1.Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
My average writing day often begins in the middle of the night! Having brought up four sons, I’m used to waking in the early hours when the house is quiet and writing from 1.30 to around 3.30am before going back to bed for a couple of hours of much needed sleep. During the day I write when I have a spare minute and am fortunate that I can usually get straight into character and pick up where I left off.
2. When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
When I’m writing I do use character traits from people I know and sometimes my heroes are based on a gorgeous celebrity figure. But I never use all of a real person – just some of their more interesting traits. My characters can be a mix of several different people and sometimes they are completely fictitious, although they are all totally real to me.
3. What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
It is so hard to name my favourite women’s fiction book of all time, when there have been so many great books and amazing writers. If I absolutely had to choose it would be Little Women by Louisa M Alcott. I read it many times when I was growing up and because I’m one of three girls I identified with the characters which seemed to be based on my own mother, me and my sisters. I was Jo, the aspiring writer, of course – who ended up with all those sons. Maybe I’m a reincarnation of Louisa!
4. What is your writing process? Do you plan first of dive in? How many drafts do you do?
My writing process is a little haphazard. I have an idea and then swirl it round in my mind for days, sometimes weeks or even months, inventing characters that take on a life of their own. When the characters seem totally real and I’ve begun having conversations with them in my head, I begin writing, putting them into whatever situation I’ve dreamt up and seeing what happens. The characters seem to write the books for me.
5. What was journey to being a published author?
My journey to being published was an unusual one. I self published my first book Being Lauren, which was then voted as one of the favourite reads of the year back in 2006 by listeners of radio 4’s Open Book programme. On the strength of that I was discovered by Harper Collins who signed me up for three books, one of which was my original book, re-edited, given a new cover and renamed Could it be Magic? The next one was Coming Home and the most recent is Down to Earth.
6. What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
I think the biggest myth about being a novelist is that once you have books in print and have lots of fans eagerly awaiting the next book, everything you ever write will continue to be published. In reality a writer is only as good as the sales figures of their latest book, rather like an actor is only as good as their last performance’s box office takings – even if the book/film was brilliant. So much depends on good marketing.
7. What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
My advice to anyone who wants to write a novel of their own is to stick with it. If you are a good writer with good ideas and you work hard at getting your work noticed, don’t be disheartened by early rejections. If you were meant to be a writer you will succeed in the end. Go for it!
8. What’s are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m in the lucky position of having finished another book. It’s a little different from my previous three, so hopefully that will be out during the next year. It’s a little darker, tugging at the heart strings and I hope it will be the first of a new series of three or more books. I’m still at the ideas stage with my fifth book, still mulling over characters to cast in my next scenario – and loving every minute of it.