In the latest issue of Real Style Magazine, we had a chance to chat with author Mhairi McFarlane about her latest novel, Don’t You Forget About Me. In it she discusses why she chose the classic Simple Minds song as the title, why her main character is so relatable, what she thinks about rom-coms, and more. Here is a part of that interview.
Real Style: What was it about the Simple Minds’ song that made you decide it was perfect for the title of your novel?
Mhairi McFarlane: The title was originally Don’t You Want Me, after the Human League hit. The protagonist in the lyrics is working in a cocktail bar, the band is from Sheffield, it seemed perfect! However, the art department felt that was a little passive, a little needy, so we looked around for titles that conveyed the same sort of punchy yearning and hit upon the Simple Minds track. It’s got that yearning quality that I love.
RS: Was it a conscious decision when you sat down to write the novel to make it relevant to today’s news?
MM: The strange thing was, it absolutely wasn’t, and my editor could back me up on this. We worked out this plot before the Harvey Weinstein scandal and Me Too, any of it. When those stories broke, I realised Don’t You Forget About Me would look intentional, but it wasn’t. Of course, it’s less of a coincidence when you realise these behaviours and traumas have always been part of society, it’s only our awareness and the level of media coverage that changed in Me Too. I felt very strongly that because these sort of experiences are part of many women’s lives, they have a place in women’s fiction and romantic comedy. There’s nothing in the rules that says rom coms have to always be light!
Photo: Mhairi McFarlane