This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
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 too!
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 published author?
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 become rich!
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 moment?
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 tips?
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.