This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
There’s nothing like a Katie Fforde novel. Her latest, A Summer at Sea, offers delicious escapism aboard a little puffer boat in Scotland. Katie joins us now to talk books, inspiration and her writing process.
I find inspiration for my books almost anywhere. I have written books based on overheard scraps of conversation (Highland Fling) television programmes (Thyme Out, A Perfect Match) newspaper adverts (Stately Pursuits) – almost anything.
My average writing day starts early. I get up and go straight to my desk. I usually listen to the radio and do emails and play Spider patience for a while before I start work. It would be better if I just got stuck in!
When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know as inspiration?
I do sometimes use people I know as inspiration but I usually tell them. I used my sister and brother in law and their house hunting or A Perfect Match and for A Summer at Sea I used my old friends who run the puffer (the setting for the book.) Nick, known in the book as James, is very like he is in real life.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
I think my favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time is The Vizard Mask by Diana Norman. Sadly, Diana died and the book is out of print but it is stunning. Beautifully written, incredibly romantic and a real page turner.
Georgette Heyer inspired me before I knew I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be like her heroines and many years later, I wanted to make people turn the pages, just like she did.
Can you give us three book recommendations?
Three book recommendations: The Song Collector by Natasha Solomon.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
As for planning, I like to do a lot of thinking and some planning, but there will always be times when I just dive in. I revise a bit as I go along but eventually my editor will ask for some chapters. Obviously after she has seen it there will be more edits but I don’t like to do too many or I get fed up with it.
My journey to being a published author was straightforward but long. I tried to write for Mills and Boon for about eight years. Then the organiser of The Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme at the time (Hilary Johnson) passed me onto an agent. She gave me the confidence to write something longer and funnier and had sold it before it was finished.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
The biggest myth about being a novelist is that it will make you an overnight millionaire. It’s surprising how many people think this.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
My best advice to readers who want to write a novel of their own is to read a lot. You will gradually notice what works, what jars and what makes you think, yes! Writing courses are good because apart from anything else it will gain you writer friends who will be there for the good times and the bad. Also get onto the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme if you possibly can. It’s brilliant.