This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Kay struggled to put The Curvy Girls Club down when she reviewed it last month, and commended it for its many laughs and characters you really grow to care about. Today, we’re joined by the book’s author, Michele Gorman, who chats about her ideal working day (vs her real working day), and how she came to be a full-time author.
Everywhere! For example, the idea for The Curvy Girls Club came from a conversation I had with my Mum, which challenged the idea of what’s “normal”. If more than half the population is overweight, why is being slim called normal when it’s not the norm?
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Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
Here’s what I aim to do: get up early, have coffee and breakfast, go for a jog or walk in the park, and start writing by 10am. Work ‘till lunchtime, eat a nice healthy meal, and have an afternoon nap.
Here’s what usually happens: get up early, have coffee, get sucked into Twitter and Facebook, panic that it’s late, forgo jog or walk in the park, start writing while still in my pyjamas with a bowl of cereal balanced on my knee, scavenge in the fridge for lunch, write some more, have a nap.
When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know as inspiration?
Sometimes a character will remind me of someone famous, and when that happens, I’ll usually refer to that person when describing him or her. In fact I like to indulge myself and cast my characters for a screenplay of the book (wishful thinking!) I’ve done this on Pinterest for a few of my books.
But I never put people I know in my books (despite my Mum thinking every mum in every book is her)!
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
Oh that’s a tough one because there are a few that stand out so strongly. I think I’d have to award a tie to Rowan Coleman’s The Memory Book and Lisa Jewell’s The House We Grew Up In.
What female writer has inspired you?
Maya Angelou. I first read her when I was a teen, and devoured I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. Maybe because she was a poet, she had such a beautiful way of crafting her writing. I also love Isabel Allende’s early books, especially The House of the Spirits. Her writing, translated from Spanish into English, is also very poetic.
Can you give us three book recommendations?
Here are three I’ve really enjoyed in the past year: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler and Dear Thing by Julie Cohen.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I’m a planner! I first come up with the one line ‘elevator pitch’ (“It’s a book about…”), then a one paragraph blurb, and, after talking through that with my fantastic agent, Caroline Hardman, I outline each chapter… in excel! Yes, I’m a geek.I generally write the first draft and, time permitting, put it away for six to eight weeks. Then I rewrite and send to my agent, who gives me the first round of edit notes. Once we’re happy with the manuscript, it goes off to the publisher.
What was your journey to being a published author?
To quote the Beatles, it was long and winding! I found an agent in New York with my second novel, but the US publishers thought it was “too quiet” for the market (this wasn’t long after the World Trade Centre bombings in 2001), so I shelved it and wrote another book. The agent didn’t like that one so I switched genres to women’s fiction and that’s when I found a comfortable writing voice, with Single in the City. I parted ways with my New York agent and was prepared to self-publish Single in the City, but at the last minute I thought I’d try finding the perfect agent in London. As soon as I met Caroline Hardman, I knew she was The One . She showed Single in the City to several UK publishers and Penguin bought the rights, so 10 years after I started writing, Single in the City was published in 2010. I published the next four books on my own and then last year I signed a two-book deal with Avon. The Curvy Girls Club came out in January and the next book is due out in January 2016.
It may be that we write when gripped by our muse, when actually in some ways it’s a job like any other (though it is nice to be able to do it in pyjamas!). Regardless of whether I feel like writing, I make myself put words on the page. They may be terrible words that I’ll only delete the next day, but it’s important to hit that word count every day.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
I’d say that to be a good writer you need to be a good reader, so read a lot. And then write a lot, whether you feel like it or not. Writing takes practice, so the more you do it, the better you’ll become. And find your natural writing voice. It’s tempting to emulate a writer you admire (we’ve all done it), but when you find your natural voice, you’ll hit your writing stride.
What are you working on at the moment?
The next manuscript is due to Avon on May 1 (yikes!) and it’s called Boyfriends Recycled, about three friends who upcycle their exes through their local Boyfriend Recycling Centre, but haven’t bargained on the consequences of the exchanges they make. This is a really fun book to write, and challenging, so I’m excited to see how it turns out.