I generally write in 2 hour blocks, on my sofa, with a favorite movie playing in the background. I have a day job, so I have to squeeze the writing in where I can. Sometimes, I’ll go to my favorite coffee house on a Saturday and park my behind for hours and hours until the work is done. I once occupied a seat there for 8 straight hours!
When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
I do, in fact. My first novel, Hollywood Ending, was inspired by my real life experiences trying to find a job in showbiz. So, my friends, my co-workers, people I ran into at clubs, they all made an appearance. For Picture Perfect, one of the main characters, Justine, is inspired by a close friend of mine, the character of Giles is loosely based on a former co-worker and Alan is a re-imagining of an obnoxious producer I once worked for at a production company. For my next project, however, I’m using celebrities for character inspiration. Essentially casting the roles, if you will. It’s fun!
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
Goodness! What a hard question. There are so many lovely WF novels out there. One of the best WF books I’ve read is a recent one,Hidden in Paris, by Corine Gantz. Her writing was simply gorgeous and the premise about three women starting over in a beautiful house in Paris offered so much for the reader to fall in love with, including the city of Paris itself. It was written from several different points of view and their storylines wove in and out of each other so gracefully, so seamlessly. At times, it was hysterically funny, and at other times, wrought with heartache. I was swept away by it. Truly a wonderful read.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
These days, I do a lot of planning before I ever write a single sentence of prose. I first explore the characters, their backgrounds, their interests, their careers, their relationships, etc. Then, when I’ve got my cast created, I work on the plot. I write everything I can imagine on index cards, and when I’ve got around 200 or so, I organize them into a storyline, cutting some and adding others. Once that’s done, then I start writing. I work on one chapter at a time. When one chapter is done, I will edit and revise it, and then I give it another read to make sure it’s smooth. When all the chapters are done. I read and revise again, approximately two more times. Then, it goes through the polishing phase.
When I finished my first novel, Hollywood Ending, I spent a year querying agents in search of a traditional book deal with a big New York publisher. The response I repeatedly got from agents was that while I “clearly write well” and my story was “fresh and fun,” Chick Lit did not sell and they couldn’t help me. So, out of frustration, I decided to start my own small press, Simon & Fig, to give voice not only to my work, but to the many Chick Lit authors out there who otherwise would not be heard. Since then, self-publishing has exploded and many authors are finding their readers without the help of the big publishing houses. And so far, Simon & Fig has published 4 novels and more are on the horizon!
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
Probably that writing is easy. It’s a lot of hard work! But let me clarify that. Writing is easy. Making your writing come together in a coherent and cohesive storyline that engages the reader and keeps them turning the pages? Now that’s the hard part.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Read a lot. Take writing workshops. Attend writing conferences. Write short stories. Develop your voice. Know exactly what it is you want to say with your writing and then really commit to telling your stories.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a Women’s Fiction novel entitled Roses in Bloom about two sisters, a decade apart, who are each facing life altering circumstances, finding strength in each other and discovering that sometimes your worst fears can lead to your greatest joys.
What are your top five writing tips?
1. Focus on one project at a time. Keep a notebook or journal or a digital diary of ideas that crop up, but stay focused on the story you are telling right now. Otherwise, you will never finish anything.
2. Read, read, read. I can’t say that enough. Great writers are great readers.
3. Get your blood pumping. Writers spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer which is not good for your bottom or your brain. Whatever your favorite physical activity is, make time for it. You’ll think better and you’ll feel better for it.
4. Know your stuff! That famous phrase, write what you know, is so important. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new. Do your research, know your subject inside and out, and then you will be writing what you know. It makes all the difference.
5. Make friends. Whether you want to be traditionally published or go the indie route, the best way to learn about the business is to interact with other authors. And I would like to add that book bloggers play an equally important role in the writing community. So, scope out your favorite blogs and start interacting with them!
Lucie's latest book is called Picture Perfect and is out now