Here I am at Novelicious banging on about myself.
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I aim to write 2000 words a day. On a good day, I potter around on social media and procrastinate for a bit before getting stuck in, and have my words for the day written by about 3pm. Then I go for a run or to the gym and have an afternoon nap with the cat (my favourite thing about working from home!). In the evening I read over what I’ve done and think about the next installment. Of course, it doesn’t always happen quite like that and some days I’m still stuck on a tricky scene at midnight.
When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know as inspiration?
Not famous people, but definitely people I know. Characters take on a life of their own very quickly, though – Ellie in It Would Be Wrong… has elements of me, and various friends, but at the same time is entirely herself. There’s another character in the book who was inspired by someone I used to work with, but I’d better not say too much about that!
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
I absolutely love Persephone Books – it’s a publishing house that reissues out-of-print books, mostly fiction by early 20th-centrury woman writers. The books are beautiful and the shop on Lamb’s Conduit Street is a joy. It’s almost impossible to pick a favourite one of their books, but I’d probably go for The Priory by Dorothy Whipple.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
When I was writing It Would Be Wrong…, I had a pretty good idea of where the story was going, but the details of the plot became clear as I went along. It sounds haphazard but I have learned that this is an “official” way to write – it’s called the headlight method. Essentially you’re in the dark, but when you’re close enough to things to need to see them, you can. I did a first draft, left it for a bit, then went back and revised a few small things before submitting it. It was an extremely easy book to write – I know the next one is going to be harder going and need more careful planning.
What was your journey to being a published author?
I finished writing It Would Be Wrong… in April 2012, and pitched it to a few agents. I had a request for a full manuscript very quickly and although it didn’t lead to an offer, that was wonderfully encouraging. I signed with my lovely agent, Peta Nightingale at LAW, in December, and we worked on the manuscript for a bit before submitting it to editors. We received an offer from a publishing house in July this year, but Peta suggested going down the self-publishing route through Amazon’s White Glove programme instead. It was definitely the right decision for my book.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That writing is easy. I’ve run marathons and writing a novel is much harder! That feeling when you sit down at the laptop and you know you’ve got to find 2000 words from inside your head is just terrifying.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Do the groundwork. Read lots and lots in your genre, research literary agents who represent books like yours, and start building a profile on social media – it will stand you in good stead when the times comes to market your book.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve been freelancing at various publishing companies over the summer, and have really enjoyed being back in the workplace – writing is quite isolating. But now I’m ready to get stuck in to my next novel, which I hope will be released in spring 2014. It’s about planning a wedding – with a twist!