Kim Izzo is the author of The Jane Austen Marriage Manual. Her
first novel, My Life in Black and
White, is available now.
I have a full-time job as a
magazine editor so my average writing day for my novels is approximately one
hour to 90-minutes before work. I’m too exhausted by the time evening rolls
around to write, plus I can’t stand looking at a computer by then. Sunday is my
all-day writing day. If I could write full-time, or what I’ve done when I’ve
taken a short leave of absence, is start writing around 7:30am or and finish
When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know
I often think of my books like a
film so I will sometimes envision a specific actor in the role so I can “hear”
my characters speak.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
Pride & Prejudice. Need I say more? But you probably want me to
so here goes: Austen’s prose is simple and beautiful and her characters are
infinitely relatable no matter where you’re from and the story is romantic and
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many
drafts do you do?
I’m big on outlines, probably a
habit instilled in me during my film school screenwriting classes. These
outlines are all handwritten in Moleskin notebooks and are updated as the plot
develops, even during the middle of writing the book. Number of drafts depends,
but from the first “vomit” draft where I just get it all down to publication,
maybe 5 or 6.
What was your journey to being a published author?
A long and difficult one paved
with heartbreak. Just kidding. I was an unemployed screenwriter and fell into
journalism – it was refreshing to see an idea sold, written and published in
the blink of an eye compared to the lengthy process of film. Then after a
decade of that I went back to writing fiction and got lucky and my book sold.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That we’re all raging alcoholic
loners. As I write this I’m sitting alone and broody with a half-finished
bottle of bourbon at my desk and it’s 10am on a Sunday. Seriously, most people
I meet are intrigued with the process and want to know how it’s done and if I
suffer from writer’s block.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of
I have my own three-step program:
1) finish the book, don’t agonize over every word or sentence at this stage
just get to the end. 2) have readers who aren’t your mother read the
manuscript. We all have at least one book worm pal who can give constructive
feedback and 3) hire an editor. Many publishers are short-staffed and don’t
have the time to lovingly massage a rough draft into shape like they once did. But
there are loads of talented freelance editors who can whip it into shape so
that you have the best possible chance of selling it.
What are you working on at the moment?
My first historical novel. I’m in
the middle of the research stage and outlining my characters. It’s a far more
daunting task than I realized.