Author and singer Chloe Coles’ beehive has been the stuff of legend over in our Monmouth Street store for years, with our lovely store stars left in a frankly envious state over its voluminous structure. A vision of animal print, winged eyeliner and the *best* red lip we’ve ever seen *yep, calling it now*, we finally got a chance to chat Boyzone, books and Cilla Black with your new favourite author. Plump those satin cushions, wander through those wafts of Elnett and settle in with a Jaffa Cake, it’s going to be a goodie...
CAN YOU SUM UP WHAT YOU DO IN FIVE WORDS?
Write Books, Sell Books. Cackle.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO WRITING?
I kept diaries on and off throughout my teenhood. They were mainly transcripts of conversations I'd have with boys on the way home from school but I wrote them for my best friend to read. I didn't really think of it as Writing but I did it religiously until I got an actual boy to snog me and my mate lost interest. It wasn't until years later when I set myself a new year's rezzie to try and write my own book, that I thought 'this feels kind of familiar'. Those old notebooks filled with lusty descriptions of lads and character assassinations of teachers were a huge influence as I started penning a book about teenage girls who are a lot like me and my school friends. I didn't ever expect to stick to writing or enjoy it as much as I do but by the following Christmas I had a manuscript about a teenage girl growing up in a boring midlands town and working in a bookshop at risk of closing down (write what you know) Amazingly, it wasn't long before I had an agent and a three-book deal. After over ten years of bookselling, it's obviously very cool to see my own books on the shelves.
FROM PODCASTS TO PLAYLISTS, WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO WHILST YOU'RE WORKING?
I find it really hard to write and listen to something at the same time, although I find plenty of inspo from the things I put in my ears when I'm not sat at my keyboard. One of my favourite podcasts is 'You Must Remember This'. If you haven't heard it before it's basically a babe called Karina Longworth (who has a really dreamy voice) telling juicy behind the scenes stories from Hollywood's golden era. She did an excellent series about Joan Crawford. After learning that Joan had special dresses reserved for 'letter writing' and 'eating lunch at home' I decided I had to make up a character who had a similar setup. (Not our heroine though, her eating lunch at home outfit is a faded One Direction t-shirt and period stained PJ bottoms.) My playlists vary and are all pretty incriminating.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF TATTY DEVINE?
I've treated some of my friends to personalised pressies before (mainly because I love the smell of the laser cutter mmm) I love that you do that. It feels as special as friendship bracelets to get someone's name or 'thing' engraved onto jewellery. My earlobes are reserved for gold hoops that'll turn me green so I'm always drawn to necklaces from Tatty Devine. And I love the sparkly glitter!
WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY REGARD AS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT?
My books! Sometimes writing can feel like a really silly thing to be doing when you're typing away all night sat in your pants listening to Boyzone eating Jaffa Cakes, but then getting a big box of shiny finished books filled with stories you made up feels like a huge achievement. I think that I get to write for the best age group too. Teen readers are very passionate and creative when it comes to books-tagramming and blogging. I've seen reviews and photoshoots of my books which have melted my heart to SLUSH. My first two novels 'Bookshop Girl' and 'Bookshop Girl: Life's A Beach' are out now and I'm very lucky to be working on the next installment which will be on shelves next year.
OK, WE NEED THE LOW-DOWN… HOW DO YOU GET YOUR HAIR SO BIG?
HA! Well it's been like this for a while now, so all of the backcombing has made it very knotty, but that's actually the secret to success! I use Elnett (my Grandma's favourite) to hold it in place. The hive is all mine, but I also slip in some extra synthetic hair from Paks on Ridley Road for length.
WHAT’S THE BEST DECISION YOU EVER MADE?
Getting off the bus home a couple of stops early and hitting Iceland for those hash brown fries and the mini strawberry Vienettas on sticks.
Chicken shop mayonnaise. Ruins everything it touches.
GO-TO KARAOKE SONG?
I love karaoke more than I love chips, but I don't have a go-to song choice. I rarely repeat my singalong performances! Having said that, my finest moment was definitely at a pub in Swansea last year. Me and my best friend had coached it down for an Elvis Impersonator convention. The evening we arrived, we found ourselves at a karaoke night filled with regulars who all knew each other. As one of the punters worked the room with a Robbie Williams banger, the barmaid explained that The Book had been stolen. If we wanted to sing anything we'd have to write it on a post-it note and hand it over. Without a book of options, we had to think on our feet and we had to think fast! I picked 'Anyone Who Had A Heart' by Cilla Black and the crowd went wild. My mate sang 'I Touch Myself' by Divinyls and was unplugged halfway the second verse before winning the audience over with her rendition of 'Turn Back Time' by Cher. Despite a brilliant weekend of ill-fitting catsuits and stick on sideburns, that night in that pub was the highlight of the trip. And maybe the highlight of my LIFE thinking about it now.
TIME FOR THE SERIOUS STUFF: ZEBRA PRINT OR LEOPARD PRINT?
What a horrible, twisted, Kat Slater does Sophie's Choice situation! Leopard print wins. Every time.
HELP! WE JUST CAN’T FIND THE PERFECT RED LIPSTICK… ANY RECOMMENDATIONS?
I'm sticking with All Fired Up from MAC. It's a pinky red and defo not microphone or snog smudge proof, but it's my fave.
BRB, we’ve got some shopping to do… Get yourself up to speed with Bookshop Girl here and shop the Lipstick Kiss Necklace - Mirror and Dental Bling Brooch - Mirror Red here, just don’t forget your Elvis catsuit!