We all go through those moments in life when your mood is calling for a good cry. A film, a show, or – as is the case with Annie Lord’s latest project – a book on love and loss to get the emotions (read: tears) flowing. One of this summer’s most anticipated books (especially if you’re obsessed with love, like I am), Lord’s Notes On Heartbreak does exactly that. It follows the breakdown of her five-year relationship and how she navigated the emotions and messiness of a broken heart, and the process of recovering after losing someone important in your life.
Over the course of the book, Lord takes us through her time with her then-boyfriend, Joe* (not his real name, but who she thanks in the acknowledgements) from their first meeting, to how he ended their five-year relationship completely out of the blue one day standing outside Kings Cross station with six simple words: “I want to be my own.”
It’s a beautifully-written memoir that manages to create a shared experience out of Lord’s personal heartbreak that gives readers something to take away in order to navigate their own pain and loss. It’s by no means a practical manual for dealing with a broken heart, but the way Lord writes means she’s giving us a part of herself and makes you think about how we approach and deal with grief and loss.
When we meet on a sunny London morning in her publisher’s office, Lord is dressed in a blue and green satin-like dress and greets me with a hug as if she’s seeing an old friend for the first time in ages. And as we start chatting about how we’re both from the heady heights of Yorkshire, her warmth continues to embrace and engulf our conversation. The way she speaks perfectly matches with her words on the page, and I find myself opening up about my own experiences in relationships without even realising it.
And this may be Lord’s debut, but she’s also a Vogue columnist where you can regularly read about her thoughts and experiences of dating, sex, and friendship. As well as writing about things that we all may be thinking but would never say out loud. Notes On Heartbreak is personal writing at its finest, which Lord says is the kind of writing she enjoys reading the most as the “words feel really raw, emotional, and in the moment.”
Here, Lord talks about all things love, relationships, and why we all can’t stop watching Love Island.
What made you want to make your debut book about love and heartbreak?
In some ways, I don’t think you can pick what you're good at writing about. Love and relationships are just endlessly fascinating to me, and I think my writing opens up when I’m talking about it. You always have this idea when you're trying to write a book that you're going to write this new thing, different to anything else ever written, but I just think love and relationships are such universal concepts.
It’s probably why people become so engulfed with Love Island every year.
Yeah, completely! I love watching shows like that because I genuinely want to see people form connections and fall in love. I’m obsessed with it.
Is that where your love of love came from, TV and film?
‘90s rom coms, reality TV; I love all that stuff. But I’ve also always been a bit unlucky with men, so I think love is always something I dreamed about and put on a pedestal. You know when you’re trying to fall asleep at night and can’t? I make up scenarios in my head around a particular love interest or whatever’s going on in my dating life at that point. There’s multiple story tracks, lots of details, full-blown conversations. It probably sounds a bit much, but they’re so real and three dimensional to me.
I do that too, and I thought I was the only one...
You’re not alone! And I think that’s also where my obsession with love has come from: not having something so making it up in your head and thinking about it all the time. I do wonder if I'd be as interested in love if I was regularly dating at university or something. I’m rubbish at dating.
What would you say is the best date you've ever been on?
It was probably my first proper date with Joe. We’d been friends for so long, and you know, there was the odd hand holding and flirting, but sometimes it felt like I was just imagining things between us. But our first date was at this ridiculously expensive restaurant that he probably couldn't afford, and I think that was the first time I'd eaten in a fancy restaurant with a guy. And it felt like we were both embodying this fancy vibe, even though we were both uni students, and it was just really nice.
What are you reading right now?
You Made A Fool Of Death With Your Beauty, it's so good that I just want to read it again already! The story was so unexpected and it is so beautifully written. The sex scenes were so horny and exactly how sex should be written, too. Not that sex needs to form a key part of the plot or narrative of a story… It’s just very fun to include and makes for enjoyable reading.
And what's next for you?
At the moment, I’m trying to focus on writing fiction and getting to grips with it as it’s quite different to writing about yourself. But, I would want to return to writing about myself in books at some point. I think about coming back to Notes On Heartbreak and writing a volume two when I'm 60 years old and divorced. But then I think, why am I fantasising about divorce? But yes, I’m focusing on fiction at the moment and playing around with different characters.
Notes On Heartbreak is published by Orion Books and is out now.