64: Becky Holmes (Author of Keanu Reeves is Not in Love With You)

Danielle Krage interviews Becky Holmes, author of ‘Keanu Reeves is Not in Love with You’. Becky is also the creator of and voice behind the massively popular Twitter/X account @deathtospinach. Here she shares insights into how and why she uses humour to expose online fraudsters. Plus, what has helped her publish and promote her book.

Chapters

00:00 Introduction and Background

02:19 The Concept and Execution of ‘Keanu Reeves is not in love with you’

06:08 Bringing Silly to the Nastiness

08:01 The Power of Humour in Diffusing Difficult Topics

10:16 The Widespread Impact of Online Fraud

12:43 The Publication Process: Lengthy and Challenging

15:15 Finding an Agent: Networking and Building Relationships

23:22 Using Humour to Handle Criticism

26:44 Tips for Confident Public Speaking

34:44 The Benefits of a PR Background

39:18 Future Plans as a Writer

You can find out more about Becky Holmes’ work here:

Becky’s book (wherever you buy your books) – Keanu Reeves is Not in Love With You:  The Murky World of Online Romance Fraud

https://x.com/deathtospinach

https://www.instagram.com/deathtospinach

CLICK HERE FOR TRANSCRIPT

Danielle (00:02.536)

Hey everybody. Today I have with me the fabulous Becky Holmes, author of Keanu Reeves is Not in Love with You, which is such a fun title, such a great book. I read it, loved it. Couldn’t wait to have Becky on the show. And she is also the creator of and the voice behind the incredibly popular Twitter/X account, Death to Spinach. She has over 118,000 followers, which shows you just how entertaining it is, how much people want to engage with her. And I can totally understand why.

And Becky just has this really interesting and impressive relationship with how to bring humour into unpicking things that are happening online in a way that we’ll dig into more. But that makes me want to ask her all the questions. But before we do, Becky, is there anything else people should know about you and your work?

Becky Holmes (00:49.944)

I think probably my Twitter account speaks for itself. I’ll have a think about what people need to know about me and come up with something suitable at the end. Yeah. Although that’s, yeah, I’ve set myself up for something there, haven’t I? It could just be, you know, I hate spinach obviously, but yeah.

Danielle (01:03.292)

Yeah, great, love it. A little bit of teaser. Amazing, fabulous. And as I said in the intro there, I really enjoyed the book. Keanu Reeves is Not in Love with You. It’s a brilliant title. It’s such a great concept and it is so well executed for a nerd that like me that also really appreciates how people manage to get that voice, those experiences onto the page and in a way that makes it really gripping. Like I zipped through it and then also wanted to go back and reread it to be like, how did she do that? That was so good.

Becky Holmes (01:29.08)

Thank you. You know what, so many people messaged me saying, I loved your book, I read it in a day. And I’ve thought, can you not do that, please? Because it took me the best part of two years. Can you at least stretch it out? Let’s make it last longer. It’s like you spent all this time… But of course, it’s great if somebody reads something in a day or a weekend, it means that they can’t put it down. So, you know, it’s a great compliment.

Danielle (02:04.744)

Hmm, exactly. And it is. And for listeners who haven’t yet read your book, I highly recommend it. But for those that haven’t, would you mind just sharing a little bit about the concept or the impetus behind it just to kind of give them a sense?

Becky Holmes (02:19.608)

So it came about through my Twitter account, which is basically where I expose nasty people from the internet. So for this book, it was fraudsters. And I exposed them by messing around and making them seem silly. So I include that within the book, but then start talking about some very serious subjects around romance fraud as well and the psychology behind it, and coercive control, how that plays a big part, controlling relationships. And then I look at what isn’t being done with it, which possibly sounds quite boring, but hopefully the way I’ve done it is to make fraud, which is probably quite a boring subject, more engaging by kind of writing about it in what I hope is a fun way. So…I guess kind of educational at the same time as being engaging, I hope.

Danielle (03:19.144)

Yeah, no, it absolutely is. And you make it look easy, but I know that it’s not. So I did have some questions around, like I wrote down…if I was being a real comedy nerd about it…you have some really fun comic games that you play with the scammers. So I wrote down things like you trying to crowbar in, ‘calm your head’, and you pitting them against each other, and like some of the pictures that you include in the book. So would you mind giving people a sense, like were you coming up with those on the fly? Were you testing them out? How did you come up with so many fun ways to play with them?

Becky Holmes (03:57.208)

Well, it all comes about completely organically. I don’t know what happens with my brain, but when I start talking to one of these scammers, it just sort of fires off this stuff, which I probably wouldn’t come up with in inverted commas in real life. But it’s been an interesting one because when I first started messing around with fraudsters online, I didn’t know it was going to be a book. I didn’t know there was going to be any of this. It was just me sort of bored during lockdown.

So I was taking pictures of things from the internet. So for example, my pinned tweet is when I talked to a guy pretending to be a pilot and I say to him, you know, I’ve packed a suitcase, I’m going to go and stay at a hotel and all this kind of stuff. And I took those pictures from Google Images. I just, you know, put something on there. When it came to actually putting it together for the book, my publisher said…Well, you can’t use those pictures because you’ve got them off Google images. So suddenly I had to go around and retake all these pictures of various different things.

And some of them were stuff like, I said to somebody pretending to be Keanu Reeves that I’d killed three people. And the image that I’d taken from Google was these sort of three body bags hanging in a tree. And obviously I couldn’t use that. So I ended up going around to my mum’s house and between me and my 80-year-old mother…We were stuffing bin bags full of pillows and laying them out in the garden with a spade. And so it wasn’t until I was doing all of that that I thought, what did I come up with? Where did all of that come from?

So now, whenever I’m doing this, I have to think very carefully about if I might want to include them in another book and what it is and isn’t, what I can and can’t include. So it comes about completely organically, but I now have to just be slightly more aware of what I’m doing because my audience is a lot larger. So I have to make sure that I’m not going to put my foot in it in any way or upset anybody other than the fraudsters.

Danielle (06:08.488)

Yeah, yeah, that sounds tricky to me, but even dealing with the scammers, like when I’m watching you do it, it’s like…how does she manage to have such a playful sense? Because I think I’m quite wary with online. I love getting DMs from other writers and creators, I feel quite safe, but any from strangers, I feel wariness kick in, where you’ve managed to do it in such a playful way. Do you think there’s anything that’s equipped you to be able to do that and bring so much humour to it?

Becky Holmes (06:43.928)

I’ve always had quite an immature sense of humour, perhaps. So I grew up absolutely idolizing Rick Mayall. I mean, he was just, he was my first crush, basically, my first love. And until the day… I met him once and you know, so I grew up with quite silly humour, and Fawlty Towers and things like that. And I think I’ve always used humour and making myself laugh and other people laugh as a way of, I don’t know, getting rid of all the nasties in life. And I think for me, this is the ultimate way to be able to do that because you’ve got these horrible people who ultimately are going to try and get money from me. And if I can use a bit of silliness, I don’t know, it just in my head, it makes sense that it balances it out.

Danielle (07:33.832)

I love that and I really admire that. And I think it’s so lovely that… I’ve interviewed lots of different people on this show about how they use humour and bring things to it. And what’s so interesting is that lots of people have very different styles, but there sometimes is that same root behind it. Like for example, I had Andrew Kaufman on who writes fiction and he writes allegory and some absurdity, but he talked about humour in his family being like oven mitts. Like when something’s hot, like humour’s the oven mitts that allows you to kind of pick it up and kind of deal with it. And the way you described bringing silly to the nastiness makes so much sense. And I love it because I wouldn’t normally read a book about fraud, but I wanted to read it and I learned so much and it was so fun.

Becky Holmes (08:23.448)

Exactly, exactly. And that was that was sort of the point. It suddenly became… I’m a real one for believing that you can use humour to bring even the most boring or taboo subject to life. And that’s exactly what I hoped to do with it. And, you know, what you said about Andrew Kaufman, it’s it’s completely how I feel.

I fell ill some years ago and went through a really really hard time and what got me through was watching comedy on telly so and I have some kind of go-to shows that when I feel really low I watch them so if I feel that I’m going to kind of go into any kind of depression I stick Peep Show on for example. I just have these things because anything that is in any way absurd or kind of more clever, more dry, like Motherland, for example. For me, it just takes everything away.

And there’s been a lot of illness in my family. And I can relate to the oven mitt thing, because we all talk about illness and we laugh at each other for having various things. So if there’s times when I haven’t been able to get up the stairs for stuff that was happening before, my mum would sort of come along and we’d kind of laugh as she tried to pick me up on the stairs. And I think that is so important. I look at some people when they don’t laugh in their life and I think, how do you get through every day?

Danielle (09:58.729)

Yeah, yeah. And you explain that so beautifully. And that’s why I think I get, sometimes I feel like when people say or think about the word silly or say like it’s used in classrooms and stuff, it can be quite pejorative and dismissive. And it’s like, sometimes it’s…you mention Rik Mayall…it’s just so important for diffusing things, for making them more entertaining. It’s not a childish thing to be silly. I really admire it and love it. And it’s interesting, because since I’ve read this book, I’ve had so many more conversations about it. The subject of the book and online fraud and things. And with so many women and also men, and it’s been fascinating because it’s so much more widespread than I would have guessed until I’d read your book. And then having those conversations. So amazing, a gift you’ve brought.

Becky Holmes (10:56.216)

Well, what’s been really great is when I’ve had messages from people saying, I’ve read your book and now I’m out of this relationship. Or I gave this to my sister and she’s now realized what’s been happening. And that’s been brilliant. But I’ve had an equal amount of reward from people messaging me saying, your book had me howling with laughter. So. It’s been really nice to have all sorts of different kinds of feedback. And as you, so where I was going with that, keep going off track, is that you were saying how it’s more widespread.

Every time I’ve spoken to somebody about the book, say like, I don’t know, a taxi driver or whatever, everybody has said, I know somebody that that happened to, or, I was reading about that. It’s this thing that no one talks about, but in some way we all know somebody. And I think that if you can bring a way to talk about these subjects, then you will find that more people start speaking about it. And it becomes this big conversation and it becomes a self-perpetuating education, I suppose, because we all start talking about it. Yeah, which is brilliant.

Danielle

And for people who are listening, like you say, it’s also just very funny too. As I was reading it, I was like, gosh, it can almost sound like a cliche when we say the power of something, like the power of humour or the power of laughter, but it is really like…you are so empowered taking them on with these games and humour. And it’s such a powerful topic to be engaging with. Because like you use the word taboo and there can also be so much shame. Like you do such a good job in the book. And again, it’s like how brilliant to bring humour to that…to take some of the steam out of it… back to the oven and the mitts, I guess. So I love it.

Becky Holmes (13:03.32)

Yeah, yeah. It was a fine line. I mean, as you’ll know from reading it, I interviewed quite a few victims of fraud and I had to be very careful not to let the humour, you know, not to sort of be humorous, like as a way of being pejorative to them. So it was a case of being very sensitive about that, but then going on and talking about something else. Unfortunately, the feedback from the people in the book has been very good, because that’s always a worry. I didn’t want to do anything that would have seemed disrespectful to the victims who’d given me their time.

Danielle (13:41.736)

Yeah. Yeah. And I was so impressed by that. And again, as I say, like as a bit of a structure nerd as well, I went back to see…how did you manage those transitions? And it’s so skillfully done how you take us from those sections and into those stories. So you can just enjoy it as an experience, tearing through it in a day. And also I appreciate the skill it takes to do that. I really do. So.

Becky Holmes (14:05.848)

The structure. God. At one point I had, because this is my first book and my agent kept talking to me about a narrative arc and I kept thinking, shut up, shut up, narrative arc. And they said, there’s got to be a story. You’ve got to look at the structure of this. And I was thinking, I don’t know what to do here. And I ended up writing things that I wanted to include on… each thing was on a different post-it note and the wall of my flat was covered in these post-it notes and I would like just change the order of them every so often until it got to a point where I thought there is the structure but it literally took me having to visually do it because I found that really hard to start with. Really, really hard. Once I’d got it, that was it, I was away. But yeah, it’s something that, you know, hopefully I’ll go on and do another book and I’ll be able to take those lessons forward. And I’ve already stocked up on Post-It notes.

Danielle (15:15.304)

You’re all set. I love it. But again, amazing then to make that transition from knowing the things that are getting the responses in your Twitter/X account, but then also being able to successfully transition it to a book. And was there anything that you found surprising about that publication process?

Becky Holmes (15:37.272)

Yeah, I think how long it takes. So my view was, I think I put this in the book, basically you have an idea, you write it all down, you send it off to a publisher, they go, well, that’s nice. And then they send it off to be printed and it’s done. What was I thinking? That it was like that. It was the editing processes and then the legal read, because obviously it’s not fiction, it’s nonfiction. So it had to be, and I was talking about money and I was talking about people from my past as well. So we had to have quite a lengthy legal read. Yeah, it took a long time. And then there was quite a long period of time between all of that being done and it actually being published because there was a time of year where they thought it would be best.

And it seemed to be a really, really long waiting game in between each section. And I found that really frustrating because I’m somebody that if I know something needs to be done, I want to do it now. And then I want somebody to respond now. But of course you don’t get that luxury. You have to wait and wait and wait. But again, it’s one of those things where I’m glad that I’ve had that lesson because when it comes to doing it all over again, my expectations will be exactly where they need to be.

Danielle (17:01.48)

Yeah, yeah. That makes so much sense. And that’s really helpful for people to know. And I saw from your Twitter/X account that you’ve actually just signed with Curtis Brown as well. So firstly, congratulations. That’s amazing. It’s wonderful. And to the extent that you’re able to say, what’s that process been like?

Becky Holmes (17:25.848)

Well, I did actually have an agent beforehand. So my agent was a lady called Jo Unwin, who is fantastic. She’s married to Chris Morris, who did Brass Eye and The Day Today. So I just love her. Now we had started, you know, working together and doing bits and pieces. And then she announced that she was leaving the industry and I was absolutely devastated. So I was sort of lucky in that I had somebody already and therefore I suppose I was considered somebody of interest, if you like.

So I think some of the other agents were looking around and seeing which of Jo’s clients they might like. And I was very fortunate that Curtis Brown were interested in me because when Jo said to me, who would you like as your next agent, if I can help? It was them that I wanted and they got in touch with me even before Jo was going to try and sort of sell me. So it’s been relatively easy for me and I don’t take that for granted at all. You know, getting an agent is very, very, very difficult and very disheartening. And I’ve spoken to other authors who just haven’t been able to do it and to get themselves noticed. And they could well be bestselling authors in the making, but they just haven’t hit the right note at the right time, so I feel unbelievably fortunate.

Danielle (18:59.56)

Yeah. And, I mean, that’s wonderful to acknowledge and very heartening for, listeners to kind of hear that transparency. And you’ve already mentioned that you, your Twitter/X account was already well up and running long before you came to the book. Did you still have to pitch an agent, your first agent, or did they come to you? How did that work to the degree you are able to say?

Becky Holmes (19:27.896)

Well, again, this was very lucky. I was very, very lucky because an author who I really like, I saw that she started following me on Twitter and I messaged her and rather pathetically said, God, I love you. I think you’re great. And she messaged back and said, I really like what you’re doing. I’m going to talk to my…I’m going to mention you to my agent. And it was, I had to do a lot of chasing to get, you know, an initial call with them and stuff. So it’s not like it just sort of fell into my lap, but at the same time, again, I was very, very fortunate. Because while I was doing the Twitter stuff, I didn’t think that it was going to be a book. It’s not that. I didn’t have that traditional, I want to write a book and now I’m going to go and look for an agent. It sort of happened the other way round. And I’m glad because I’m quite a sensitive soul, and the thought of, you know, trying to get people to notice you and then being turned down. I think I would have found that really, really hard. And I really admire anybody that keeps going and, you know, gets on top of it and gets their agent and gets a book out. I think that is tremendous. And I’m not sure. I’m not sure that I would have had that in me.

Danielle (20:47.048)

Hmm. But there’s so much that you have in you that there’s….so many questions I want to ask from that. But the first one being that you’ve mentioned that you’re sensitive and that probably is true for lots of the writers and creators listening too. But what strategies have helped you do you think being able to be so public online? Because like I have a lot of conversations behind the scenes and it is something that people struggle with. Just because there can be so much good that comes, but then there can also be kind of the flip side of that in terms of attention. Is there anything that’s helped you feel steady, grounded, whatever you need to be able to deal with all those people kind of coming in?

Becky Holmes (21:31.032)

I think…I keep saying how lucky I am, but I’m going to say it again. When you go onto Twitter, I refuse to call it X. It’s always Twitter. There’s a lot of very horrible, spiteful, nasty people on there. I see it all the time, but I hardly ever get contacted by them. People who contact me, let’s say fraudsters aside and dick pic senders aside, I don’t get people being nasty to me. I mean I’ll say that… this will go out and then people will think right we’re not having that and then I’ll send a load.

But you know I haven’t had a lot of abuse that you hear that people get and I think it’s possibly because I stay away…I do what I do on Twitter with the fraudsters and the dick pic people. I don’t get involved in other people’s arguments. I don’t get involved in politics or religion or you know that whole dinner party thing never talk about politics, religion, whatever. And I think because of that I’ve perhaps flown under the radar in terms of how cruel people can be. I mean I’ve had some people you know comment on my weight or tattoos that I’ve got or stuff like that. But I’m very lucky in that because the overwhelming majority of people just say really nice things about how my stuff is funny and it makes them laugh, it’s educational. Every 1000 comments that I get, I get somebody saying something unpleasant. So it’s so diluted, the unpleasantness.

And also it goes back to the humour thing. Sometimes what I can do is use what somebody said, you know, something unpleasant to make a new Twitter post and to make that funny. So it’s sort of the way that I do it. And I’m also lucky that I have friends who I’ll say, look what this person said, and they’ll come up with something that is so hysterical, like so dry, that it will just make me laugh and I think, fine, yeah, done. That’s that unpleasantness gone.

I think if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing and I didn’t have so many people who are very nice to me, very kind to me online, I’d find it hard. I know I hear about people, and I’m talking about actual celebrities, people in the public eye who get bullied online. And I don’t know how I would ever cope with that, you know. I’ve spoken to people who, I guess, regular people, non -celebrities who have been through awful things and I, they’re stronger than me. You know, I don’t know how I’d handle it. I’d feel very vulnerable.

Danielle (24:40.584)

Yeah, yeah. That makes a lot of sense. But I love the levels of your friends being able to make you laugh, about the ones that you’d be able to respond with humour. So again, it’s like, humour is the answer to so much, isn’t it? Just putting it back in perspective, like you say, being diluted. I love it.

Becky Holmes (24:53.72)

Absolutely, yeah. My friends know that if ever I’m down, they won’t come round and offer me words of wisdom and all the rest of it. They’ll come round and say, I don’t know, just be very sort of dry and kind of take the piss out of me for being depressed. And it works, it actually works. So yeah.

Danielle (25:13.768)

Yeah. Right. And you’re also a really experienced speaker. You’ve given lots of talks about the content of this book. And before we started recording, you were mentioning that you’d just been on This Morning, I think it was. And so I wondered, I can see from the outside, so many reasons why people would love to have you as a guest and a speaker. But for any writers and creators who are listening, who kind of partly want to do that…they would love to be on more panels or they would love to go to a book event or give a book talk, and they’d like to bring some humour to it as well, but they don’t feel super confident yet. Are there any tips that you would have for that kind of person?

Becky Holmes (26:04.632)

That’s a hard one.

Danielle (26:06.312)

I know, because you’re so good at it. Sometimes it’s kind of hard to unpick. I just wondered if there’s anything you think…that’s a little place to start or a little bit of encouragement.

Becky Holmes (26:15.8)

I mean, I suppose you can never go wrong with… I think in my view, if you know your subject, so romance fraud, for example, I know that subject and I will happily talk 24 seven about it because I’m confident in my knowledge. Now, if you’re confident in the knowledge of your subject, you know 100 % more than everybody else in that room. So you will always be able to say something of interest to every single person in that room. You don’t have to be word-perfect. You don’t have to never stumble over your words. People don’t want that. They don’t want polished. Sometimes people think they have to go onto a stage and be a slick presenter. I don’t, you know, when I see people like that, I’m bored. I want humans and people who do kind of stutter over their words and do sort of let out you know, the odd swear word and then say, shit, sorry. You know, and I think it’s that thing where you’re human and you’re nervous about it. Just go with it. Cause it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. You know, I have this thing and it’s sort of too deep really, but it’s kind of relevant. I have this thing where I’ve always, I’ve dreaded the thought of being on my deathbed and looking back and thinking, why didn’t I do that? Why didn’t I do that? And I think with something where you’re not sure whether you want to do it or you’re nervous or you think that you wouldn’t be as good… in like 40 years time on your deathbed, you’re never going to look back and say, I wish I hadn’t done that talk because I messed up those few sentences. It’s just not going to happen. You’re going to think I’m glad that I did everything. And I really believe that. I really believe that.

God, if you don’t take every chance that comes your way, if you don’t step out of your comfort zone, you’ve just existed, you haven’t lived.

Danielle (28:20.552)

I love that and that’s super inspiring. And again, I think if you have got a bit of a filter for humour in the sense of like appreciating what that can do or how you manage situations, then I do feel like so many things looking back are a funny story. And I’m really aware of this because my husband and I have slightly different filters for things that… we’ve grown up with humour in different ways. And there’s so many things where some things have gone wrong or been really embarrassing. And I think it’s absolutely hilarious, at the time and quite soon after, where he’s still in the mortified stage for a bit longer than I am. Or I would tell things and he’d be like… that’s awful. I was like, no, it was kind of a little bit awful at the time, but now it’s so funny to me that I did that really stupid thing or that really embarrassing thing. So like, totally. And you can really see you living life to the full and making those opportunities.

Becky Holmes (29:03.896)

Yeah! Because it makes you who you are. Yeah.

Danielle (29:17.672)

It’s not easy always being a creative person either in making this content. So amazing that you’re bringing that kind of joy and lightness to it too. And do you have a sense, because this book has been so successful and your Twitter account is so successful. Do you have a sense of what you might like to explore next for your book? You don’t have to tell us what the content is, but like how far do you like to think ahead for yourself? To get that balance between grabbing opportunities and thinking, well, what do I want to do next? Not an easy question.

Becky Holmes (29:54.712)

No, I think when I started the book I didn’t really think that many people would buy it so I didn’t put much thought in beyond publication day and then I got asked to do lots and lots of things and I thought… quite enjoying this. But now I’m at that weird stage where I finished doing that I don’t quite know what I’m doing in the future I know vaguely what I want to write about. I think I’m going to have a period. I’m sort of halfway through a proposal for a new book idea. I’ve been doing a lot of podcasts. I’ve been doing quite a bit of TV and stuff. And I’m, as well as doing the proposal, I’m kind of sitting back and thinking, okay, what do I actually want now? Because I’ve had my finger in a lot of different pies, which I like, but I need to kind of have a think about where I go and I think my heart really is in writing. But also because you then get to do the publicity when the book comes out and my background is in PR and I used to train people to speak to the media and stuff so I like all that. I like the presenting side of it, the sales side of it. So I think it’s going to be, the future is going to be writing with the view to then being able to talk about what I’ve written.

So it’s a very long process just to be able to have a few chats with somebody. But I just, I feel…I feel excited about whatever it is that I do. I’ve not been able to work for about eight years due to illness. So suddenly over the last couple of years when I’ve been doing these things, I’ve had a life again. And it’s been the most wonderful feeling and I don’t take a second of it for granted. So when somebody says, what’s next? I just think, I don’t know, but I can’t wait for it.

Danielle (32:05.256)

Yeah, that’s wonderful. And I appreciate you sharing your experience with illness as well, because in the writing communities that I’m in, that’s real. I have multiple friends who struggle in writing. People who aren’t writers may not realize the toll it takes, but in terms of what it requires of you, it requires so much.

Becky Holmes (32:32.376)

Yeah, it does, yeah.

Danielle (32:33.384)

So to not be able to do that if you’re really struggling with, I don’t know your experience, but if they’re…I have friends who struggle with pain management, who struggle with kinds of chronic fatigue, who struggle with things that manifest as brain fog and different experiences. So hard to then have to write. So thank you for sharing your experience.

And I would love to, I  did see in my research online that you, I saw that it said you ran a busy press office and that you’re an ex-coms person, which I was curious about, but I never know with the internet. I couldn’t remember where I got it from, if that was totally true. But now that you’ve kind of verified that fact, is there anything that you particularly learned that you think has really helped you as a writer? Because I can see things that you’re amazing at.

Becky Holmes (33:25.368)

I think it wouldn’t be the book it is and I wouldn’t have done the press I’ve done had it not been for that background. So I think working in PR and comms, I think it teaches you to be cheeky. So when you look at my book and I’ve got the kind of endorsements from the writers and the comedians and stuff…I went out and got those myself. So it wasn’t my agent, it wasn’t my publisher, it was me thinking, right, who can I ask to do my PR? Like, who can I get favours from? Who can I get to do stuff? Who can I ask to help me? And I was so glad that it did because Daniel Finkelstein from the Times, for example, I asked him to review it thinking, well, he’s going to say no.

But he didn’t, he said yes and he loved it. And then the five pages in the Times Magazine came about because of that. So it’s, I suppose it’s that thinking, okay, in an ideal world, who would I get to look at this? right, it’s them. Okay, I’m just going to ask them. And it’s being cheeky. Yeah.

Danielle (34:44.84)

I love, that’s so encouraging because also again, I think of the different conversations that we have in different writing communities. And sometimes like, whether it is like fear of rejection or different kinds of shyness that can actually be really limiting. So amazing to hear. And I think cheeky is a lovely word for it because again, like it annoys me, but sometimes particularly with females, people will say, that’s a bit forward or that’s a bit pushy or….which I don’t agree with anyway, excuse me. But actually cheeky is a really good word for it. Because again, it does have that lightness, that humour. And you said earlier on in the interview, saying to someone, I really love your work. And then connecting with them on Twitter, being brave enough to take that step to make that connection. It’s really inspiring.

Becky Holmes (35:36.6)

Yeah, yeah. I think that’s a PR thing. I also think on the more serious side, PR, because I used to do a lot with crisis communications. And I think that teaches you, I mean, I’ve made some mistakes in my career in terms of reputation management. And I think I look back to some of those lessons and, you know, I sort of say to people, don’t say anything that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the Times tomorrow. That’s kind of the mantra. And now if I go on telly or I do radio or podcast or whatever, I’ve always got that in the back of my head.

My sense of humour can be very dark and I have to make sure that that stays among my friends who are equally as peculiar because sometimes what you say or what you write, it can go to an audience that you’re not aware of and it can be taken in a very different way. So I think that’s something that that background has taught me as well…just to be be kind of free and easy, but also have something in the back of your head that you’ve got to be careful that you’re not going to offend or to, I suppose, open yourself up to too much criticism about yourself as a human, you know, what you believe in and whatever. Because, you know, when you are a creative and you can be sensitive, you know, we just want to keep as many avenues to heartbreak closed as we possibly can.

Danielle (37:20.104)

Well, thank you. I find it so inspiring the way that you’ve been able to do that, the way that you’ve been able to kind of figure out what makes sense for you to like to protect what you need to protect, like you say, including your heart as a creative, but still have this lovely, honesty and you use the words free and easy, like that liveliness and energy that does draw people to you.

I reached out to you, because as soon as I saw you, I was like, this person is amazing. Like, I love what she’s doing. I don’t know how I would do this. I have to learn from her. So I’m so happy you agreed to come on the show. Thank you. And where can people go to find out more about you and your fabulous work?

Becky Holmes (38:03.864)

You’re welcome. So you can obviously buy the book anywhere that you buy books. So you can do that. Keanu Reeves is Not in Love With You. In terms of me, go onto Twitter, which my handle X, let’s just do it. Let’s say X. My Twitter slash X handle is @deathtospinach. All spelt out. My Instagram is the same, but genuinely my Instagram is me and my partner on holiday and my dinner.

It’s you know I don’t do anything on my Instagram account and that’s probably it. If you Google me which I did believe it or not I did this for the first time four months ago, googled myself because my friend said have you ever googled yourself and I went no and then I felt really nervous but if you do Google me you can see various bits and pieces that I’ve done you know on YouTube and wrote like a couple of newspaper articles and that kind of thing. So I’m all over the shop.

Danielle (39:13.576)

Amazing. Now we’ll put that in the show notes. Thank you so much, Becky. It’s been so fun chatting with you.

Becky Holmes (39:18.936)

it’s been really good. Thank you. It’s a shame it has to end. I’m going to go off air now and I’ll just be like a completely miserable face. I won’t look like this. I’ve been all lovely and kind of like this for the last three-quarters of an hour and I’m just going to go off and, you know, sit. Thank you.

Danielle (39:20.552)

I know. Yeah, that’s okay. Awesome. Bye for now.