This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
INTERVIEW BY CESCA MARTIN
Could you briefly tell us about your book 'It Started with a Kiss'?
It Started With a Kiss is all about following your heart. It’s the story of Romily Parker, a jingle writer for a local radio station, who sings with her friends in a wedding band at weekends. On the last Saturday before Christmas, she has a brief encounter with a handsome stranger (shortly after disastrously declaring her love to her best friend Charlie). He kisses her and then disappears – so Romily pledges to spend the next twelve months searching for him…
Where did the inspiration for 'It Started with a Kiss' come from?
I wanted to write about ‘what-if’ moments and see what could happen if someone decided to pursue them rather than letting them pass. My favourite quote is from Emily Dickinson (no relation!): ‘I dwell in possibility’ – which I’ve actually included at the start of the novel – and I wanted to write about chasing possibilities in life. Romily is a sane individual, but the magical encounter with the handsome stranger at a time when she least expected it is enough to make her embark on a crazy quest to try to find him again. At the same time, Charlie, the guy she has been secretly in love with for three years, then begins to see her in a different light because she’s looking in a different direction (typical men!).
You have been vlogging your journey to publication, what has been the best moment so far?
There have been so many! What I’ve loved about vlogging this year is how involved everyone has been with it – asking brilliant questions and really deciding where I go and what I talk about for each episode. I think the big highlight for me was when I was asked to give an author talk at Kingswinford Library. If you know my books, you’ll know that my writing dream began at the age of five to write a story that would be good enough to grace my small local library’s shelves. It was probably my most emotional vlog – not least because the last thing they asked me to do that night was sign the library’s copies of Fairytale of New York and Welcome to My World. It was amazing to finally fulfill a lifelong ambition!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Just write. Don’t worry about whether you’re allowed to, or whether anybody will want to read it, or sabotage your efforts with self-doubt. Write because you love it and write stories that entertain you. I wrote Fairytale of New York completely for me and never thought anyone else would ever read it – but when I uploaded the manuscript to Authonomy.com it was noticed by my publisher and now it’s my career. I honestly believe that if I’d tried to write to a formula, or write what I thought a publisher wanted to read, my book wouldn’t have been picked up. Listen to advice from other writers about how they do it, then find your own way that works for you. And whenever those pesky doubts creep in (which they will), repeat this mantra: I am good enough, I can write and my stories are worth reading!
What is your typical writing day?
I don’t have one! I would love to be the kind of writer who gets up early, works a nine-to-five writing day and then reclines with a glass of wine. But my brain doesn’t work like that, unfortunately! I work three days a week for a food research company, so for two days a week, plus evenings and weekends, I write. Frustratingly, I always seem to hit my stride after 9pm, so even on my two writing days I’ll invariably not be productive until then and end up writing late at night (or sometimes right through, if there’s a deadline looming). But then some of the scenes I’m most proud of (like Harri’s Kefalonia scenes with Blanche and the big final scene in Welcome to My World) have been written at some ungodly hour in the morning, so it obviously works for me!
Do you read when you write and, if so, who?
It’s always a tricky one about whether to read when I’m writing. I’m always scared that, (a) the great idea I have for my book has already been written by someone else; or, (b) I’ll unwittingly end up assimilating someone else’s great ideas into my novel because I’ve just read them! For that reason I never read chick-lit or romantic comedies when I’m writing, but I might read something by Jasper Fforde (whose wonderful, artfully constructed books I’m completely in love with) or Sir Terry Pratchett (who is the master of comedic timing, so great inspiration). I’ve also just discovered Ben Aaronovitch, who is fast becoming a favourite author. And I watch Gilmore Girls – a lot – because the pace of its script is brilliant and great inspiration for when I’m writing dialogue (that’s my excuse, anyway!)
What are you expecting later at your launch party?
You know, I have no idea! I’ve only ever had one launch party before, which I organised myself for Welcome to My World’s launch last year. It was brilliant but a lot of hard work because I was signing books, checking that all the guests were having a good time and keeping an eye on the catering all at once! The best thing about the launch party this year is that I’ve been able to invite thirty people who watch my vlogs, follow me on twitter and facebook and receive my newsletter, so it will be a fantastic way for me to thank them in person for all their support which means so much to me through the year.
What can you tell us about your next novel?
My fourth novel will be called When I Fall in Love and features a motley crew of characters in a choir, rivalry, romance and the last item on a very important list. There may also be the odd jazz hand thrown in for good measure, too… I’m going to be vlogging about it (after my vlog viewers demanded I continue next year), so I’ll be sharing exclusive excerpts along the way.
Thanks for speaking to Novelicious Miranda!
My pleasure, thank you so much for having me! x
To celebrate the publication of this fabulous novel, we have not one, but two giveaways! To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of It Started With A Kiss & a signed copy of Miranda's album, please leave a comment telling us about your most memorable kiss.
If that wasn't enough, we're giving you a second chance to win a signed copy of both Miranda's book and album and all you have to do for this is re-tweet this interview. (Winners to both will be announced next Thursday).