This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Helen Warner has been the mastermind behind TV programmes such as Loose Women, Come Dine With Me and The Paul O’Grady show and is now director of Daytime for ITV. Here, Helen explains how, despite loving her job, she adores disappearing into her own make believe world of books on her two-hour commute to and from work. Helen’s latest novel, With or Without You, is out now.
I find inspiration everywhere, but probably my biggest inspiration comes from obsessively reading problem pages.
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Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I have a two-hour commute to my day job at ITV, so I write my books on the train to and from work. I find it makes the journey fly by and I so enjoy disappearing into my own little make believe world for an hour or two.
When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know as inspiration?
I always use people I know, although they may not know I use them!
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood. It is the most insightful evocation of bullying among young girls I have ever read.What female writer has inspired you?
See above! But also Marian Keyes, who I consider to be one of the greatest writers of my generation.
Can you give us three book recommendations?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
The Corrections by Jonathan Frantzen
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I never plan – I always dive in! I usually do three drafts. I write on the train to my day job as a director of Daytime for ITV. It helps pass the time!
What was your journey to being a published author?
I wrote my first book, RSVP, never expecting it to be published. But I got an agent (the fabulous Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown) and from there, she got me a two book deal with Simon & Schuster.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That we’re all rich!
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Start. And once you’ve started, keep going.
What are you working on at the moment?
My fourth novel, which is about a group of university friends who go away for the weekend once a year. We only ever catch up with them at the weekend away.