Friday, September 27, 2013


1) Can you give us a brief overview of 27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year? 

27: Six Friends, One Year is the story of six friends aged 27 who reunite in London. On the surface they lead enviable lives, but underneath the facades, they are falling apart. The novel captures a year of ups and downs for a group of friends who live in a world fueled by social media and ravaged by recession.

2) What's your favorite quality about each of your protagonists?

When I wrote 27, I focused on making the characters as real and human as possible. So they all have good qualities, but they all have some serious flaws too!

Reneedetermined and successful, but can be selfish
Jamesputs his family first, but struggles to control his drinking
Katiealways there for her friends, but doesn’t know what to do with her life 
Daveeasy-going and goes with the flow, but unmotivated and suggestible  
Steveruns a successful business, but makes some poor emotional decisions
Samdetermined to see the best in others, but low self-esteem

3) What made you want to write 27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year?

I wrote the novel when I had just turned 27 myself. I was meeting up with a lot of old friends that year, and the one thing we all had in common was that life hadn’t quite turned out as planned. When we met we often referred to acquaintances and discussed how well they were doing. Our main reference point was Facebook, where people seemed to catalogue only the positive sides of their lives. It made me think about the stark differences between Facebook profiles and reality. So I decided to write a book in which people live enviable lives on Facebook, but when you look below the surface you see they are struggling.

4) How long did it take you to write 27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year? What is your writing process like? 

It didn’t take me very long to write the first draft at all – only about a month. But the editing has been a real killer. I kept taking the book to beta readers thinking it was finished and I just kept getting more and more feedback. So I kept rewriting. After I finished writing the first draft, it took me another 18 months to get the book to a place where I was happy with it.

5) If Hollywood comes calling and asks you to sign over the movie rights for 27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year, who would you like to see play Dave, Renee, Katie, et al on the big screen?

Dave - A young Hugh Grant
James - Robert Pattinson
Steve - Charlie Hunnan
Renee - A young Courtney Cox
Sam - Lena Dunham
Katie - Carey Mulligan 

6) How do you think of titles?

I like titles to be short and pithy. When readers are scrolling through Amazon lists deciding which book to buy, they only have the title and the book cover to go on. That’s why I made my title quite short and to the point: 27: Six Friends, One Year. I think that makes it quite clear what the book is about!

7) Tell us about your cover art design. How did you come up with the concept? Did you execute it yourself or have a professional do it?

I came up with an initial idea for a concept myself. I wanted six different drinks represented to represent the six different characters. After I came up with the concept I went to book shops and looked at covers for books in the same genre to get an idea of design trends.

Then I recruited the lovely Becky Chilcott to design it. She has works for several of the major publishers and I was honoured to have her designing the cover. She took my concept and experimented with it, offering first a choice of designs and then a choice of colours. After much discussion, I settled on the purple cover I have today.

8) The fiction market is so competitive now. How did you find an audience for your work? What do you think are the most effective ways an author can promote herself?

This question is very much front of mind for me at the moment. I’m doing what I can to raise my profile and I’ve had some lovely reviews, but it is an uphill struggle. The things I’ve found most useful so far have been Goodreads giveaways and KDP promotions. If you find that golden bullet let me know…

9) What are your thoughts on love scenes in books? Do you prefer to read/write sweet/romantic encounters between your heroes and heroines
or spicy ones?

Interesting question! I’ve chosen to “fade to black” in most of my love scenes. 27: Six Friends, One Year is probably PG rather than x-rated! It’s not really a romantic novel; it’s more a tale of friendship and relationships.

When it comes to reading, I read all sorts of books, although I don’t like the love scenes to be too sickly sweet.

10) What are you working on now?

I have five different projects on the go at the moment. A couple of ambitious, literary novels, which I’ve been working on for years, as well as the sequel to 27 and also the prequel! And I’ve also just started a young adult thriller. It’s not my usual genre, but I’m really getting into it.

11) Who are the authors who inspire you?

Too many to mention! I like Jodi Picoult because of the way she just keeps you turning the page. My book, 27: Six Friends, One Year, has been compared to One Day by David Nicholls, which I think is a real compliment as I love his work.

12) What genres do you like to read? Do you stick to one or are you eclectic in your reading tastes?

I’ll read in any genre, but my favourites are literary fiction and women’s fiction.

13) What was the last book you read that really WOWed you?

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot more books by independent authors. I’d like to mention The Dallas Mercenary by Michael Oren as one of my favourites. I read it a while ago, but the storyline has really stayed with me.

14) If you could be plopped down in the middle of any book, which one would it be?

It’s a difficult one… Would I just be an observer or would I be involved in the action? Could I escape again when things got serious? If I have to stick around, I think I’d probably join a children’s book where the outlook is generally rosy! If I can escape, it would depend on which characters I wanted to meet the most and also the setting. Maybe I’d drop down in One Day by David Nicholls. I enjoyed that book and the characters felt like my friends.

15) If you could invite any five people (living or dead) over for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Lady Gaga
Russell Brand
Sigmund Freud
Richard Curtis
Richard Branson

I’d like to watch the chemistry between Lady Gaga and Russell Brand, while Freud scratched his head psycho-analysing them both. And maybe I could learn how to write romantic comedies from Richard Curtis and how to get rich from Richard Branson.

Fast and Flirty 

Favorite scent?  Lavender
Favorite color?  Purple
Favorite food?  Roast potatoes
Favorite word?  Decadence
Favorite article of clothing?  My new coat
Dream vacation spot?  Thailand – I lived there for a year and want to go back
Favorite time period in history?  Period between WW1 and WW2  
Favorite girl's night out drink?  Caipirinha
Favorite date night activity?  Posh restaurant
Favorite song?  Changes daily... today it’s Scar by Cloud Control
Celebrity hottie on your laminated list?  Russell Brand. Luckily he’s coming to dinner.   
Novel hero crush?  Can I choose someone from my own book? If so, Steve, as he is kind and sensitive!

Book blurb:  Your 27th year is a turning point. 

Kurt Cobain. Amy Winehouse. Janis Joplin.

They died at 27. 

Six friends reunite in London. From the outside their lives are enviable; from the new father, to the rich entrepreneur to the carefree traveller. But underneath their facades they are starting to unravel. Dave is made redundant, Renee’s marriage is crumbling and Katie is forced to return home to her parents after six years abroad. In a world fuelled by social media and ravaged by recession, the friends must face up to the choices they must make to lead the lives they truly want to live.

Author Bio:  Ruth Heald is the author of 27: Six Friends, One Year, released in July 2012 by Dancing Parrot Press. 27 is the story of six friends aged 27 who reunite in London. On the surface they lead enviable lives, but underneath the facades, they are falling apart. 27 was selected as a Quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Ruth has written two full-length novels and several short stories. She was a winner of the Next Big Author Competition in September 2011. She spoke at the Bangkok Literature Festival in 2011 and was a BT Storyteller for the 2012 Olympics. 

In her spare time, Ruth runs FiveStop Story, a digital publisher of short stories, which connects up-and-coming writers with new readers, through its iPhone and iPad app and its Kindle book.

Buy 27: Six Friends, One Year: 


Connect With RJ Heald:

Ruth has generously offered to gift a Kindle copy of 27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year to one lucky winner! You can enter up to 4 times using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will end at midnight on Thursday, October 3rd, and a winner will be announced on Friday, October 4th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Looks like an entertaining read. I love the cast ideas...will certainly picture them as I'm reading.

    1. Oh, and when I was 27, I was having a total identity crisis. Was married and working, but kind of in the "is this it?" mood. I ended up getting pregnant (planned) and moving that year. It was a turning point, and a good one at that.

  2. I really like the premise of this book! I especially appreciated your comment about the difference between "Facebook life" and "real life." It is so true that people tend to paint their lives as perfect on Facebook and so from the outside, it could seem like everyone else has the perfect life except for you but it's not real.

  3. Forgot to mention what I was doing when I was 27 - single, drinking too much with my friends, dating the wrong guys and thinking I had all of the time in the world to figure out my stuff. I was wrong! I was also a workaholic.

  4. This sounds like a great book with a great premise. If I don't win the giveaway (which I never do, by the way), I'll be buying this one to add to my TBR pile on my Kindle!

    1. I forgot my 27 story, too! What was I doing when I was 27? Uh... I was a mom of two, working in TV news and hating it. Wouldn't want to go back to those days!

  5. Hmmm.... What was happening when I was 27? I had been married for 2 years and still struggling deciding what to do with my life. I still haven't figured that out.

  6. Wow, this looks like an incredible story, and I love the cover. Hmm. 27, huh? I was teaching English, doing my Master's degree and writing. I also think I went out dancing a lot. It's hard to remember because it was such a long time ago. But, I'm sure it was a good year. :)

  7. Oh, when I was 27.......yikes. Let me say first that I wouldn't want to go back! Bouncing around all the wrong men. Returned to a job I didn't like, because I needed the money. On a positive note, I had a great apartment in the city and walked everywhere. Love the casting of the characters!

  8. This sounds like a great read! :)
    Oh wow. At 27, I was head over heels in love with a British boy and dreaming of moving to England to be with him. (Seven years later, I'm still dreaming of England.... the boy, not so much!)

  9. A book I've always meant to read - better stick it on that list, then...

  10. This sounds like a fantastic book! A bit broken up about the fact that I didn't post my comment on the 27th, though. :-) Gosh... at 27, I was starting a business! Little boutique in NYC.

  11. When i was 27, I was adjusting to dealing with a chronic illness, trying to work and raising 2 kids.

  12. I love the sound of this book. Great cover and great premise. I'm adding it to my TBR pile today!