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Sin Tropez novel

Sin Tropez: Published at 27!

Interview with Aita Ighodaro, 27, recently published first-time author. The interview took place on Tuesday 30th Nov at The Groucho Club. Aita was interviewed by Julia Macmillan, founder of Toyboy Warehouse.


JM: “Aita, tell me how you first came up with the idea of writing Sin Tropez?”


AI: “I think subconsciously since I was very small I’ve always had it in my mind that I would be a writer because I love reading. Not just reading, I was always thinking why has she done that or why did he do that? So when I went to St Tropez for the first time around the age of 18 I thought it was an astonishing place, in a good and bad way.”


JM: “Can you expand on that?”


AI: “Well I’ve been there for many different reasons. I’ve done a photo shoot there and have stayed with friends. But when you hang out at places like Club 55 you seethe most extraordinary people, it really is a spectacle. The women are astonishingly beautiful and I wondered what their stories were. The same thing with the men, a lot of them were very flamboyant and sometimes quite secretive and shady looking… and I thought all these people must have the most amazing stories.”


JM: “And what about the actual writing? You said you always read a lot, who are your favourite writers?”


AI: “It’s quite a mixed bag. What first got me interested were those boarding school books like Mallory Towers…”


JM: “You were at boarding school?”


AI: “Yes I was actually at boarding school but it was nothing like Mallory Towers! (laughs) Then as I got older I found I really enjoy everything. I love both literary fiction and popular fiction. I think some of Jackie Collins older stuff or Shirley Conran’s work is great. Like Lace, what a fabulous, fun book! I also like literary works like Vanity Fair and think you can write about parties and society in a way that is profound as well.”


JM: “So you were impressed with the flashy side of St Tropez?”


AI: “No, I’d say impressed is the wrong word. Intrigued would be more accurate. I was fascinated by the people. Everyone seemed to have more than one story: the story that was on the surface like “I am a beautiful woman and I’m happy here with my wealthy man,”  but I felt there’s a more interesting story behind all of that. And that was the story that inspired one of my characters. ”


JM: “You have three main characters, is that right?”


AI: “Yes, it’s the story of three young girls in their early twenties: one is a Latvian model, one is an impoverished English aristocrat called Tara and Oxford graduate and the third one is a girl of Ghanaian descent…”


JM: “Nothing like you then?”


AI: “Well the similarity is that we both come from families of West African descent but were born and grew up in the UK. Abena then goes on to meet Tara at Oxford, and they get into all sorts of scrapes together as they are very, very naughty…”


JM: “And how old are they?”


AI: “They are in their early twenties which I think is a fascinating age for women as they are possibly most susceptible at that point to being be led astray, being naïve and easily corruptible.”


JM: “So let’s get back to the book itself. You decided to just write it and then see if you could get it published, is that correct?”


AI: “Yes. I have a lot of writer friends and I realized that with fiction you have to write the book first. So I wrote it and sent it to a few agents and met with a few and then eventually ended up at Watson Little, who have been very good.”


JM: “What I think is amazing, given the publishing climate at the moment, is that you got a big advance.”


AI: “Yes I was astonished by such a generous advance. I was really thrilled because it allowed me to write full time which has always been the aim. I think with books it’s almost like falling in love with a man in terms of finding a successful deal, in the sense that you can not click with a series of publishers and then one will come along who loves your work, that you totally click with.”


JM: “And the agent?”


AI: “Yes. I have to say that I was luckier than I expected as got a lot of interest from different agents but found a really good one.”


JM: “What do you think was it about the book that got you so much interest? Do you think it was the glamorous setting with the element of naughtiness?”


AI: “Yes there’s a strong element of naughtiness about it!” Laughs, “I just think they all found it fun, but at the same time there are more serious elements to it as well.”


JM: Because you don’t want to be a writer that just does, what are they called ‘bodice rippers’?” Laughs, “is that the wrong term?


AI: That’s what they call the costume ones. Bonkbuster is the contemporary term,” laughs “that’s fine. I’m ok with that. My publisher said when they made the offer that they loved the fun glamourous elements of a traditional bonkbuster but it also had a serious side that was relevant to modern society and the way we live now.”


JM: “And you signed a two book deal?”


AI: “Yes. I’m writing the second one now.”


JM: “What’s it about and where is it set?”


AI: “It’s set all over the place and there’s going to be a little bit of politics in this one. I might throw in a few cabinet ministers… but I don’t want to talk about it yet as it’s at an early stage.”


JM: “Lastly, let me ask you this: presumably a lot of Sin Tropez is about older men and younger women, can you conceive of writing a book about an older woman and a younger man?”


AI: “I knew this was coming from you!!!” Laughs, “yes, of course, that’s really topical at the moment. It seems to be something that is happening more and more and I think it’s good that there is a variety of relationship patterns. I think it’s really interesting though. I think a feisty, beautiful older woman would make the most wonderful character. Someone confident, intelligent who knows exactly what she wants… that’s something I definitely want to explore in the future.”


JM: “We look forward to that and wish you the best of luck with Sin Tropez!”


Sin Tropez is available form Amazon and in book shops from Dec 1st.


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