This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Author Giselle Green has kindly answered some questions for us about being a writer. Her book, Falling For You, is available now.
I’m not a marathon stint writer. I always work best in the mornings and the earlier I can start, the better. That’s when my creative mind is at its best. When I’m working on a novel I’d aim to do maybe two to three hours writing a day but no more than that.
When you are writing do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
I never, ever use people I know! That would feel weird. I sometimes use people I’ve seen on the big screen, but it’s mainly the characters I’m after, their physical mannerisms and the way they respond to situations, so the same actor/actress playing a different part wouldn’t work. It’s the actor in a particular role that inspires me.
What is your favourite women’s fiction book of all time and why?
Ooh that’s tough! Right now I would go for The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloch. I read it when it first came out over thirty years ago and then I read it again last year and it still captivated me the same way after so many years. It’s a rare book that can do that, because our tastes – and public sensibilities – change so much. The ‘forbidden love’ story between the priest and the young girl would never now be seen in the naive and innocent way it was presented at the time. But it still works for me, which I think is a testimony to the great writing.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
Every time I write a book I approach it differently. I always get this moment of panic before starting a new book where I can’t remember how to do it and the whole task of writing another book seems huge and daunting! I don’t plan events, as such. I plot out the processes of the book. So I’ll know what motivates my characters, what they’re running from, what they’re running towards, and what they have to learn. Then I think of life situations where they can be challenged to learn what they need to, in order to overcome their fears and move on. In Falling For You, for instance, Rose needs to let go of control enough to really fall in love. Lawrence needs to allow himself to be vulnerable enough to love her back – and learns that love gives him the strength to tackle what he fears most of all – his own father.
As for drafts, I do that on a scene by scene basis. Some scenes need redrafting many times – scenes where I’ve got several people all ‘on stage’ at once are the trickiest, for sure. You’ve got to remember to keep everybody involved in the action whilst keeping all members of the ‘cast’ relevant and progressing the story onwards at all times. Some scenes remain exactly as I wrote them first time round and never get changed at all. Those are the ones written in the white-heat of the moment and they’re always a joy to write.
What was your journey to being a published writer?
A very long and determined road! I’d been writing fiction for decades when the idea to write a non-fiction book, ‘The Writer’s Guide to the Zodiac’ came into my head. I resisted for some time but the idea wouldn’t go away. Eventually I wrote it and self-published it, with the idea being that I’d put into it all the things I’d observed – in my work as an astrologer – would be useful for writers to know. The book brought me to the attention of a lady called Penny Halsall, who bought many copies to give away at her writer’s talks. When, the following year, I finished another fiction title, she asked if she might read it. She loved it, and recommended me to an editor who she knew was just setting up a new imprint for Harper Collins at the time – Avon. The editor asked to read the book and within two weeks we’d met up and she’d offered me a three book contract. It all seemed rather magical at the time, but I’ve never forgotten what I took away from that – which is how important it is to following your own inner promptings. If I hadn’t written that writer’s guide – who knows – I might still be looking to be published to this day!
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
Amongst members of the public, it’s got to be that all authors earn pots of money for doing what seems to many a very easy job 🙂
Amongst fellow writers – and I’m talking pre-published here – it’s the idea that getting published is the ‘goal’ to aim for, and once you have achieved that you are home and dry. Becoming a published author is the start of a journey, really, something you only realise that when you get there.
What advice can you give our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Do it. Don’t talk about it to anyone, just take the action and do it. I always, always say, write about what you love. Write the book you passionately want to write. Don’t study the market or write about what’s trending now – it’ll all have changed before you know it. Locate the creative vein of gold that runs through your own core and mine that; that’s all that matters.
What are you working on at the moment?
After almost a year’s break, I’m finally working on book five, which I’m really excited about. It’s a book I’d never thought to write and yet now seems to be the right time. It’s a sequel to my second book, Little Miracles. Having re-read this book I realised there was a lot of mileage in those characters, a new adventure I could still take them on … so I’m off!