This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
After spending some time flapping in an ever decreasing circle around Facebook, Twitter and email I settle down to skim through yesterday’s words and pick up where I left off. Often I make a cup of tea or small snack at this point and then repeat endlessly until I panic. I work in the attic where there is an office with a lovely desk and a comfy chair but I drift to the bed in the room next to it with the laptop on my knees.
2. When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
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Only the male characters in my books are ever based on celebrities or men that I know. In Summer of Secrets there are at least two I can think of, characters who first flashed into my imagination as ‘Mexican Pete Doherty’ and ‘1970’s edition Clint Eastwood’. The female characters are all me, me, me. I think you have to put yourself in the character’s shoes for so long that they will only feel real if you own up to all your flaws and fears and use them.
3. What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
In Chick Lit, Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding. In romance, I fell madly in love with The Bridges of Madison County. But my favourite book written by a woman for a female readership is Lucky by Jackie Collins. It is the second of her books about the Santangelo family. I would love to know if Jackie always intended Lucky Santangelo to be the star of the saga or if she leapt out of the first book, Chances, and demanded a book of her own.
4. What is your writing process? Do you plan first of dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I plan a fair amount before I start, I always know the opening, the big turning points and reveals, and how I think it is going to end. Some dialogue, the best put-downs and banter might be written down somewhere. I always try and think three chapters ahead, which stops my story (I hope) from meandering too much and keeps things moving forward. If things change and I don’t know exactly what the next three chapters are any more I stop and work it out.
5. What was your journey to being a published author?
Recently somebody asked me what I did at university. When I told her that I had studied writing she was intrigued to know how it felt to know your goals from a very young age. Looking back there seems to be a neat trajectory from loving creative writing at school, studying for a degree in scriptwriting, getting a job at a writer’s agency and then eventually writing a novel of my own. I do not feel anywhere near that organised in reality and I often forget that I didn’t stumble sideways into this. Writing has always been a part of my life and the only thing I ever wanted to do. The Summer of Secrets was mostly lost of fun to write.
6. What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That the book world is a closed world, that if you don’t know somebody you can’t get anywhere, that you can’t get an agent without a deal, that you can’t get a deal without an agent, that great undiscovered books are frequently rejected by spiteful editors. Great books get published, brilliant books get read, and the best ones are bestsellers. Agents and editors are more accessible than ever and they are out there searching for you, you just have to write a great book first.
7. What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Your chances of writing a book increase massively if you start and then keep going until you reach the end. The Summer of Secrets had enough to keep me entertained.
8. What are you working on at the moment?
My next novel, a road trip about a mismatched couple, the best onion rings in America and an anxious bride about to marry a sailor in the United States navy. And a press release for the Ratley Village Fete on Saturday 23rd June. Come along, there will be Pimms and cake. (Sounds GREAT!)
Alison Lucy is the author of THE SUMMER OF SECRETS, which is out now.
You can visit Alison’s website here