Nicola's latest novel is The School Gates, which recently won an award at The Festival of Romance!
Can you tell us a little about
your average writing day?
When I start a novel I cannot
stop! I find it’s the best way to retain character continuity. I always write
in bed. I may have a radio on but I’m usually so engrossed I don’t hear it.
Time flies. 6 hours is my usual stint but if the story is flowing I can write
for longer. I just stop to get food and drinks, but consume them in the bedroom
When you are writing, do you use
any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
Not so much celebrities, but
definitely I draw characters from people I know or have met throughout my life.
What is your favourite Women’s
Fiction book of all time and why?
Water Melon by Marion Keyes,
because it gave me my initial inspiration to become a writer.
What is your writing process? Do
you plan first of dive in? How many drafts do you do?
The ideas for my novels comes to
me first, usually at very random times. I sort of plan in my head but then dive
in and different plot lines seem to happen as I go along. I see a book as one
continuous draft until I write The End.
What was your journey to being a
I am still not traditionally
published. I started writing 16 years ago. I did get myself an agent who thoroughly
believed in Star Fish, but couldn’t get a publisher to bite. We parted company amicably.
I then started trying on my own. It was when one very big publisher said they
hoped it wasn’t a big regret turning Working it Out down that I knew it was
good enough to be out there. So I took the plunge and published myself. 4 books
later I do not regret this decision at all.
What do you think is the biggest
myth about being a novelist?
That you are instantly going to
What advice can you give to our
readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Have a captivating story. The
amount of people who say they are going to write a novel about their life.
STOP! No-one else will care.
Also, just get on with it. Even
if it’s a couple of pages in a lunch hour. Those words soon add up.
What are you working on at the
The School Gates is being so well
received that I am going to start its sequel over Christmas. I haven’t even got
a working title yet so any ideas gratefully received!
What are your top five writing
Show not tell. Never
underestimate your reader. Let them work it out.
Always end a chapter with
something intriguing or shocking.
If you’re not going to research,
write about something you know well.
Never edit as you go along. Get
it down and go back later.
Always read dialogue out loud as
you type it.