In Conversation with Giovanna Fletcher

Packing out an entire Waterstones is certainly a fine achievement, but with the radiant smile and gentility Giovanna Fletcher conveyed with her adoring fans, she never once seemed overwhelmed by the experience. Giovanna, wife to Tom Fletcher, is now an established author, actress, presenter, blogger and mother of two (recently obtaining the title of mother of the year) and she was in town promoting her newest book, Always with Love, a sequel to her debut novel Billy and Me. I was fortunate enough to be allowed a brief interview with Giovanna after the signing, in which I had planned to discuss her newest book, how being a mum influences her writing and, perhaps most importantly, the all-round importance of Nutella (it's very important!).

   However, due to a tight time schedule I have to share my alloted interview time with a fellow journalist, and I arrive into the room as the interview has already begun. After seeing Giovanna interact with the massing crowds downstairs and from her many videos she uploads to YouTube, it was utterly charming to see her radiate with such delicate positivity and kindness, not once did her beaming smile slip from her glowing face; it was hard not share the same amount of optimism. I settle quietly as the lovely Giovanna refers to her blogging routine, greeting me with that adoring smile.
  "I can just rest easy knowing that by Thursday night it's all done, all ready to go and scheduled to go up 9 o'clock Monday morning and that I'm all up to date. I've actually started doing this new thing with lists, I'm obsessed with lists!" she chuckles. "I write down everything that I've got to do and I get such pleasure in crossing it off, like even do something like go to the toilet and later go ting! cross it off the list, knowing that I've been productive." Her laugh is truly infectious, and immediately Giovanna strikes me as a humble, regular person, unaffected by her popularity or fame, she gets the same pleasure of ticking things off a list as would you or I, I personally, LOVE a good list. Anyway, I digress!

    We note that she's actually halfway through her current book tour, before heading up north to Chelmsford and Lakeside and finishing off in Milton Keynes. My fellow journalist, Thea, asks if that's the furthest north she's travelling, to which Giovanna nods. "This time with a newborn at home, I don't want to travel too far! I mean, I even have to carry my pump everywhere I go, it's not the most glamorous of booktours!" she exclaims, her laugh carrying the room.  We ask whether she has visited Reading before, to which she squints her eyes in deep thought, searching for a memory. "I must have done with Mcfly when they did the theatre tours a few years ago, but otherwise I don't think I have.

   "It's been lovely being here though, it's just so nice to always look up and be greeted by another smiley face!" she beams, unveiling her very own smiley face. It's hard not to fall in love with Giovanna, her charismatic charm and down to earth manner make the interview feel as casual as a chat with an old friend in a coffee shop, one that you could natter with for hours on end and put the world to rights. "Well, your turnout was pretty impressive, you actually beat John Barrowman's crowds a few weeks back!" Thea says, evoking a look of surprise matched with a smirk on Giovanna's face.

   "Honestly, it's just so so lovely to have such support, and coming to promote not just one book, but with a whole set, it's just so unbelievable." We turn toward the book itself, which I had finished that day, as it follows the continuing relationship between Sophie May and her boyfriend Billy, a very famous Hollywood actor, and the difficulty in maintaining a long distance relationship. It's very charm and familiar nature instantly appealed to me and I take no delight in telling Giovanna this, how I particularly resonated with a specific passage explaining how it's sometimes okay to stay where you are, and not be carried away by the world or feel pressured to move, find somewhere new. To someone who is having to move home in less than 10 days, it was reassuring to say the least. Giovanna beams at me, a mixture of happiness and her own humbleness, I feel that my words have actually been taken in by her. "That's great, it's always about what you want from life, do what you want to do not what anyone expects of you, it sounds like you read it at the right time" she says softly, still beaming. I can't help but beam back.

   We ask if Giovanna had any idea on how much impact her books would have on people, to which she sighs slightly, not badly, but more of sign of being overwhelmed, "Not at all! I started writing without knowing what would happen, I wrote Billy and Me for myself really and then the pressure really started after I signed the book deal." She explains how on her second book, a separate story entitled You're the One that I Want, she really felt the pressure and felt that she couldn't replicate the success of her debut. "I'd wrote about 16,000 words, stopped, had a major meltdown for a couple of months thinking 'I can't do this, it's a total fluke', then luckily I spoke to my agent in a very emotional email, and her advice was simply write from the heart, because that's what you do! So I sat down, and just got over myself really!"

   Giovanna on Lorraine 

Thea asks about Giovanna's writing influences, as a mother of two, things may be different now as one writes about what they know and what they see around them.
   Giggling, she responds "Well my characters haven't had children yet, but with everything that happens in life I guess it makes sense to incorporate those particular events into your writing, so maybe at some point, hopefully!"

 I ask about writing the sequel, whether after four years was it hard getting back into the mindset of Sophie, Billy and all of the other characters after four years away and having two children in that time. Pondering, she gleefully says it was more difficult getting into Sophie's head as Sophie was her debut. "After writing a short story and a separate novel, my writing style had changed a lot, so it was about going back, putting my 'Sophie head' on, and once I found her again, I found it so enjoyable to be back in Rosewell Hill and to be back with those characters, seeing them in completely new, different places, so it wasn't too much of a gear change."

   Interjecting, I bring up her video posts, uploaded weekly which are little snippets into the lives of the Fletcher family and are probably the most heart warming videos ever. In one video she sings edelweiss over a baby monitor, and I bring this up so I can tell her what a beautiful singing voice, and how it helped send my new kittens to sleep. "Aww" she beams, "we actually had three cats, one sadly passed away a few years ago, around the time Buzz was born actually."

  Thea asks with a smirk, " Then I guess it makes sense to ask, who's the bigger distraction, the cats or the kids?"

Smirking back, Giovanna dwells on the question, and uses her hands in a showlike manner when explaining her answer, "With kids, they have their routine and you know how to deal with that, the cats however.." she shakes her head with a feigned vexation yet continues to grin, "As soon as I sit down at seven to write and I'm all ready to go, Leia will come in bump my head, bump my hand, delete stuff that I'm writing-"

  "Cats LOVE Laptops don't they?" I exclaim, joining in with her laughing.

  The interview is rounded off with myself giving Giovanna a little jar of Nutella, bearing a little custom HANDS OFF label I customised for her and finally getting a picture. For the rest of the evening, I have a permamant smile besmerched on my face. I have caught the infectious charm, kindness and oozing optomism of Giovanna Fletcher and I feel that it won't be fading anytime soon. Truly, a delightful, humble and caring person.

Always with Love £8.99
Available now


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