This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Jean G Goodhind is the author of Killing Jane Austen, the fourth in the series of the Honey Driver Murder Mysteries published by Accent Press. Today she has popped by to tell us a little bit about her writing and how her haunted Georgian manor house helped inspire her writing.
Nutty happenings in the Bath guest house I once owned. Nutty guests, who pointed out that the house was haunted. Of course it was! Did they think I didn’t know that? Even before we moved in, I had a feeling about it. The house dated from 1740, the electricity was ancient, the gas lights quite beautiful and very 1890s. In 1984, my husband and I bought an eight-bedroomed Georgian manor house and four-roomed coach house on the outskirts of Bath to convert into a guest house. My theory is that when we started renovating the old place, it didn’t initially go down well with the spirits.
The footsteps along the landing came as a complete surprise to my husband – a total sceptic back then – though not now! We also heard children laughing in one of the rooms. When we tore off the old panelling in that room revealed walls covered in early Victorian wallpaper. And things went missing; the items finally found where you KNEW you hadn’t left them. Once I had two French girls staying; I had moved them from a small room with a double bed into a bigger one with two singles. The next morning they requested to move back to their original room because they did not like the ‘gentleman who came out of the wardrobe’.The room, a Victorian addition, was the one I had always suspected of being the font of everything paranormal as was the room beneath it; sometimes we dozed there in the afternoon – and all awoke relating similar dreams and feeling just as tired as when we’d dropped off to sleep. My dream was that there was a secret door in that room leading into a department store where I could buy anything without having to pay a penny – a girl’s idea of heaven?
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I write whenever I’m moved to do so, sometimes in the morning and sometimes towards evening. It’s surprising what a spurt you can get when there’s a glass of wine awaiting at the end of a thousand or so words!
When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know as inspiration?
Only when they’re overly pompous and I feel they need characterising. I can’t help it.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
I couldn’t possibly comment. There are a number of books I’ve enjoyed and have read over and over again. A Woman of Substance, A Christmas Carol, anything Dickensian in fact with the exception of Great Expectations. The latter was drummed into me when studying for GCEs and I’ve hated it ever since. The flavour of the month (or of the years) usually depends on what mood I’m in.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
Diving in suits me. Just like Honey Driver, I’m a little haphazard and fly by the seat of my pants. As for drafts, I do as many as it takes.
What was your journey to being a published author?
Long and arduous. Being broke, breaking into print within fourteen months and getting to be an overnight success (well almost) after twenty years and about forty books.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That we all earn the same as J. K. Rowling. Basically we mostly earn about the same as her nanny or chauffeur – well almost.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Do what you want to do, but don’t expect to become a millionaire. If you want to become a millionaire try dabbling in the stock exchange – or the lottery.
What are you working on at the moment?
Book number eleven in the Honey Driver series, Marriage is Murder.