Evonne Wareham's debut novel, Never Coming Home – here's our review - won the 2012 Joan Hessayon New Writers Award. Her second novel, Out of Sight Out of Mind, is published this month by Choc Lit. Evonne recently answered a few questions for our Novelicious readers.
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
The shape of the day depends on where I am in the trajectory of the book – I do a lot of planning in my head, and research, before I start to write. If I'm actually writing, then my ideal is to be able to spend the whole day on it. When I was working full time in London I completed a book by writing for the whole day, every Sunday. It took a year 🙂 In the real world, I write when I can – I get a lot done on trains.
When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
No – I don't base my characters on real people, whether I know them or not. They are strictly out of my imagination. I find they build up slowly, during the planning stage. It's fun finding out about them, discovering how they react to different situations. There is nothing to beat putting a character into a scenario and knowing exactly how he or she will behave. That is the point at which they become real. Unfortunately after that they are sometimes too real, and want to go off and do all sorts of stuff you never planned.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
I'm cheating and choosing the work of the American romantic suspense writer Karen Rose. I think her books are so clever and well crafted (not to mention the hot heroes).
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
A lot of planning first. Theoretically there is only one draft – but by the time it is finished … Well, a mess does not describe it. I write long hand so there is stuff on the back, and round the margins, and on inserted bits of paper, and if desperate, the back of bus tickets. Then comes the bit when I type it up, and can't read my writing …
What was your journey to being a published author?
A very long one. I've been writing all my life but took me a while to discover my voice and decide what it was that I wanted to write. I think the years of experimenting were useful. It was a long learning curve.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That writing a book and getting it published is a way to make a lot of money, very fast. It is for some people, but I think reports of huge success and six figure advances give the general public the impression that it is like that for everyone. Most writers don't make vast amounts of money from it. You have to like what you are doing and get satisfaction from writing the best book you can, and then holding the finished article in your hand, as well as from any financial rewards. There is nothing quite like the feeling when you first get to hold a copy of a book that has your name on the cover.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Persist, and enjoy it. It may take a long time so you need to have fun along the way.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm at the planning stage of a book that involves a robbery. This is giving me an excuse to research priceless paintings and how to steal them.