Friday, 22 February 2013

Two Versions of the Same Song Q&A

What is the book about?

The story is a moral dilemma told from two perspectives. 

Serena Wilkins is convinced that she detests Paul Adams, who is the cousin of her friends Kris and Kai, because he humiliated her in front of everyone the day they met, and has been rude and dismissive towards her ever since.  Several weeks after her 16th birthday, Serena and Paul have their first proper conversation at a house party.  It is the first time he has as much as acknowledged her in 2 years, so she is suspicious and wary of his intentions.  But, to her frustration, she starts to feel something else for him too.

Paul and Eloise have been together for two years, since 6th form college, where they met.  Theirs is Paul’s first serious relationship.  Things become difficult after graduation when Eloise moves to Birmingham to start medical school and he remains in London and joins a band.  Cracks in their relationship appear as they struggle to deal with a long distance romance and things get complicated when Paul runs into Serena at his New Year’s Eve party and convinces her to talk to him. 

After that night, Serena and Paul do their best to avoid each other, but are brought together by Kris to perform a song at her brother Kai’s 18th birthday party.

Serena is convinced that Paul is unobtainable, while Paul is torn between his love for Eloise and the growing attraction he feels for Serena – an attraction that becomes so strong they are both tempted to cross the line.

When I came up with the premise of the novel it occurred to me that the obvious thing to happen would be for these two characters to cross the line.  Then I got to thinking what it would be like NOT to cross the line while being in constant contact with each other.  There are also consequences for doing the 'right thing' and that's the scenario I wanted to explore.

Where did you get the idea for the novel?


I’ve noticed that a common theme in YA romance is for teenage girl to fall in love with teenage boy (and vice-versa) and for them not only to be completely devoted to each other, but often the implication is that they are soul mates, will get married and live happily ever after.  I appreciate that it could happen – but it’s highly unlikely and yet that’s the general message being sold.  I wanted to write about the flip side to the perfect teen romance because in reality your first love is unlikely to be your last. Maybe I’m being controversial and maybe it won’t sell as many copies, but it’s the story I wanted to write.

The relationships in the novel are quite complicated, aren’t they?

Yes, I like to think of it as a 3-Dimentional love triangle.

How did you come up with the title 'Two Versions of the Same Song'?


In the literal sense: Paul is a musician and Serena has a good singing voice, which is how they come to be performing live at Kai’s 18th birthday party.  In the novel Paul explains how he discovers the song they pick to sing for Kai.  He hears two versions of the same song played on a radio show.  The first (original) version shows that the song is perfect for Kai because it’s the sort of music he is into and the second version shows that it is perfect for Serena as it suits her voice.

In the metaphoric sense: I had the idea to make the tale read like a love song with both characters offering a different version.  In both versions there are passages that are repeated – like a chorus, and other passages that are very similar and link – like a bridge.

One could also say the first (original) version is symbolic of Paul’s character and the second of Serena’s.

How long did it take you to write the novel and what were the challenges? 


It took me about six months to complete the first draft and another 18 months to re-write countless drafts until I just had to make myself stop, step away from it and hand the manuscript over to my editor. 

Okay, I will admit that the novel had a structural problem that was picked up by my editor.  I had to restructure it at the last minute and that was a challenge.  I learned a very important lesson to apply in the future – K.I.S.S. (KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID).

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