Erin Lawless talks about her best friend and her New book Something Only We Know
I wasn't sure if I'd made the right decision, doing my Masters degree. That September the prospect of another year penniless and friendless (all my peers had of course graduated and left) seemed very bleak. At least I'd been allocated a room in the 'fanciest' halls of residence. Eager to get the scoop on who else would be sharing the eight pod flat, I joined a Facebook group for post-grad hall residents. Within minutes I'd connected with a girl – I was in Room 04, and she 06. Years and years later that same girl - resplendent in bridesmaid dress, naturally – caught the bouquet I tossed at my wedding. The following morning we hugged one another goodbye in floods of tears. I didn't know when I'd be seeing her again. Because while I was on my honeymoon, my best friend was deported from the UK.
Russian-born, she'd been sent to England to attend boarding school as a pre-teen. After school she did a degree and a Masters (luckily for me!) at the University of London, before starting a job. We lived nearby to one another, always in and out of each other's flats. We couldn't imagine her ever not being there.
And then they refused her another visa extension. And it started. They took away her right to work, so she did another Masters. Then they took away her right to study. The appeals. The letters of support. I watched as my best friend fell in love with someone knowing she was probably going to have to leave him. We made emergency plans to have her Skyped into my wedding ceremony. But deep down nobody actually believed she'd get kicked out. This was our best friend. She'd lived here all her known life. She spoke perfect English. She had paid taxes here. This was complete madness.
We went to the court date of the last possible appeal. Afterwards the immigration lawyer who'd spoken on behalf of my friend smiled sadly at us all, there as character witnesses, and told us we'd done all we could. The deportation order duly followed. At least she made my wedding day by the skin of her teeth. I finished the first draft of Somewhere Only We Know the week she left.
Because I'd known ever since it all started that my second novel was going to star a feisty, brilliant, beautiful Russian girl as she fought against a faceless government trying to deport her, fought against any negativity eating up her final months with her best friends, fought against the total inconvenience that is falling in love with someone when you know you're probably never going to get to see them again. There was no other story more important to me.
As I write this, last night my best friend finished reading the advance copy of Somewhere that I had sent to her. She messaged me a row of hearts, followed simply with: "I loved it. I miss you."
So although Nadia in Somewhere Only We Know's story is not the same story as my friend's, it is a story about the sort of friendship and love that stands raging against the dying of the light – and hope springing eternal. I'm very proud of it. I'm even prouder that the best friend to which it is dedicated loved it. I hope you all do too!
What They Say:
Boy meets girl… Alex Bradley can't help but feel that life is rather passing him by. And not just life – promotions, invitations, romance; the girl he loves only has eyes for his flatmate and his 9-5 job as the Immigration department skivvy is slowly numbing his soul.
Until he meets Nadia.
Girl meets boy… Nadia Osipova is running out of time. With no money, no lawyer and a totally fictitious boyfriend, she’s got one last summer and one last appeal before the British government deport her back home. Girl gets deported? It's going to be a bumpy ride, one she's dragging her new friend Alex along for. As Nadia races through a list of all her favourite London adventures, for what may be the last time, Alex can’t help but start to see the city, and his life, through Nadia’s eyes. From hazy summer days on the Common and heady nights in Soho’s basement bars, to twilight walks along the Southbank, will Alex realise what he’s got before it’s too late? Funny, addictive and always honest, this is a love letter to London, friendship and the unexpected from the author of the bestselling The Best Thing I Never Had.
Early praise for Somewhere Only We Know:
‘Engaging modern day romantic fiction, that will make you smile all the way through.’ – Bestselling author Carmel Harrington
‘This book was devastatingly brilliant…an absolute triumph.’ – Books with Bunny Praise for Erin's debut, The Best Thing I Never Had:
‘Funny and Addictive… If this is Erin Lawless' first book, I can't wait to read her next one!’ – Fabulous Magazine (The Sun)
‘A lovely, warm read to snuggle up on the sofa with.’ – Novelicious
‘Friendships, trust, lies, deceit, love and so much more – a real page-turner for me!!’ – Cosmochicklitan
‘A superb debut about complicated ties, betrayal and lies, and one of my favourite books of the year.’ – ChickLit Club
‘The Best Thing I Never Had was mind-blowingly good and everyone should read it’ – ChickLitReviews
‘One of the most engaging books I’ve read this year. I loved it’ – Books with Bunny
‘This book was so incredibly amazingly awesome that I want to shout it from the hilltops and make ALL my friends buy it this instant!!’ – The Chiq Blog
About The Author
Erin Lawless lives a happy life full of wonderful friends, in love with a man who buys her books instead of flowers. To mix things up a little, she writes books where friends and lovers hit obstacles and (usually) overcome them. When she’s not doing that she reads absolutely everything she gets her hands on, spends an inordinate amount of time in pyjamas and runs a fun-but-informative blog on British history.