HELEN LEDERER, author of ‘Losing It’
When did you decide to write a novel and why?
I have wanted to write a novel for at least seven years – abandoned two – this one is the one! There is a peace about writing. Bring it on
Coining your own genre in literature, can you explain it to our readers please?
‘MID LIT is a follow on from ‘chick lit’ but before ‘grey lit’
Mid Lit is post ‘chic lit’ i.e. women of my age tend not to do flat shares and have lots of dates –mind you it’s not impossible. We are a generation of empowered women with a twinkle in our eye from experience and wisdom and we laugh at ourselves because we are circumspect enough to do that as well…
Millie, gets what seems to be the chance of a lifetime, one that will solve her woes and change her direction. What inspired the plot in Losing It?
In real life I was offered some money to be seen to road test a herbal diet pill –it was very pressurising! –But it appealed to me to equate –loss of weight with gain of pounds (sterling) –most freelancers live in debt, are under pressure and some are even divorced ….
Why do you think Millie is such a compelling character?
I’m glad you think she is! I put my brain into hers – the dysfucntioning private thoughts that one doesn’t want anyone else to know about –maybe it connects! She is honest and edgy and ashamed of her weakness.
What is your brain food? Do you go healthy or indulge when writing?
I eat at my keyboard! Although it is often salad and sometimes KitKat.
Where do you write?
At my desk looking out of the window and praying that next door doesn’t have a ‘play day’ under my window with screaming children
Do you have a process? Lock yourself away in a dungeon, listen to Ride of the Valkyrie or write with a special pen?
I light a candle…and focus…and say an affirmation
Coffee or tea? Cupcakes or chocolate? Cats or dogs?
COFFEEEEE and CHOC
Do you have a lucky charm?
A funny coaster my daughter gave me. I touch it before I go on stage –so it has to go with me for gigs
We can’t leave without asking you about Absolutely Fabulous. Do you have a favourite memory from the show that you could share with us?
I loved being in the ‘kitchen’ with a box of chocolates. Jennifer had to have it removed because it was making me anxious.
What is in your handbag?
Have sent pic with my rather flash Vivienne Westwood purse. It is empty.
More about Helen:
Helen is probably best known for her role as the dippy Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous in which she appeared alongside Jennifer Saunders in all six series, as well as creating the ‘Girl at the Bar’ in Naked Video. However, to many she is known for her unique wit and observational humour.
A comedy writer with an extensive portfolio that includes writing and performing her own material, Helen has starred in a great number of top TV comedy and radio shows. Helen was part of a group of early 1980’s comedians, including Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, the late Rik Mayall and Ben Elton who made their names at London’s Comedy Store.
She was a guest on ITV’s Saturday Night Live with her solo comedy act as well as performing at the first ‘Just for Laughs’ comedy festival in Montreal with Lenny Henry. TV appearances span such shows as the Young Ones, French and Saunders, Happy Families, One Foot in the Grave, Bottom, Love Soup, Miss Marple and Hollyoaks. Children’s TV include the much-loved children’s favourite ‘Miss Bowline-Hitch’ along with Bernard Cribbins for CBeebies’ Old Jacks Boat as well as the film of Horrid Henry.
On BBC radio she has written and performed her own comedy series Life with Lederer and All Change as well as being a panellist on shows such as The News Quiz, Just a Minute, Quote…Unquote, A Good Read, Open Book and Woman’s Hour. Her columns include Woman&Home, The Independent, The Mail on Sunday and The Daily Telegraph.