This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Chris Pavone's book The Accident – not to be confused with C.L. Taylor's book of the same name – is the story of a manuscript which lands on the desk of Isabel Reed, an influential New York literary agent, giving shocking revelations about one of the most powerful figures in the country. This is the book that Isabel has been waiting for her entire career, but as the manuscript changes hands and ignites interest, lives are soon lost while the anonymous author watches from afar.
I leave home at 8:40 to take my children to school – I’ve twin boys, ten years old – and then I continue walking to a members’ club, where I arrive at 9:00. I write until I run out of ideas or get hungry, but in neither case do I allow myself to quit earlier than 11:30. I do plenty of work at home – laundry and cooking and homework-supervising and household admin, plus some more professional-type responsibilities – but I’ve never been successful at writing there, so I stopped even trying. I avoid putting myself in positions where I’m likely to fail.
When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
Celebrities? No, not really. People I know? Definitely. But I try to disguise them into unrecognizability.What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
Sorry, but I can’t answer this. Even though I’ve written two novels with female protagonists, I’m a man, and I’m afraid that any title I might offer here will make me look like an idiot. I’m pretty sure I already look like an idiot with sufficient frequency; I don’t need to create more opportunities.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I plan a bit and then I dive in with abandon, then I get out and plan some more, then I dive in again, then I revise my plan… I keep toggling back and forth between on the one hand letting my imagination roam and on the other hand plotting out what should happen, and when, and why. I’m very meticulous about working with an outline, but I’m not fanatical about sticking to it. And then when I’m finally finished, I revise forever. Three full revisions? Four? It’s tough to say. The revising takes longer than the first-drafting. By a long shot.
What was your journey to being a published author?
I’m forty-five years old, and I’ve worked in publishing my entire adult life – as a copy editor and a managing editor, an acquiring editor and executive editor, an associate publisher and a ghostwriter and the author of a little book about wine that consists almost entirely of blank pages. Writing a novel is something I’ve always wanted to do, but I never managed to put together anything publishable until I had a worthwhile story to tell, just a few years ago, after a stint as an expat trailing spouse in Luxembourg.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
I’m afraid that all the myths are completely accurate.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
When I was an acquiring editor, I was always looking for new projects that were authored by the one person in the world who was in the best position – a position of expertise or experience, of platform or charisma or access… something special that gave this author a singular perspective on a subject. The dangers of genetic engineering? Really luxurious weddings? Italian wine? All of those subjects had perfect authors. And I believe the same is true for most novels. The trick is to find the story that you’re in a unique position to tell – the best perspective, the most compelling experience, the most resonant voice. That’s your novel.
What are you working on at the moment?
My next book is about an accidental spy. I’m very excited about it.