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Interview with Anne Ullah, author of Trouble At Toff Towers II: Another Heap


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Trouble At Toff Towers has been called “chick-lit that makes fun of itself” which I think is a pretty fair description. The books are very tongue in cheek and should definitely be served with a huge pinch of salt; you might even call them satire. I quite like the term: neurotica!

Trouble at Toff Towers II – Another Heap picks up the story of Louisa Toff as she does her best to adapt to a lifestyle which has been unexpectedly thrust upon her; in fact she’s seriously considering her future. A future in which her (second) ex-husband, the very bad boy of rock, Stu Pendous, seems to have something on the tip of his tongue; her cleaner, Edna Bucket, is keeping something very close to her chest; her (first) ex-husband, celebrated actor, Hugh Jass, needs a leg up and the most unlikely people will be dancing cheek to cheek. What’s more, someone has a very important question to ask our heroine and her old school ties with Audra Street-Walker, Bette Noir and Irene Prawn-Slaughter seem to be slackening somewhat. Confused? Louisa certainly is. However, Madame Cara Vin is helping her to make sense of it all…or is she? As Stu Pendous and The What On Earth Four embark on their 2013 World Tour of Trouble only one thing is certain; the plot definitely couldn’t get much thicker!

Woah, that’s a huge cast of characters. Do we need to have read the first book (interview here) before we read this one?
All the characters from book one are back in this one; the second installment in the Trouble at Toff Towers trilogy. There’s so much going on I’m not sure that readers will be able to keep up if they haven’t read book one. It’s trouble all the way!

We love the names of the characters you’ve created. Which is your favourite?
In Trouble at Toff Towers II – Another Heap we get to meet Woody Farqueue-Over; now that’s a name I rather like. I’m also rather fond of Swiggy and Blingo.

We prefer Stu Pendous and Hugh Jass. But let’s return to the main character, Louisa Toff; tell us about her.
Certainly…but please read on with your tongue firmly in your cheek…

…It seemed to me that the time was right for a new kind of heroine. A heroine with “experience” and “maturity”, both of which Louisa possesses in spades of course. Louisa is at that age when some of us find we have become the “The Invisible Woman”. Well now “The Invisible Woman” has a face – Louisa’s. Ladies of a certain age will definitely identify with her. She’s reached that time of life where she is finally secure in her insecurities. Younger readers will identify with her too. After all they are experiencing exactly the same celebrity culture that she is doing her best to survive. And young people are absolutely mad on social networking, aren’t they? Well, you only have to look at Louisa’s large, loyal and lovely Twitter following to see that she’s pretty popular with all ages.

Louisa makes no bones about being popular. But she doesn’t believe for one moment it’s because of her beauty, wealth or undeniable celebrity status. Oh no. Readers love her because underneath all that beats the heart of a woman who has bravely dug deep inside herself and shared some of her painful past with them. It’s easy to see why she is well qualified to write “neurotica”!

The novel ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. Does that mean we can look forward to reuniting with these characters again?
Indeed it does. I plan to publish book three in 2014.

We hear that authors often consciously or unconsciously model one of their characters on themselves. Tell us about yourself; how much Louisa Toff is in you?
I reached my teens in the seventies and I will admit I was a bit of a hippie; I did in fact have a boyfriend who was in a rock band. Sadly I have never been married to a famous actor or wealthy retired banker, although I worked in banking myself for quite a few years. Perhaps Louisa’s analyst, Di Laffin, might like to examine me and decide whether there is anything of Louisa lurking inside me?

Have you got a website?
Yes, readers are most welcome to pop into at any time.

What about social media?
You can keep up with all things Toff Towers by following the characters on Twitter:
Louisa Toff @RigidBones
Jack Toff @JackToff1
Sue Perdooper @SuePerdooper
Hugh Jass @OfficialHJass
Stu Pendous @PendousStu

I also have my own Twitter account, @FlyingAunt, but must confess that I’m not quite as popular as Louisa.

You can also get into Trouble at Toff Towers on Facebook.

Trouble at Toff Towers II – Another Heap contains the words to a song from Louisa’s school days: the St Thinnian’s School Anthem. You can sing along on Youtube.

There’s even a Trouble at Toff Towers Pinterest page.

How much can you tell us about the next book in the series? What else are you up to?
I’m very excited indeed about the next book. I don’t want to give too much away about the plot except that there will, obviously, be tons of trouble. To be honest I don’t know how I’ll cope once it’s finished as I have become extremely fond of all the characters. Part of me is even beginning to wonder whether the Trouble at Toff Towers series just might become the first ever trilogy to consist of four books!

Nope. Douglas Adams beat you to it with his Hitchhikers trilogy. You can be second though.
I’ll think about it and in the meantime…

…I’ll continue to practice my yoga (badly), and polish off the odd Pinot and plate of prawns. Oh wait! Perhaps there is something of Louisa in me after all!

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