lived with these characters for like 7 years now. And you’d think I’d be used to this whole process, but you’d be wrong because I am shitting myself about how this is going to be received.
L: Dude, it’s the last one. I’m pretty much gonna have to stand by decisions, good or bad, because there is no next book to redeem them or whatever.
R: That’s a point, did you ever change things because of the reaction you got?
L: Honestly, no. Not really anyway. The main cause for a huge reaction in the world was when I killed Hermes off and I wasn’t gonna go into book 4 like I was “only joking here he is”, because that would be dumb. I’ve always known how that was going. You know I have. It was interesting to see what people though about certain parts and what for people talking, but it didn’t affect my writing at all.
R: Why did Hermes have to die?
L: You know of everyone who got a proof copy of 3 you are the one who reacted the hardest to that. But to answer your question, he had to die because his death is what sparked the whole idea for the series in the first place. The plot was formed around the catalyst that was Hermes’ death. It happened earlier than I thought it would, but it had to happen or I had nothing and it happened when it did because that just felt right.
R: What a morbid starting point.
L: That happens more than you even know babe.
L: Yeah like all the time. I never really see the event happen but I deal with the aftermath a lot in my dreams. I dunno, it’s weird, but I’m used to it now.
R: Learn something new.
L: Well I don’t walk around saying it all the time. I dunno, it was an accidental well guarded secret. You just asked the right questions. See? Maybe a future here after all.
R: Stop lying to me.
L: Sorry, what was your next question?
R: What is your favourite song of mine?
L: You mean your band’s?
R: Yeah, yeah. Us.
L: Ummmm, that’s hard. You have a lot of songs. Maybe Trip?
R: Why are you asking me?
L: I didn’t mean to. Trip. I’m gonna say Trip at this moment in time.
R: Interesting choice.
L: Why, what did you think I was going to say?
R: Limited to be honest.
L: Oh yeah that’s a great song. But it’s a close second to Trip at the moment.
R: This has been quite the time for revelations.
L: There have only been two. Next question.
R: I can’t think of one! See, no future.
L: Alright I have a book related question for you. What’s your favourite of mine?
R: The first one. Not because I think it’s your best one or anything, because they keep getting better and stuff, but I was there from the moment you came up with it. And the joy it caused you and how for ages it consumed your every free moment and watching it all come together for you was one of my favourite things I have ever witnessed. Plus it was the coolest thing ever watching you get your hands on a physical copy for the first time and seeing it in bookshops everywhere was incredible. I just loved the whole experience of it all, so it holds a special place in my heart.
L: Well that’s…an…
R: Uh huh. But I’ll ask a question again now seeing as that is what I should be doing. Who’s your favourite character?
L: What, that I’ve written?
L: I have always really loved writing Lyndon. He is just this huge exaggeration of a bunch of people I hung out with a few times back in uni who turned out to not be that great and I just love getting to write all this stuff that is so not me. Plus he comes with a lot of great dialogue and tension and that’s always fun to try and figure out when I’m writing it.
R: Do you make a conscious effort with your characters. I mean you’re books are very inclusive.
L: Because that’s life. Outside of defining features that some of the characters have I have never explicitly described what they look like. Readers can cast them how the want. I love seeing fanart and the way people interpret these characters. In terms of LGBT characters I didn’t just think “oh I should make this character gay or bi or asexual just for the sake of representation” and it never happened flippantly, because again it’s life and their relationships are part of their lives and I wasn’t doing it to say “oh hey I checked the gay box off” because that’s just hugely disrespectful. I’ve always wanted by books to be character driven and there is so much more to people then their sexuality and the colour of their skin.
R: I know I’ve had a lot of people say to me that they love your characters and how they come across as so real.
L: That must be so ego-crushing for you. People coming up to you and not talking about how amazing you are.
R: Yes, it wounds me every single time someone dares to remind me that you are a billion times more amazing then me.
L: Oh stop!
R: Okay, my final question for you Elizabeth is as follows. The hardest moment for you to write in your entire writing career?
L: Why??? Gosh, I hate you. I have so many. Actually killing Hermes sucked even though I’ve known that was a forgone conclusion since its inception. Breaking up Tess and Nat was hard actually but I was also writing it at a pretty hard time in my life. Oh no wait, and this is such a ridiculous, maybe totally obvious, answer but the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write was the opening of the first one. Just knowing that they were the first words that people were gonna read with my name attached to them. I kept questioning every single thing I was writing. It ended up being the last thing I finalised, I was happy with literally the whole book but the first 500 words. I’m still not happy with them to be honest. I have rewritten that first page in my head monthly since it was published.
R: Well I think we made it to the end then.
L: I think we did. Well done.
R: Thank you kindly babe.
L: You are quite welcome Ryan.
(There’s a flurry of people packing things away and Lizzy and Ryan folding clothes away. When they leave it’s with smiles and bright goodbyes…and two loosely linked pinkies.)
And because it’s necessary, parentheses count: 12. See you tomorrow!
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