This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I recently reviewed ‘Thanks For Nothing, Nick Maxwell’ by Debbie Carbin, a fab book, and received her newest novel ‘Three Men and a Maybe’ yesterday, which I am totally excited to read. Debbie has kindly agreed to chat to Novelicious about her writing life…enjoy!
1. Can you describe your average writing day?
My average writing day consists of five solid hours in front of my laptop in a state of zen-like concentration, conjuring up three thousand words of such brilliance, perfection and clarity that I take my own breath away. Except sometimes it’s a bit less than five hours. And it’s quite often interrupted by trips to the fridge, cups of tea, phone calls, emails, shopping trips, lunch out, cooking, cleaning, ironing, helping with homework, buying stuff online and toilet breaks. And sometimes I do take my own breath away, but quite often because what I’ve written is so appalling that I have to hold my breath while I delete it all. When it’s going well, I can go on and on for hours without stopping, and have been known to get three thousand words down in a day. But when it’s not going so well, I am VERY easily distracted. In fact I’ll find anything to do rather than face up to what I need to write next, which is ridiculous really because I love writing more than almost everything else.
2. Where did you find inspiration for the character of Rachel Covington? She’s a right one!
I don’t know really. She certainly isn’t based on anyone I know. But I do have quite strong opinions about what being good-looking can often do to a person’s character. It doesn’t always happen, of course, but I have seen it a lot – people who think they can get away with anything because they look so good. And the sad part is, they usually can! What I really wanted to write about was the most unlikely candidate for pregnancy that you could imagine, becoming pregnant, and what that did to her in the end.
Continue reading Novelicious Chats to… Debbie Carbin!
3. What was your journey to getting published?
I was very lucky really. I wrote the first draft of Thanks for Nothing… in 2000, but didn’t do anything with it. Then I rewrote it in 2005 in the style it’s in now. In January 2006, my husband happened to be working alongside a published author, Greg Snow (his book, Surface Tension was published in 1991 and since then he’s been writing for television). Greg offered to have a look at some chapters of mine, loved them so passed them to his literary agent, Laura. Laura read them one Sunday and phoned me the next day, raving about it! That moment is still one of the best of my life. We did some editing together, then Laura started sending it out in July. After five rejections, we got an offer from Transworld in November 2006. An indescribable feeling.
4. When you’re writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as visual inspiration for the characters? If so, have you got any examples?
No, I don’t really. I’ve spent/wasted a lot of time imagining who would play Rachel, Hector and Nick if the book were ever made into a film – probably should have been writing. But Hector would be Matthew Macfadyen; Nick Maxwell would be someone like the man in the jeans advert years ago, when he takes them off in the launderette; and Rachel would be an unknown, I think. I haven’t ever seen anyone who looks like her!
5. What is your favourite women’s fiction book of all time and why?
I’m afraid I’m going to have to go with the obvious and say Pride and Prejudice. It’s so subtle: the humour, the character depictions, and the way they transform as they recognise their own flaws. Mr Darcy must be the most loved romantic character of all time!
6. What is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
Most people seem to think that I’m making pots of cash! My family and some of my friends don’t class writing as working, I suppose because I’m just sitting on my sofa, tapping away, and it doesn’t look too demanding. They also know that I enjoy it so much, so it can’t possibly be work! Unless you’ve done it yourself, though, I don’t think you could ever fully appreciate how draining, exhausting, difficult, depressing and shattering it can be. But huge fun.
7. What’s next for Debbie Carbin?
Well I’m still working on the rewrite of my third book, which I’m hoping to finish in the next two or three months. I had a two book contract with Transworld, so with the third one we have to go back to the beginning and try and get it accepted somewhere again. It’s a very difficult climate to be selling anything at the moment, though, so it may well prove very tricky. Fingers crossed!
8. Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you can give to readers who want to write a novel of their own?
I think the best piece of advice I could give is to stick at it. If you think what you’ve written is poor, don’t let it get you down. Keep on going, get the story down in one form or another first. Then, when you know exactly what is happening, when, and to whom, you can go back over the text and polish and improve it, without having to think about any plot development. Don’t give up!