Hello everybody! Today, I’m incredibly excited to welcome the lovely Christina Pishiris for an interview. I absolutely loved Love Songs for Sceptics when I read it last month, and I’d highly recommend it. Onto the post!
Hi Christina, thank you so much for being here! To start us off, can you describe Love Songs for Sceptics for us in 5 words?
How about: ‘Romance and hi-jinks in London’
Zoe has such an interesting job- she’s a music journalist and a big plot point in the book is her trying to secure an interview with a certain artist she’s always admired. Which artist would you most like to interview? What would you like to ask them? (And feel free to pick a few if like me, you are the most indecisive person ever!)
I would hate to interview a music idol because if they didn’t particularly like me, I would be devastated, and the whole thing would be way too stressful! Can I cheat and give you an artist I’d love to have a front row seat to? (No pressure on me like that!) KD Lang – I have seen her a few times and I find her voice and presence just mind-blowing. If I’m allowed dead people, then it would be: George Michael, Elvis and Ella Fitzgerald.
Zoe’s encounters with celebrities aren’t always all they’re cracked up to be though, there’s one person in particular she deals with I’d really rather not meet! Have you ever met any celebrities and wished you hadn’t?
Sadly, yes… I went to the launch of the come-back series of Red Dwarf years ago when I was a rookie journalist and I was really excited to meet Chris Barrie who plays Rimmer on the show (and who is probably one of the funniest characters ever written). Anyway, I went up to him and said: ‘I really like you.’ He just looked at me blankly, so I added ‘No, I mean I *really* like you.’ Still no reaction, so I just slunk away, hoping the earth would swallow me up. Luckily (or unluckily) my boss, the deputy editor of the magazine, was there and I when I told her she gave me a comforting pat on the shoulder and explained that every journalist has that one celeb that they turn to mush around. She then took me out for a lovely lunch, so, it was all OK in the end!
As the title (sort of) implies, the book is a romance. I don’t want to say which ones because it could be deemed spoilery, but it features SEVERAL of my favourite romance tropes. Which romance tropes do you love, and which would you rather never read again?
I love Forced Proximity, (ie being stuck with someone you don’t like).The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne set the bar *really* high with this one where two colleagues who hate each other are forced to sit opposite each other every day, playing mind games.
I love Fake Dating – Mhairi McFarlane’s new one, If I Never Met You, does this sublimely. I think for this trope to work it needs to be set up believably, and she spends a lot of time doing this, so it all feels like a perfectly normal reaction to a situation you’re in, which is very hard to do! Joanna Bolouri did a great job with the same trope in ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’. And Christina Lauren with ‘The Unhoneymooners’ where they have to be pretend to be married to stop an all-expenses-paid honeymoon going to waste. My absolute favourite though, is Enemies to Lovers. If it’s combined with either Fake Dating or Forced Proximity (or both) I’m in heaven!
The ultimate Enemies-to-Lovers is probably Pride and Prejudice, so I absolutely adore the Curtis Sittenfeld version set in present-day Cincinnati where Lizze and Darcy start having hate-sex halfway through which just makes so much sense. It’s such a relief to get some of that unresolved sexual tension resolved on the page!
Speaking of the title, I really loved the idea of sceptical love songs. That said, I was wondering if there are any really mushy, non-sceptical ones you really love as well?
Oh god, yes! I love a mushy love song! Give me a bit of soppy Elvis, Michael Buble or George Michael any day! You can’t go wrong with classics like ‘Help Me Make it Through the Night’ and ‘Misty Blue’ – they’re on a LOT in my house right now. As is Backstreet Boys’ ‘Incomplete’… A bit of Jack Savoretti, and Tony Bennett. I hate to disappoint anyone, but my taste is pretty corny and mainstream. I was listening to Celin Dion’s ‘Falling into you’ on repeat as I was writing the book! Zoë would be appalled!
This is one of the funniest rom-coms I’ve ever read, I loved it so much. What tips would you give other people looking to write in this genre? What are some of your favourite rom-com books/films?
It’s my fave genre so it’s what I read 80% of the time. If you want to write the genre, make sure you read it too – it’s the only way to figure out what works and what doesn’t. My other advice is to stay true to what you want to write. Years ago, before I finished the book, I went to hear an agent speak said that books set in media/London were old hat and readers were bored of them. It made me feel a bit wobbly at the time, but thank god I didn’t change the book because actually, the music and London elements are some of the things readers have engaged with the most!
Films: 10 Things I Hate About You, While You Were Sleeping, Only You, Strictly Ballroom, (We’re all friends here, right, so can I confess that I’m not a fan of the Meg Ryan trilogy that everyone else seems to be crazy about…)
Books: anything by Mhairi McFarlane, Lindsey Kelk, Sophie Kinsella, Christina Lauren, Jennifer Crusie. And more recently, Emily Henry, Sarah Hogle and Jen Deluca.
Also on the theme of your writing, I always ask authors what their writing routine is like? Do you have any unusual habits/quirks?
I try to write 1000 words a day. I write at my desk top computer at my desk, which *isn’t* connected to the internet. I think that’s the trick! And to keep me from checking my phone all the time, I use the ‘Forest’ app. A tree dies every time you check it… not a real tree, obvs, but the guilt is enough to keep my sticky mitts away from it!
Finally, can you let anything slip about what you’ll be releasing next? I’m so excited to read it, whatever it may be!
It’s early days but it’s another romcom set in London that follows a couples’ counsellor who’s just been dumped and is forced to move in with her Greek family…
Favourite kind of chocolate? White
Game show you’d most like to be a contestant on?
Hole in the Wall – is that still on? I would probably really hurt myself but my god, it’s the funniest thing!
Song you have stuck in your head at the moment?
‘Midlife Crisis’ by Faith No More – it has the lyric ‘your menstruating heart’ and that keeps popping into my head, because it’s so bloody random! I mean, it takes guts to stick that in a song!
Spotify has sort of ruined albums hasn’t? I just make playlists now with a bit of everything. I was obsessed with U2’s Achtung Baby for the longest time, so if I had to choose one, I’d pick that.
Top 3 books of 2020 so far?
Beach Read by Emily Henry, You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle and If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
Thank you so much for reading! Which musical artist would you most want to interview? Are you planning to pick up the book? I’d love to hear in the comments!
2 thoughts on “Author Interview: Christina Pishiris”
Another great interview Amy. I haven’t read this book but I enjoyed the interview.
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