Open Book with Beth O’Leary

It’s Rom Com week over here and I am kicking it off with my latest read, The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary.  In her debut novel she writes about two roommates who discover they may just be each other’s soulmates only through a series of post-it notes!  Hello movie material.  I am thrilled Beth took the time, and she has some really fabulous answers, to be my latest Open Book, from all the way across the pond!  She has stunning book taste and is the first author to incorporate a Harry Potter character into her dream book club- yes please!


via Amazon ~

“With likable main characters, spot-on dialogue, a fun premise, and plenty of drama, there’s a lot to like in this sweet story. A warm, enchanting love story perfect for fans of classic rom-coms.” (Kirkus Reviews)

What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good audiobook about finding love in the most unexpected of ways.

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open-minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night-shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.


Beth O'Leary_credit Ellen O'Leary

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a
bookclub with?

Jane Austen – I’ve always thought she’d be fun. She’s so witty, and so astute in how she
describes people, which I reckon means she’d be a hilarious gossip in real life.

Marian Keyes – She’s brilliant on Twitter, and I adore her books. She’s a really
passionate reader, too, and great at sharing reads she’s enjoyed, which would make for an excellent book club member.

And finally… Hermione Granger, because ten-year-old me always wanted her to be my
best friend, and I reckon being in a book club together would be a good start 😉

2. Current binge series?

I re-binged on Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series recently. She’s a kids’ fantasy
writer who I adored as a child and often come back to for a comfort read. These books
are about a girl in a magical land who wants to be a knight but can’t because she’s
female. It’s got magic, kick-ass young women and one hell of a love triangle – what’s not
to love?

3. Last favorite book?

I fell head over heels for Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient. I pretty much inhaled it in a
day. I loved both protagonists so much – I just had to keep reading and find out what
happened to them!

4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

My dream vacation would be staying in a lodge somewhere secluded with beautiful,
rugged mountains all around, and a log-burning stove to curl up and read by.
Number one on my packing list would be a kindle (this is just so I can cheat and pack
more than one book). Then some fleecy pyjamas for cosy nights in front of the fire.
Lastly… can I say my puppy? I hate leaving her behind when I go on holiday!

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Ooh, this is a tough question for a Brit! I’m not familiar with either…

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My boyfriend. It was actually a VERY excited message with a lot of exclamation marks,
because I was telling him that I’ve just found out The Flatshare made it in to the Sunday
Time Top Ten in its first week on sale!!

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?
Rosie Walsh’s Ghosted. It is such a beautifully crafted novel, and it blends genres really
cleverly – it’s romantic, but it has a thriller-ish twist, and there’s some stunningly truthful
writing about grief in there too. I was fiercely jealous the whole time I was reading it…

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

Yes – Mr. D, as he was known when I was at school! (You know you’re the cool teacher
when the kids don’t use your full name.) He really encouraged me to keep writing, and
read my stories even when he didn’t have to. He actually read my first finished novel, a
50-thousand-word monstrosity that I cringe to think about now…

9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

I often listen to music while writing, but the songs vary depending on the story and even
on the individual scene. The Flatshare was written on my train journey to and from work, and initially I just used music to block out background noise, but I gradually built a
playlist that sounded like the book – songs that evoked the uplifting vibe I wanted The
Flatshare to have, or reflected something I felt about my main characters. There’s lots of
folksy pop on there, and songs about the feeling of home: Like Home by Colin & Caroline, Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.  The playlist has been especially useful for editing, because it allows me to get back into the heads of my characters after some time away.

10. Describe your writing space?

I have a lovely writing desk in front of a window, all perfectly set up for me to work at…
but I’ve ended up writing most of my second book on the sofa or at the kitchen table. It
just felt too intimidating writing at a desk, somehow! I still write really well on train
journeys, too, as The Flatshare was entirely written that way.

11. Coffee or tea?

Tea – and lots of it. Though I do love to treat myself to a latte now and then!

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I gave lots of people One Day in December by Josie Silver for Christmas. It’s such a
perfect festive read, full of snowy romance, with some strong, meaningful friendship in
there too (which I love).

13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman. This stunning time-travel novel is
so visual, I think it would work amazingly on screen. It flits between the 1970s and the
present day, and it’s a real tear-jerker.

14. . If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and

Dolly Parton’s Better Get To Livin’. I’m such an overthinker, I could do with this playing
nonstop as I go about my life, to remind me to stop worrying, be more positive and focus
on living the best life I can.

15. What/Who inspires you?

I love rom com writers like Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes and Mhairi McFarlane – they
definitely inspired me to write in this genre. I would also say I’m really inspired by the
wonderful women around me – my mother, my sister, my friends – and the really good
men, too: my dad, my brothers, my friends, and of course my boyfriend. They make me
want to write uplifting love stories about real people who deserve happy endings.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

I occasionally get obsessed with a reality TV show – I watched Love Island religiously
last year – but I only tend to like it if there’s an element of romance involved… (Which is
true of books that I read, too!)

17. Favorite Instagram account?

I’ve recently discovered Pieladybooks – she makes the most amazing book themed pies!
Seriously, check out her grid.

18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what
shade would it be?  

Sense and Sensibility. It would be a delicate nude colour… with a bit of a seductive shine
to it when it catches the light.

19. Current #TBR pile?

I’m itching to start Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love – that’s been next on
my list for forever, but other books keep sneaking in and jumping up the stack! I’m very
lucky because now publishers send me ARCs of upcoming books, and I do find it hard to
resist digging in to those…

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

My dad often says ‘trust your ski’. My parents decided to try learning to ski in their
fifties, which was a big step for them, and their instructor used to say that to them – but
my dad has repurposed the phrase for use in everyday life. He says it to remind me to
trust my gut instinct and trust myself.


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