This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Sinead's latest book is Me And My Sisters and it's out now.
1. Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
With three small children I try to write when they are in school. So from Monday to Thursday I write from 9 until 3. I use my time as wisely as I can.
I really have to make it work for me. I try to write a book a year, so I switch my phone off, avoid Google, ignore the doorbell and write!
2. When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
The beauty of writing is that you lose yourself in your work. It’s such a luxury as a mother to disappear into my creative world for hours every day.
I feel very lucky to do a job that I really love. When I’m writing I switch off from the world around me…which is very nice! So, I don’t really think about anyone except my characters.
3. What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
I think it would have to be Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The character of Jo March made me want to be a writer. I love that book, it never fails to make me cry or to inspire me.
4. What is your writing process? Do you plan first of dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I’m a big plotter and planner. It stops me going off on tangents and writing thousands of words I can’t use. So I plot my books out carefully before I begin. But, interestingly, when I start writing I find that the book and the characters will take on a life of their own and do things that I had not anticipated. Sometimes they do things I am so surprised at. I love when that happens because you know that you are truly immersed in the writing process.
5. What was your journey to being a published author?
I wrote two novels that were turned down all over the world. I had so many letters of rejection that I could honestly have wallpapered my whole apartment with them. So I decided to join a creative writing group. I signed up for a beginners class in Maida Vale college and began my third novel.
With the guidance and help of the tutor, I wrote The Baby Trail which was published a year later and translated into 25 languages.
6. What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That it’s easy. Writing a novel is like running a marathon, over and over again.
7. What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
The most important thing is to try. Just sit down and do it. Stop thinking about it, stop talking about, just do it. And don’t be afraid to fail. The two novels that I wrote that were rejected, were a great learning experience for me. They made me a better writer. And I also think joining a creative writing group is very useful. It really helped me hugely.
8. What are you working on at the moment?
I’m putting the finishing touches on my new novel which is about a girl who wakes up one day and realises that her mother – the only mother she has ever known, the mother she adores – is in fact a stranger who abducted her 17 years ago. We then go back in time to find out why, where, who and what….