5-4-3-2-1: Julie Mayhew


As big fans of Julie Mayhew’s last novel, The Big Lie, we’re extremely excited to read her recently-released Mother Tongue! To celebrate, we have her taking on our 5-4-3-2-1 feature.

5 ~ Songs that sum up the last novel you wrote perfectly

I never start working on a book with words, always with pictures and music. These are the songs I was listening to on repeat while writing Mother Tongue…

Caught A Long Wind – Feist (The first song I’d play when I say down at my desk each day. It got me into Dasha’s head) Little Bird – Boris Lvov (This short, beautiful tune is Nika’s theme) Sha! Shtill! (L-Vis 1990 Remix) – Gucci Vump (This song, though not Russian, is Moscow for me – big, loud and chaotic. Play this when you read the section where Dasha gets a scooter ride) Oh Fields, My Fields – The Red Army Choir (A traditional Russian song that reminds Dasha of home and school) Rybka – Fabrika (This piece of Russian pop would have been playing on the radio in 2004 – and it becomes an earworm for both Zlata and Dasha)

4 ~ Pieces of advice you’d give yourself if you could travel back in time to before you became a published author

Yes, you are allowed to write a book. Anyone is allowed. You are auditioning agents and publishers just as much as they are auditioning you. Line by line, make it sing. Slow down. What’s the rush?

3 ~ Authors you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island

I’d take Claire Hennessy, Laura Dockrill and Jess Vallance. We did the Growing Pains tour together this month. Basically, we are your new squad goals.

2 ~ Classics you wish more people were reading today

Anyone following my conversation with Joe Nutt over on The Bookseller site will know I dislike people dictating what should and should not be read; it makes me run a mile. But beyond the often-quoted Catcher In The Rye, there are some other beautiful and dangerous classic coming-of-age stories to be found, written by women for women. My top recommendations are Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls and Francoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse.

1 ~ TV shows you can watch all day long (when not busy writing)

Nashville. (Even when I am writing, I find time for an episode at lunchtime).

Julie’s latest novel Mother Tongue (Hot Key Books) is out now

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