This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Jenny Harper recently signed a four-book deal with Accent Press while attending the Romantic Novelists' Association conference earlier this year. Today she's telling us a little about her writing and her journey to being a published author. Jenny's latest novel, Maximum Exposure, is out now.
Erratic! I’m either avoiding sitting down to work because a) it’s too nice outside, b) because I’m stuck over the plot or c) a character – or I’m obsessive. I have been known to write for many hours at a time. I finished the last 30,000 words of my new book (The People We Love, Accent Press, 26th February 2015) in four days!
When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
No, not really. I sometimes browse through magazines and newspapers looking for images of people who might work as characters, but I usually forget about them quite quickly and just work on what’s in my head.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
I’m too fickle to have an all time favourite. I remember devouring Angelique by Sergeanne Golon as a teenager, and I think Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence is one of the most beautifully written love stories ever.But I love a number of contemporary writers too – Jojo Moyes, Penny Vincenzi and Elizabeth Buchan to name a few. I like reading anything that’s well written and tells a good story!
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I get the idea for the book – or rather, a number of ideas, because I like to write multi-layered novels – then spend some time thinking about it all. I work on my main characters, then attempt a synopsis. This can be quite lengthy, but it also usually changes quite a lot as I write. I tend to continually edit and rewrite in the early stages, but once I really get going, I’m much surer of myself, and usually from half way in, everything starts to flow.
What was your journey to being a published author?
I wrote a number of books (fiction and non fiction) back in the early 1980s, but I never made enough money to sustain myself and my then small son. I decided to give fiction another go as I was nearing retirement. My story, The Eighth Promise, was accepted for publication in the recent RNA anthology, Truly, Madly, Deeply, and I decided to self publish two of my books. I met Hazel Cushion (MD of Accent Press) at this year’s RNA conference, and she offered me a four-book deal! It was all very exciting, and since then, life has been a whirlwind. I have a story coming out next month in another anthology, Let’s Hear It For The Boys!, in aid of the men’s health charity, Movember; my third Heartlands novel, Maximum Exposure, has just been released (and I had a fabulous launch at Waterstones in Edinburgh), and the fourth Heartlands novel, The People We Love, is released in February.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That we make lots of money! I know some writers do, but I’m still waiting …
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Read, learn, be persistent.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m now hard at work on the fifth novel in the Heartlands series, The Mistakes We Make.