The lovely Lucy Diamond (whose book Hens Reunited has just come out) has kindly answered some questions for your enjoyment!
1 - What is your average writing day like?
I need at least two cups of tea, and a read-through of Facebook, blogs and emails before I can even think about work. Then, once I start feeling guilty about all the time that I’m wasting, I force myself to get stuck in. I read and edit the pages I wrote last time I was at my desk, which gets me in the mood to carry on the next bit of the story. I write between 3,000 and 5,000 words a day. 6,000 if I’m really cooking!
2 - Your books ‘Over You’ and ‘Hens Reunited’ explore women’s relationships. Where do you get your ideas from?
All sorts of things – dreams, overheard conversations, stories in magazines, and of course, imagining ‘what if…?’ For Hens Reunited, I knew wanted to write about hen nights, as there’s usually some bad behaviour involved so plenty of scope for good juicy material! It’s not the most conventional way to work, but for this novel, I came up with the title first and really liked that, so then I had to think of plotlines to fit, ie why the three ‘hens’ needed to be reunited – had they fallen out? What had happened?
The spark for Over You came from a weekend away with two old friends who I’d shared flats with in London, just like the characters in the book. I imagined what it would be like if a group of characters had a similar reunion, and then it turned out that one of them had betrayed another in the worst possible way… my mind started whirring, and I knew there was a good story there to be told!
3 – Can you tell us about your writing process - are you a planner or do you dive into the story and hope for the best?
I am not much of a planner – I wish I was! I start with an initial character or a situation and have a rough idea of what’s going to happen by the end of the book, but I only find out the stuff in the middle as I’m writing it. I’m often just as surprised by events as my readers are!
4 – When you’re writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as visual inspiration for the characters? If so, have you got any examples?!
I know lots of authors who imagine their characters in amazing visual detail, but I don’t really work like this. I have loose, hazy images of what my characters look like but they’re never based on real people. That’s not to say I haven’t imagined which famous actors would play all my characters if Hollywood
5 - What is your favourite women’s fiction book of all time and why?
Oooh… that is such a tough question! It so depends on my mood and what I’ve just read. Some of my favourite authors are Kate Atkinson, Rose Tremain, Maggie O’Farrell, Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters, but it’s really hard to pick out one favourite. I’ve just read ‘The Children’s Book’ by A S Byatt which I thought was wonderful, so that’s my most recent favourite – is that allowed?!
6 - What do you think of the chick lit label? Are you happy for your books to be grouped into that category?
I don’t really know what the chick lit label means any more. For me, it used to be shorthand for books with pink covers about young twenty-something women living in London and searching for Mr Right, but if you look at someone like Marian Keyes whose books are always put in the ‘chick lit’ category, she tackles some really dark issues that don’t fit this description at all. So has chick lit evolved, or has it just become a lazy label for a certain strand of contemporary women’s fiction? I don’t know.
My books are definitely driven by relationships – but that includes friendship and family relationships too, as well as boy-meets-girl. If people want to call my books ‘chick lit’ then that’s fine by me.
7 - How was your journey to getting published?
I began writing my first novel, Any Way You Want Me, when I was having quite a tough time. I was a full-time mum with a one-year-old daughter and a newborn son, and I was just knackered and finding everything really difficult – so much harder than I ever thought motherhood would be. I started a creative writing evening class where the aim was to write a novel over two years and got so caught up in my character, Sadie, and all the outrageous things she got up to, that I wrote the whole novel in about nine months. I was lucky enough to get a brilliant agent who sent it out to publishers and then even luckier to get the nod from Pan. I will never forget the day my phone rang and my agent said they’d made me an offer for a two-book deal – it’s right up there with the births of my children as being one of the happiest days of my life!
8 - Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the future?
I’ve just finished my fourth novel, Sweet Temptation, which is out next June and am about to go on holiday and have the rest of the month off, hooray! After that, I’m going to get started on a brand new novel – watch this space…
Look out for Writing Tips from Lucy Diamond coming soon!
To Visit Lucy's Website Click Here!