This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother and The Misadventures of a Playground Mother. Her new book, Kitty's Countryside Dream, is out now!
Kitty’s Countryside Dream has been described as a soul-boosting necessity that has been sprinkled with a little bit of magic. Life has not been kind to Kitty Lewis the main character. She lost her dad when she was young and her mum recently passed away after a long illness and Kitty nursed her until the end. She is still grieving when out of the blue she unexpectedly inherits a chicken farm from a grandmother she never knew she had. It’s a new start for Kitty as she settles into country life with all its farm yard antics on offer she is determined to discover more about her mystery benefactor. When routinely sorting out the office, the diary of a young woman called Violet comes to light and poses more questions than answers. With the help of her characterful friends, Tom ‘nice on the eye’ Drew and a little detective work they try to uncover the past, but it’s a history Kitty could never prepare for. This book has humorous learning curves, romantic confusion and the highs and lows of life.
Where do you find inspiration for your books?
Kitty’s Countryside Dream would never have been written if it wasn’t for a local farmer who sold me my very first chicken over eight years ago. Since then he has taught me everything I need to know about rearing and breeding chickens. Chickens have become a way of life in our house and it was my feathered friends who provided the little spark of inspiration for this story.
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
My writing routine is very similar each day. I start the day by ambling across the fields with my best pal Woody. He is a mad cocker spaniel. Once we return home, I usually switch the kettle on, fire up the computer and then eat my body weight in Haribos while writing. On average it takes me five months to write a book and I think I gain about five pounds in weight with every book I write! From my initial idea I have a rough plan of where the storyline will take me but more often than not, I veer off in a totally different direction.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
That is a tough question! I will have to say Evil Games by Angela Marsons. I was captivated by this book and could not put it down.
What female writer has inspired you?
I think Carole Matthews is a wonderful author and she must be on about her twenty seventh book by now! Her style is unique and always has a feel good factor about it. You know when you pick up a Carole Matthews book it will always be a winner.
What books have you been recommending recently?
I have to admit crime and thriller books are not my usual genre to read, however I love all books by Angela Marsons and recommend them at every opportunity.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
Usually I drink numerous cups of tea and eat my bodyweight in sweets! I have read numerous blog posts about authors who have story boards and spend hours on mind plans, however I’ll let you into a little secret … I write whatever is whirling around in my head at the time. I know my characters inside and out and the general gist of how I want the story to progress, but then I love it when all of a sudden the story goes flying off in a totally different direction than I’d originally intended. That’s the magic of writing! I write one draft from start to finish then I ping it over to my lovely editor and then go into complete melt down while I wait to hear her thoughts!
What was your journey to being a published author?
My journey has been incredible. It is like a dream! Once hitting my mid-life crisis (but dodging the tattoo and the fast car) after wholly dedicating my life to the care of my children, they asked me what I wanted to do. “I always wanted to write a book,” I found myself answering. And so the idea was born. The book took approximately one year to write and I self-published. After a few months the response had been fantastic and the book climbed up the Amazon charts and became #1 in its categories and #11 in the Kindle Chart. One morning before the school run I checked my email and I had received a message from the literary agent Madeleine Milburn asking could she possible give me a call, the answer was yes! After signing with Madeleine we secured a three book publishing deal with Bookouture. They are such a fantastic team at Bookouture, Kim Nash is everyone’s fairy godmother who waves her magic wand and sprinkles sparkly dust everywhere. Claire Bord and Oliver Rhodes have turned my stories in to books along with my wonderful editor Lydia. I am both proud and honoured to be called a Bookouture Author.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Go for it! The dream is possible! If it happened for me it can happen for you.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on my fourth book which is due to be published in September 2016. Unfortunately at the moment the title for this one is a secret but I’m sure it won’t be long until I can reveal it to the world!