Kim Izzo is the author of The Jane Austen Marriage Manual. Her first novel, My Life in Black and White, is available now.
I have a full-time job as a magazine editor so my average writing day for my novels is approximately one hour to 90-minutes before work. I’m too exhausted by the time evening rolls around to write, plus I can’t stand looking at a computer by then. Sunday is my all-day writing day. If I could write full-time, or what I’ve done when I’ve taken a short leave of absence, is start writing around 7:30am or and finish around 2pm.
When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know as inspiration?
I often think of my books like a film so I will sometimes envision a specific actor in the role so I can “hear” my characters speak.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
Pride & Prejudice. Need I say more? But you probably want me to so here goes: Austen’s prose is simple and beautiful and her characters are infinitely relatable no matter where you’re from and the story is romantic and timeless.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I’m big on outlines, probably a habit instilled in me during my film school screenwriting classes. These outlines are all handwritten in Moleskin notebooks and are updated as the plot develops, even during the middle of writing the book. Number of drafts depends, but from the first “vomit” draft where I just get it all down to publication, maybe 5 or 6.
What was your journey to being a published author?
A long and difficult one paved with heartbreak. Just kidding. I was an unemployed screenwriter and fell into journalism – it was refreshing to see an idea sold, written and published in the blink of an eye compared to the lengthy process of film. Then after a decade of that I went back to writing fiction and got lucky and my book sold.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That we’re all raging alcoholic loners. As I write this I’m sitting alone and broody with a half-finished bottle of bourbon at my desk and it’s 10am on a Sunday. Seriously, most people I meet are intrigued with the process and want to know how it’s done and if I suffer from writer’s block.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
I have my own three-step program: 1) finish the book, don’t agonize over every word or sentence at this stage just get to the end. 2) have readers who aren’t your mother read the manuscript. We all have at least one book worm pal who can give constructive feedback and 3) hire an editor. Many publishers are short-staffed and don’t have the time to lovingly massage a rough draft into shape like they once did. But there are loads of talented freelance editors who can whip it into shape so that you have the best possible chance of selling it.
What are you working on at the moment?
My first historical novel. I’m in the middle of the research stage and outlining my characters. It’s a far more daunting task than I realized.