This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
1. Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I have two young children and I’m a stay-at home mum. My eldest is in school but my youngest is in nursery two hours a day only, so I don’t have much time to write during the day. I do most of my writing before they wake up, setting my alarm between four or five, depending on how tired I am! Also I write at the weekend, when my lovely husband looks after the children. I couldn’t do it without him.
2. When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
People I know, definitely. I’m a good listener and I tend to be very empathic, so I gather stories everywhere I turn, from friends, acquaintances and a few strangers as well!
3. What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
It must be The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy, because it’s beautifully written, with a kind eye to people’s weaknesses and mistakes. Also it shows how far we’ve come in terms of the choices women can make nowadays and the amount of freedom we have in shaping our lives the way we want, compared to our grandmothers.
4. What is your writing process? Do you plan first of dive in? How many drafts do you do?
Watch Over Me was brewed over a long period of time. A nugget of it started when my first son was born…I was so overwhelmed by the whole experience of motherhood, both the joy and the terror of it, and my love for him was so intense, that I didn’t know what to do with it. I bought a laptop and started writing, but I was teaching at the time and it took two years before I sat down to it again. Then I just dived in, and it happened. It was published nearly the way it was written, one draft only. I had it in me for so long that when it came out, it was ready.
5. What was journey to being a published author?
I genuinely never thought of the possibility of getting published until Watch Over Me was finished. I’ve always dreamt of publishing a book, but I didn’t really think I could make it. I think my father’s death had a lot to do with my sudden bust of determination: he was a man with so much talent, and still so insecure and frustrated. I inherited this chronic insecurity from him, but all of a sudden I decided I wanted things to change, I wanted to believe in myself, or at least act like I did. So I sent Watch Over Me around to a few agents and publishers; I got a few rejections, seven or eight I think, until the lovely Rachel Reid read it, and decided to give me a chance. A few months later I was shortlisted for the Kelpie’s prize from Floris Books, with my children’s book The Really Weird Removal Company (out next Autumn). With two books accepted for publication, it dawned on me that maybe, actually, I could do it…and it all started from there. I was then contracted for the Sarah Midnight trilogy. I also found a lovely agent, Lindsey Fraser at Fraser Ross, which made me so happy. It’s brilliant to feel that people believe in you.
6. What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That it’s easy to sit down and write! It’s actually very hard work, very intense and it can leave you totally drained.
7. What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Believe in yourself and be brave, the white page can be very daunting, don’t let yourself be intimidated! Stick with it, be determined to steal time, be willing to lose sleep and keep going. Write for yourself, not for any market or trend or publisher, be truthful and honest and the readers will genuinely relate to you. Don’t spare yourself and don’t hold back, open up your soul – and it’s not as easy as it sounds, it can be a painful journey, but so, so rewarding.
8. What are you working on at the moment?
Another women’s fiction book called Silence, the story of a woman who stops talking after a bereavement. It sounds sad, but it’s actually an uplifting story about truly being yourself. I’m writing it very slowly as it’s a really emotional process for me, to go into the mind of someone who decides to stop speaking because nobody is listening, so it won’t be ready for a long while. Also I’m writing a paranormal thriller for Young Adults, called Faith. And of course, I keep working on my Young Adult trilogy, Sarah Midnight, with the second volume: Tide.
Thank you, Daniela.
Watch Over me is published this week and you can find out more about it here