Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Anne Corlett Author Interview

Photo Content from Penguin Random House

Anne is originally from the north-east, but somehow slid down the map and finished up in the south-west. She now lives near Bath with her partner and three young sons.

Anne returned to writing in 2011 after many years working as a criminal lawyer in London. This was slightly unfortunate timing, given that she was right in the middle of relocating to Somerset with her family who seemed to feel that a little less novel-writing and a little more packing might be warranted. They probably had a point.

Over the next couple of years Anne began to build a career as a freelance writer, fitting this work in around her day job as a solicitor. In 2012 she met her agent, Lisa Eveleigh, at the York Festival of Writing. Since then her work has been published in various magazines and anthologies and her short fiction has won, placed or been shortlisted in various national and international awards.

In 2014 Anne began an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her initial MA novel was put on hold after a trip back up to the Northumberland coast triggered the idea for The Space Between the Stars which was acquired by Pan Macmillan in January 2016. It is currently available as an e-book on all platforms, and will be released in hardback on 1 June in the UK and 13 June in the US.


Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
I think there was a moment when I realised that I could be. I was in primary school and I wrote a story that the teachers all raved about, and it was read out in the senior school assembly. I still have it somewhere!

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
I think it helps us make sense of our own lives and the things that happen to us. The books I love the most are the ones that constantly make you think ‘Yes! That’s just what it’s like.’ When it comes down to it, every book, every story is about what it means to be human. Even if the main characters are aliens or animals or animate toasters, we can only imagine them through the framework of human senses and emotions.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
My MA tutor, Maggie Gee, spent a lot of time trying to get me to pare back my writing. At the time I found it counter-intuitive, but I can now see how much better it is to say something in 10 words rather than 50!

In new your book; THE SPACE BETWEEN THE STARS, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
The Space Between the Stars is the story of a woman who has always craved space – both physical and emotional. At the start of the book she finds herself entirely alone and starts to question where the line falls between having space and having nothing. She does find other survivors of the virus that has decimated humanity, and she begins a long journey back to her old home on the Northumberland coast. Over the course of the journey she comes to terms with some of the events of her past, and begins to understand how those events have shaped her.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

I’m currently working on a novel set in an alternative version of London, and centered around the world of immersive theatre.

What part of Jamie did you enjoy writing the most?
Probably the short memory passages. There were originally several more incidents from Jamie’s past, but not all of them made it into the final draft. I know a lot more about Jamie’s life story than I could fit into the book, so picking out the most important moments was a useful exercise in cutting and pruning – Maggie Gee would approve!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think I’d like Daniel to meet Offred from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Daniel is part of an attempt to rebuild society by restricting personal freedom in favour of the survival of the human race. Issues of fertility and reproduction are at the heart of the decisions made by the new regime, and Daniel clearly believes that he is doing the right thing. If he could sit down and talk to Offred, the victim of a society that has taken the restriction of reproductive freedom to a terrifying extreme, he might come to understand the dangerous path along which they are heading.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
The more you write, the more you learn about yourself as a writer. I find myself coming back to the same themes and ideas over and over, but I didn’t start to recognize these patterns until I had a fair body of completed work.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
I tend to want to hibernate when I’m having a bad day! But if I do feel like talking and it’s a writing-related bad day, I have a couple of writer friends who will always offer a sympathetic ear.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
My first ever job was on a stall in a large shopping centre. It was outside the Disney Store, and by the end of the summer I was pretty much word perfect in every single Disney song. Even the obscure ones. I could probably still recite the lyrics of the entire Pocahuntas soundtrack.

What is your greatest adventure?
Probably the road to publication.

When was the last time you cried?
I’m not a big crier, but I did have a fit of wailing not long ago when I suddenly realised that launch day was less than a week away and people were actually going to read the book, with everything that goes with that. Irrational, I know!

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I’m not sure. In some ways it would be interesting to be a teenager in the hi-tech twenty-first century, but I suspect that the rise of the internet and social media has made all those difficult teenage issues even more fraught and all-encompassing.

Where can readers find you?
Online or in real life? My website is at In real life, I spend a lot of time writing in the cafĂ© in one of the local bookshops. Usually at the table in the corner near the window.

In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.

All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit...

Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.

Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be...


“With its unique plot and luminous prose, it’s hard to believe that The Space Between the Stars is a debut novel. Anne Corlett understands the complexities and frailties of the human heart and captures it brilliantly on the page. Don’t let the setting fool you—this is a story for any age, combining love, loss, grief, hope, and possibilities all in one delicious book. Definitely one for my keeper shelf.”—Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of The Night the Lights Went Out

“Anne Corlett is a writer with huge potential, and I’m looking forward to her future works.”—Claire North, author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

“[A] fast-moving and gripping ‘end of the worlds’ tale focused on the efforts of flawed survivors to ensure the end is not the end of humanity.”—Jack Campbell, New York Times bestselling author of Vanguard

“An original thinker and a very, very effective writer.”—Fay Weldon, author of Before the War

You can purchase The Space Between the Stars at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett.


  1. If I could meet anyone in the world today, I would choose to meet the Pope.

  2. "Who would you like to meet if you could meet anyone in the world?" I dunno. Anyway--a devastating virus decimating humanity: that sounds about right!

  3. I'm not sure who I'd want to meet - someone I admire, perhaps a wonderful author whose books I love. If given the choice it would take some thought to pick, I would hope that I'd have time to choose.