Our review of Love From Both Sides will be up on Friday!
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I tend to write in the mornings, when my brain is still firing on most cylinders. I start about nine thirty and end about lunch time. I always get two thousand words written, though if I’m having a good day I can get up to about three thousand done. Then I have lunch and proceed to waste the rest of the afternoon on my iPad buying apps which I will use once or twice, before never touching again.
When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
My characters tend to be a hodge-podge (good word that, must remember to use it in a book sometime) of bits and pieces from the people I know. I don’t really base anyone on celebrities as I like my characters to be as natural as possible and down to earth. No character is based on any one person though, in case someone’s reading this with their lawyer on speed dial.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
Er... I don’t really read women’s fiction, if I’m honest. The stuff I read tends to feature things blowing up, coming back from the dead or Batman. Hang on, I’ll ask the other half what she likes (talk amongst yourselves for a minute). ... Kate Morton. She likes Kate Morton.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first of dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I have a rough idea beforehand of the concept of the book and the kind of themes I want to explore. That’s about it though. I don’t plan out the structure. It gets stale if you do that. I tend to do two drafts before handing it to my editor, who makes enough changes to actually make the thing publishable.
What was your journey to being a published author?
I self-published several books on the Amazon Kindle. The fourth book Love... From Both Sides hit the big time, selling over a quarter of a million ebooks in 2012. This got me an agent and a publisher.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That it’s not a proper job. Because it really is. Alright, it’s not the hardest job in the world. I’m certainly not going to compare myself to a policeman, A&E nurse or paramedic – but writing for a living comes with all the stresses and strains you’d associate with any line of work, you just get to deal with them all in your dressing gown. Anyone under the illusion that it’s all glamour and excitement should come round here while I attempt to do my expenses. It’s like watching a chimp trying to open a tin of beans.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Finish the book. It sounds a little crazy when you put it like that, but a lot of people ask my advice on how to sell their books and become successful before they've actually sat and cranked out eighty thousand words plus. Once you’ve done that you can start worrying about all the other stuff. Try to write a book that’s in a subject matter that you believe will be popular with the audience. A romance set in the thrusting world of trout farming may sound good to you, but make sure people actually want to read about that kind of thing before you start writing it.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m just muddling through the concept for my next book, before I begin writing it in earnest in February.