Friday 5 June 2015

Blog Tour: The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

TitleThe Versions of Us
AuthorLaura Barnett
Published: 28th May 2015
Publisher: W&N

Today I am part of the Blog Tour for The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett with a fantastic interview with the lovely Laura herself. Enjoy!

Interview with Laura Barnett

1.     Hi Laura! Can you tell us about your new novel, The Versions of Us.
Of course! The Versions of Us is a love story - or three love stories, I should say - about one couple, Eva and Jim. From their first meeting (or failure to meet!) as students in Cambridge in 1958, we follow three versions of their lives, together and apart, right through to 2014. It’s about the “what if” moments that carry us down one path, or another - and about how our choices define our relationships, and our lives.
2. What did you most enjoy about writing this story?
I loved getting under the skin of the two main characters, and that of all their friends, family and colleagues. Writing is a wonderful exercise in trying to figure out how other people think and feel. 
3. I love the idea of three different potential futures that the characters could have, what was the inspiration behind this? 
Thank you! That was what got me most excited about writing the novel, too. The idea came to me in a flash, really, one morning a couple of years ago. I’d had the germ of a similar idea - writing several versions of one woman’s life - about a decade before, and then forgotten about it. Then, that morning, I woke up thinking, “I want to write about one couple’s relationship, from beginning to end - but tell it in three different ways.” I’d got married six months before, so now, looking back, I think I was partly intrigued by the fact that I could so easily not have met the man who’d become my husband. I was thinking about whether we might still have met in another time, another place.
4. Were there any parts of the story that you found hard to write?
Absolutely - writing, at least as I experience it, is one part inspiration and excitement to about ten parts hard graft! The hardest thing was ensuring that each version was similar enough to feel realistic - I wanted Eva and Jim to be the same people in each, with the same backgrounds and personalities - but different enough to feel distinct and interesting in its own right. But I have to say that overall, writing the book was a real joy.
5. What type of writer would you say you are? Do you have a specific writing style?
What an interesting question! Hmm. I’d say I’m a writer who places a particular value on realism - on reflecting the world as it really is, or some version of that, anyway - and on the beauty and fascination of the everyday. My writing tends to focus on the small, intimate moments that frame our daily experience; these, for me, function as a prism for the grand drama and big ideas that underpin both fiction, and life.
6. Did you have any say in the cover? Do you like it?
I did indeed. You hear horror stories about writers having hideous covers imposed on their novels; I must have been very lucky as my publisher, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, involved me in the conversation about the design from the beginning. Luckily, too, we all had in mind something inspired by vintage design - especially by wallpaper, and those gorgeous midcentury prints. But the cover that art director Steve Marking came up with went over and beyond my expectations. I absolutely love it!
7. Who would you say are the authors that inspire you?
There are so many! To name a few: Anne Tyler; Elizabeth Jane Howard; Richard Yates; Elizabeth Strout; Alice Munro. I suppose I see all of these authors doing, with such incredible delicacy and skill, what I would most like to achieve as a writer: drawing out wonder, beauty and sadness from everyday lives.
8. What are you currently reading?
David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks. I’m interviewing him at an event at Dulwich Books in south London - one of my three amazing local bookshops - on 18 June. Like all his novels, it’s a huge book, fizzing with energy and imagination.

Big thanks to Laura for stopping by. The Versions of Us is out now!

Amazon UK


  1. Thank you for this lovely interview. I'm currently reading The Versions of Us and find it absorbing and beautifully written. Congratulations on a wonderful book.

  2. I loved this book - so clever. Thanks for sharing that interview.