Former Sidcup Smash Hits editor releases latest glam novel Wicked Wives
PUBLISHED: 12:55 16 August 2013 | UPDATED: 12:55 16 August 2013
From working as a dancer in Ibiza to partying with Take That and staying at Armani’s Italian villa, it’s fair to say author Anna Lou Weatherley has led a glamorous life.
The former J17 editor and acting editor of Smash Hits magazine harboured ambitions to write from an early age, but it wasn’t until she began to use her exciting past in her literature that her life truly transformed.
After publishing her first novel, Chelsea Wives, the mother-of-two who grew up in Sidcup and went to school at Blackfen School for Girls, saw her name go from bylines to billboards.
Her feet had just began to touch the ground again when she published her second work, Wicked Wives, last month – a book that she says combines “glitz and grime”.
Despite the hype surrounding her work becoming second nature, Anna Lou clearly still gets a thrill from seeing her books on shelves and excitedly explains how she was whisked to Italy as her new career took flight.
“Chelsea Wives was bought by an Italian publisher last year and I flew out to meet them. When I arrived at the airport there were billboards and it was all over the shelves.
“It was a bit of a Sex And The City moment.”
After ditching a career as a dancer, Anna Lou returned to Britain with the aim of breaking into the magazine industry.
With the bit firmly between her teeth she would go on to win awards with 19 magazine before going on to edit Smash Hits and J17 – as well as serving as More’s resident agony aunt.
It was during this time that partying with pop stars and attending music awards became the “norm”.
“I have been to Take That’s birthday parties, attended some phenomenal parties and I also once stayed at Armani’s villa in Lake Como, which was pretty amazing.
“Fashion and grandeur is part of who I am, but it is escapism too. I have just embellished it for the books.”
During her time on magazines she began to pen teen novels, but it was while pregnant with her second son, Felix, in 2008, that she put pen to paper for Chelsea Wives.
She said: “I shelved it and forgot about it, really. Then I read a Martina Cole novel some months later and I noticed she had credited her agent.
“I thought I might just send my work off to an agent and see what they thought. The website said to not expect any reply within three months, but a week later I got an email saying they wanted to sign me. I thought it was a joke.
“It was a life changing moment for me.”
The writer struck gold with her debut novel as her work coincided with the love of all things west London, thanks to the television show Made In Chelsea.
“I was lucky”, explains Anna Lou. “I seemed to be ahead of the curve and it all blew up at the same time. But the only similarities are the place names.”
Before her first work had even hit the shelves, the prolific writer had started work on her latest effort, Wicked Wives.
The story follows playboy casino owner, Tom Black, who disappears – causing fingers to point towards three women from his past.
Anna Lou, who lives in Beckenham, said: “I prefer this novel and, if I may say so myself, I think it’s better. I learned a lot writing Chelsea Wives.
“My books are set in glamorous locations, but it’s not ‘chick lit’. My characters are three dimensional and flawed. They have emotional debris to deal with. I like to say it’s Jackie Collins meets Martina Cole.”
Anna Lou’s second novel is available to buy in bookshops, supermarkets and online.
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