Book: 99 Percent Mine
Photos by Katie Saarikko
Author: Sally Thorne
The Hating Game was named in the top 20 romance novels of 2016 by the Washington Post and was a top ten finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards romance category. It has been cited as a book that has reinvigorated the romantic comedy genre.
Sally Thorne lives in Canberra, Australia and spends her days writing, reading, drinking cups of tea and obeying the every whim of Delia the Pug and her paint Quarter Horse, Louie. She lives with her husband in a house filled with vintage toys, too many cushions, and a haunted dollhouse.”
I’m still learning how I work and what my triggers and blocks to creativity are. They say the second book is the hardest to write because there are expectations attached, and I would definitely agree with that. 99 Percent Mine was really hard for me to write.
2. In the book, “99 Percent Mine”, the character Darcy hits a crossroads that many people deal with, going for their dream outcome (in this case going for Tom) vs. settling for “good enough”. What made this such an exciting topic for you to address?
I just really loved the idea of a girl who thought a guy was so perfectly wonderful in every way that she had no hope of winning his heart.
At the beginning of the book, she believes he’s still engaged to his long-term girlfriend, and she’s fine with that because she knows he’s happy and looked after. Darcy isn’t interested in breaking them up, and she’s fine with settling for less than Tom.
When Darcy finds out the engagement is off, she has to face the possibility that he could be hers, if she just made the scary leap.
It was even scarier for her because she’s known Tom since they were eight years old and a very long friendship is at stake, plus her twin brother’s objections. It was fun to write that emotional roller coaster for Darcy and portray those strong feelings.
3. “99 Percent Mine” has all the makings of fantastic rom-com, if you were casting your book as a movie who would you want to play Darcy, Tom and Jamie?
I would love the singer Halsey to try her hand at acting in the role of Darcy. I never have a clue who I’d cast in the male roles. Maybe a couple of handsome unknowns!
4. What are some rom-com’s that have inspired your writing?
5. Do you see yourself in Darcy? If so, in what ways and if not, why so?
I’m very different from Darcy. I’m generally quite indirect and polite, but I’ve always wanted to be really badass and self-assured. I had to work on her dialogue a lot because I was drafting with a lot of question marks. I realized that she’s the type to just make flat (and often outrageous) statements. She was really fun to write and let me try out that bad-girl fantasy.
6. What do you hope readers take from “99 Percent Mine”?
I hope they enjoy a story with a strong female protagonist who displays so many traits often reserved for the male ‘hero’ in love stories. Darcy is protective, jealous, passionate and would fight to the death for her beloved Tom, the man she measures all others against.
7. When did you realize you had a knack for writing love stories?
I tried writing my own novelization of The Princess Bride when I was around eight years old on a typewriter. I was thunderstruck by the ‘as you wish’ scene and really wanted to write it all down and hold on to those feelings.
It was the first time I realized that words could have an alternate meaning. I’ve been reading love stories ever since.
I tried writing Twilight fanfiction in 2008 as an experiment in getting feedback on my writing style and fell in love with how fun it was to create and have readers. It was a great time.
The Hating Game was written as a gift for a friend; she loved it and encouraged me to try to make it something more.
8. What was your writing process like for “99 Percent Mine”?
18 months + of doubting myself, eating carbohydrates, crying into my keyboard, giving up and then trying again the next day. It was blood, sweat, and tears. My first book The Hating Game was a breeze to write because I didn’t even know I was writing a book, and it was very successful.
I felt a lot of pressure to live up to that. The second time around, I definitely knew I was writing a book because I had to work for every word.
I was really proud of myself for finishing 99, and while I know it was very different from my first book and it may not be as well-received, it was the bigger achievement for me personally.
9. In your writing, what is your secret for creating and holding onto romantic tension?
I go into my writing with a belief that readers are looking for intensity and seeing the characters on the same page. I suppose to maintain romantic tension; the reader needs to understand why both characters believe it could never work- then watch them break their rules anyway.
Dialogue is really crucial to building those moments of tension and getting them closer and pulling them apart. I spend a lot of time working on dialogue, often in a blank document laid out like a script so I can see how it pops and if the voices are distinct.
10. Do you believe in love at first sight?
What kind of romance writer would I be if I said no? Of course!
11. From where do you draw your romantic inspiration?
I daydream a lot of my scenes, which probably looks like I’m just lying on my bed doing nothing. I enjoy letting my imagination wander like I’m watching a movie.
I get inspiration from Taylor Swift songs and also reconnecting myself with that Princess Bride as-you-wish sense of wonder. I watch Howl’s Moving Castle when my creative juices are running low- I absolutely love Howl and Sophie.
12. What’s your best advice for getting over writer’s block?
When I figure it out, I’ll let you know! I get paralyzed for hours at my computer. To break myself out of it, I’ll deliberately write a terrible short story around a page long. I strive to write as badly as I possibly can. It’s usually very amusing and gives me confidence that I can do better than that.
13. What’s the best book you have read last year?
14. What’s the best advice you have ever received on happiness?
Notice when you are happy - life’s good!
15. Do you plan on writing any more books in the future?
I am contracted for two more books, which I am really excited about. My third book Second First Impressions doesn’t have a release date yet but stay tuned!
Places To Find More From This Author:
Facebook: Author Sally Thorne
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