This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Cynthia Rogerson lives in the Scottish Highlands and her latest book is If I Touched the Earth. She kindly answered a few questions for our Novelicious readers.
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
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My writing day occurs very rarely, sadly – but when I do get some proper time to write, I tend to work best in the morning, in my robe, drinking coffee, listening to music that has no lyrics, like classical. Usually a first draft involves taking a few months off work and spending some of that time away from my own home. After that, I spend months re-writing and re-writing, till hardly any of the original words remain. I have to write my way into the characters and plot.
When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
No. Aside from reading Anne Tyler and Carson MacCullers, to remind me how I want to sound.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
That changes all the time, but my current favourite is 'The Amateur marriage' by Anne Tyler.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I make some notes, usually emotive snippets of thought or conversation, and after a while I let one of these be the first line of the novel. I have a rough plan, so I am aiming somewhere, but the ending is rarely the originally planned ending. I over-write initially, then pull out about a third, then re-write again.
What was your journey to being a published author?
Luck and ambition. I began as a mother of young children, who read all the time to alleviate boredom. I joined a writers' group, won a few competitions, and received thousands of rejections. I just kept writing. My lucky break was meeting a published author who introduced me to his agent. Also, winning the V.S. Pritchett Prize.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That only some people can write.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Begin it. There is no magic shortcut. You learn by doing.
What’s are you working on at the moment?
A novel about the post-war generation. Couples who married in the fifties.