I had the pleasure of meeting Lindsey Kelk at the Melissa Nathan awards, and she was super lovely. Am delighted to bring you our interview with her, in which she chats about her writing routine, the "I Heart" series and her journey to publication. Enjoy!
1. Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I wish I had an average writing day! It’s more like an average writing night and basically at around eightish (if I’m home) I settle down on the sofa with a lot of tea, snacks, some random movie or DVD in the background and my laptop. The internet is my biggest enemy – I think I Heart New York was written so quickly because my laptop wouldn’t go online. Bloody Facebook and Twitter have added months to the writing process…
2. When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
Not really although (and I’m constantly upsetting people when I tell them this) I was watching a lot of Entourage when I was writing Hollywood so James Jacobs is Adrien Grenier in my head. And I’m always happy to have Adrien Grenier in my anything (in case he’s reading).
3. What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
Probably Bridget Jones’ Diary because I remember reading it when I was a very young teen and it opened my eyes to a completely different world. Turns out that world isn’t a million miles away from the one I live in now but at the time, as a young teen in South Yorkshire, it was revolutionary. Before that I was reading lots of Virginia Andrews, Point Horror books and series like Sweet Valley High so this realistic romantic comedy thing was completely new to me. Apparently, I must have been paying attention because even though I didn’t read a lot of commercial women’s fiction it was the first thing that came to mind when I wanted to write.
4. What is your writing process? Do you plan first of dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I do a bit of a plan, just a one pager that gets more and more detailed as I go into it but then I just dive in. I can see all the scenes in my head like a film and it eats away at me until they’re on the page. Sometimes writing is so frustrating because I can’t write the book as quickly as I can imagine it. So far we’ve done pretty much two drafts on each of the I Heart Books with tidying up along the way. And by tidying up, I mean someone else tells me where I’ve cocked up and then I sort it out.
5. What was journey to being a published author?
For me it began much like everyone else’s, I wrote a story, got a friend to read it, submitted it to agents and waited for the rejection letters. And there were many. Eventually I found someone that wanted to work with me but not on I Heart New York so I ended up turning her down, which was incredibly scary, and asking a friend who had worked in commercial women’s publishing if she could advise me on agents. Instead, she passed the manuscript on to a publisher friend of hers who loved it (luckily!) and wanted to publish it. The weirdest thing was that it was all in the company where I worked but I didn’t know anyone in the women’s fiction team so it was so strange to walk up one floor and meet all these strangers that wanted to publish my book. Amazing but strange. My experience really wasn’t typical but I’m so pleased with how it turned out.
6. What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That we’re all tortured geniuses slaving away under candlelight. I can be really, really quite stupid when I want to be. Everyone else is probably really rather clever though.
7. What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Basically just to keep writing. It’s the best piece of advice I ever got and I pass it on whenever I can. You need to believe in what you’re doing, otherwise, why will anyone else? There will be a million people along the way dying to tell you its shit so you have to believe in it. Don’t over edit, don’t go back over the same part a million times just sit down and get it all down on paper.
8. What’s are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just started writing my next book which is a non-I Heart book (pauses for people to throw things at me) which will be out next summer. It’s still a comedy romance, it’s still full of people that do stupid, funny things and hopefully it won’t be awful. My mum always said it was a good job I thought I was so funny because no one else was laughing, so I take that as my marker for writing. If it makes me laugh, I’m happy with it. And also, HA! People totally think I’m funny, mother! Or at least, no one’s specifically told me that I’m not. Yet.