Ready for a queer rom-com in 2021? I might have just the thing…
The Split by Laura Kay
Date Published: 18 March 2021
Print length: 352 pages
Trigger warnings: Depression, loss of a loved one
Brutally dumped by her girlfriend, Ally is homeless, friendless and jobless… but at least she has Malcolm. Wounded and betrayed, Ally has made off with the one thing she thinks might soothe the pain: Emily’s cat.
After a long train journey she arrives home to her dad in Sheffield, ready to fold herself up in her duvet and remain on the sofa for the foreseeable. Her dad has other ideas. A phone call later, and Ally is reunited with her first ever beard and friend of old, Jeremy. He too is broken-hearted and living at home again.
In an inspired effort to hold each other up, the pair decide to sign up for the local half marathon in a bid to impress their exes with their commitment and athleticism.
Given neither of them can run, they enlist the support of athletic, not to mention beautiful, Jo. But will she have them running for the hills… or will their ridiculous plan pay off…?
I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this one on publication day (Spoiler alert: loved it!) but, for now, here’s a Q&A, featuring inspiration, snacks and the importance of writing LGBTQ+ romance.
1. Hi Laura. Tell us more about your debut novel, The Split?
Hi! The Split is a queer rom com about a woman named Ally who, after a break up, moves back to Sheffield to live with her dad. She reunites with childhood friend Jeremy (also dumped, also miserable) and together they start putting their lives back together – a part of this is agreeing to run the Sheffield half marathon together.
2. What was your inspiration for this book?
I came up with these characters when I was in my late twenties which I think is a real transitional phase. I wanted to write about life not necessarily going the way you planned and not being defined by ideas you might have about relationships and paths you feel you should be taking. That and I was doing a lot of running!
3. One thing I noticed – and loved – was the fact that Ally bakes a lot of (delicious sounding) treats, what’s your go-to snack whilst you’re writing?
I tend not to really snack when I’m writing but I do need something to be aiming towards – so there is quite often chocolate at the end of 1,000 words!
4. Who was your favourite character to write, besides Ally?
I loved writing Jeremy, he is so much fun.
5. I loved the friendship between Ally and Jeremy, what was your favourite part of your novel?
My favourite part of the novel is a scene towards the beginning where Ally and Jeremy meet again for the first time in several years and they’re feeling each other out to see if they could be friends now. They end up chain smoking and eating an entire tray of brownies while baring their souls to each other.
6. Following her break-up Ally takes her ex’s cat (which I thought was hilarious), what’s the weirdest thing you’ve claimed following a break-up?
I love this question but I don’t want to say because I want to keep the thing and not have someone realise I’ve got the thing. Please be assured, it is not a pet.
7. What made you decide to have your characters undertake a half marathon?
I knew how funny a scene where two incredibly non-athletic people running a half marathon would be, especially in Sheffield where it is hill after hill. I was also training for the London marathon when I was writing the bulk of this novel which, as a non athletic person myself, was torture and inspired a lot of the training scenes in this book.
8. If The Split was ever made into a TV show/movie, who would your ideal cast be?
This is such a good question but I would have to put a lot of thought into it! Ally and Jeremy would need the perfect chemistry.
9. Which of your characters would you most like to quarantine with and why?
Charlie and Sophie so they could bake me cakes and I could just sit about in their warm house.
10. Lockdown has definitely got a lot of us reading, what have you been reading recently? Do you have any recommendations?
I’ve read lots of great books recently. I particularly loved Girl A by Abigail Dean, Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo and an ARC I was lucky enough to read called The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain which is out this May.
11. You write about LGBTQ+ love, queer friendships and chosen family in The Split, how important was it to you to cover these aspects in your novel?
It was really important to me but also came very naturally because I wrote what I know. I’m married to a woman, I have lots of queer friends, it just made sense for this to be a part of the world I created for Ally and Jeremy.
12. I think this book had an open ending, would these characters and this story be something you’d interested in revisiting and continuing in the future?
This is such an interesting question because to be honest I hadn’t considered it but a few people have approached me about this saying they have to know what happens next. No plans at the moment but never say never.
13. I absolutely loved this book, and I know I won’t be alone in wanting more books from you, are you working on anything at the moment? Is there anything you can tell us about any future projects?
Thank you so much! I am working on book two at the moment. I can’t say much but there will be more queer characters, friendships and plenty of drama!
So that’s it, my Q&A with Laura Kay. I just wanted to say a massive thank you to Milly Reid over at Quercus Books for not only allowing me to participate in the blog blast but also for letting this Q&A happen, and also a massive thank you – of course – to Laura for taking the time to answer my questions. I loved finding out more about the book and I hope people enjoy The Split as much as I did.
You can pre-order The Split here.
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