Potter, Alexandra 1970-

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Potter, Alexandra 1970-

PERSONAL:

Born 1970, in Yorkshire, England; married.

CAREER:

Writer and novelist.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

What's New, Pussycat?, Fourth Estate (London, England), 2000.

Going La La, Fourth Estate (London, England), 2001.

Calling Romeo, Black Swan (London, England), 2002.

Do You Come Here Often?, Downtown Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Be Careful What You Wish For, Hodder (London, England), 2006.

Me and Mr. Darcy, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to magazines and periodicals, including More!, OK!, Elle, and Vogue.

ADAPTATIONS:

Calling Romeo has been optioned for film.

SIDELIGHTS:

Alexandra Potter is a novelist and romance author from Yorkshire, England. She has been a magazine journalist for popular British publications such as More!, OK!, and Vogue.

Most of Potter's works could be described as chick-lit. In her debut novel, What's New, Pussycat?, protagonist Delilah has tired of her life in Bradford, England, and she is leaving her boyfriend and her old life behind and heading for the big city. Confident and determined, Delilah intends to make the best of her new surroundings and be successful in her career and in love. Fielding unusual advice from her new friend Vivienne, Delilah juggles the attentions of wealthy media hotshot Charlie and the sweet-natured, more down-to-earth Sam. No matter what choices she makes in work and love, she knows they will have to be made strictly on her own. Potter's next novel, Going La La, finds twenty-nine-year-old Frankie reeling from abrupt changes in her once-happy life. In less than a week, she has gone from happy at work and happy in her relationship to jobless and fiancé-free. Suddenly the best option seems to be to get far away from her life in London and head to America where her best friend, Rita, is trying to make it as an actress in Los Angeles. Unprepared for the high-energy excesses of life in the big American city, Frankie initially has difficulty adjusting. New friends such as upstairs neighbor Dorian, and new boyfriend Reilly, with billboard-quality looks, help ease the transition and allow her to believe there might yet be hope for happiness.

Juliet, the protagonist of Calling Romeo, Potter's first novel published in the United States, is frustrated with her boyfriend, Will, after he's kept her waiting at a bar on Valentine's Day. Furious at Will and with her mood soured even more by the rain, she storms out of the bar where she gets splashed by a speeding car. Her anger turns to curiosity when she catches a glimpse of the devilishly handsome driver behind the wheel of the sports car. Later, at a social event sponsored by her advertising-agency employer, she discovers that the man's name is Sykes, and he is the creative director of a rival advertising firm. Soon, Sykes is paying a lot of attention to the beautiful, clever Juliet—more attention than unreliable Will ever did. For Juliet, there's much to like about Sykes, who is handsome, intelligent, witty, and generous with his considerable wealth. When a breakup with Will seems unavoidable, she heads off to Italy for a romantic weekend with Sykes. Yet she can't completely shake off her feelings for Will, and when Sykes begins to display his unpleasant side, Juliet realizes that she may have made a very bad choice. Throughout the novel, Potter "offers enough surprising twists to keep the story fresh," commented Kristine Huntley in Booklist. Romantic Times Online contributor Cindy Harrison commented favorably on Potter's "eye for telling details."

In Do You Come Here Often?, two high-school lovers reconnect after more than a decade. In the meantime, however, Grace Fairley has gotten engaged to divorce lawyer Spencer, and Jimi Malik has fallen deeply in love with a lovely model, Kylie, who has convinced him to abandon his bachelor ways. By chance, Grace runs into Jimi on the night of her thirty-first birthday and his bachelor party. He gives her a ride after she and Spencer fight, and they find their friendship rekindled. It doesn't take long, however, for their friendship to move to a higher level, especially after Jimi is abandoned by his bride-to-be, and Grace is shut out after Spencer reacts poorly to her insistence on setting a wedding date. With their current relationships foundering on the rocks, it looks more and more like their happiness will be found within an old romance become new again. Romantic Times Online critic Donna Carter found the novel to be a "fascinating, layered look at what happens when Mr. Right turns out to be Mr. Wrong." Huntley, in another Booklist review, called the book "a delightful and winning romantic comedy."

Me and Mr. Darcy treads into Jane Austen country with main character Emily Albright, a twenty-nine-year-old bookstore manager who idolizes Austen's brooding romantic hero, Fitzwilliam Darcy. Emily half-jokingly believes that Darcy is responsible for her lackluster dating life, since no living man could ever live up to the impossible standard that Darcy embodies and Emily longs for. With the Christmas holidays approaching, Emily dodges an unappealing outing with a coworker and instead signs up for a guided tour of Austen's (and Darcy's) British homeland. She is dismayed to find herself in the company of a group of middle-aged and older women, Austen fanatics all. Worse, Emily is needled by the only male on tour, handsome but aggravating journalist Spike Hargreaves, on hand to cover the tour and investigate what motivates a die-hard Austenite. Greater shocks are in store for Emily when the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur and she encounters a dapper Regency-era gentleman she believes to be Darcy himself. No mere hallucination, this Darcy is a living, breathing male, and he seems to be interested in pursuing Emily. Despite the chance to share a romance with the ultimate man of her dreams, she finds herself thinking of Hargreaves and his own Darcy-like characteristics. Maybe a modern-day suitor would be preferable to even a legendary one from the past. A Publishers Weekly reviewer observed that Potter's "chick lit take on Darcy has a refreshing not-trying-to-equal-the-master feel."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 15, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of Calling Romeo, p. 1046; January 1, 2005, Kristine Huntley, review of Do You Come Here Often?, p. 832.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2003, review of Calling Romeo, p. 1335.

MBR Bookwatch, January 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of Do You Come Here Often?.

Publishers Weekly, May 28, 2007, review of Me and Mr. Darcy, p. 37.

ONLINE

Becoming Jane Fansite,http://becomingjane.blogspot.com/ (October 31, 2007), review of Me and Mr. Darcy.

Dear Author,http://dearauthor.com/ (June 14, 2007), review of Me and Mr. Darcy.

Fantastic Fiction,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (March 17, 2008), bibliography of Alexandra Potter.

Hai Mum Web log,http://www.haimum.blogspot.com/ (July 9, 2007), Myra Mutalip, review of Me and Mr. Darcy.

Random House Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/ (March 17, 2008), author profile.

Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (March 17, 2008), Cindy Harrison, review of Calling Romeo; Donna Carter, review of Do You Come Here Often?; Lauren Spielberg, review of Me and Mr. Darcy.

Trashionista.com,http://www.trashionista.com/ (March 17, 2008), review of Me and Mr. Darcy.

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Potter, Alexandra 1970-

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