Author Rebecca Farnworth preiously worked as a celebrity ghostwriter. Her latest novel, Swimming Pool Summer, has just been released.
I would love to
be one of those writers who can swan off to a café with my laptop, and write
away, blocking out the sound of other people typing, the background music, the
whoosh of the coffee machines…but alas no. I’m too easily distracted and have
to write in a room on my own.
My day follows
the school day as I have three children, so after the mad rush of making
breakfast, packed lunches, and tidying up(ish), I make myself the first of about
ten mugs of tea (Lady Grey) and switch on my Mac Book. Sometimes I can’t wait
to get started, other times I will do anything I can to avoid it – going on Facebook,
emailing friends, planning my next trip to the cinema….But I always write
something, even if I know I’m forcing myself and that the following day I’ll
delete it all.
I try and break
up my writing by doing something else, for instance going the gym or meeting a
friend for coffee as I find it too intense to write all day and not that
productive. I always regret the days when I stay glued to my desk because of
deadlines, as by the evening I feel completely mad!
When you are writing do you use any
famous people or people you know as inspiration?
writing I have certainly have used famous people for inspiration. One of my
heroes was blonde with stunning blue eyes and the Hollywood actor Paul Walker (Too
Fast Too Furious, Into The Blue) was my model. He was even my screen saver for
a while, much to my son’s disgust. He
was utterly unconvinced when I told him it was for research…
I would never
use people I know, that would be a very effective way of alienating friends!
Though I might be inspired by a personality trait or a particular situation, so
long as it wasn’t too close to home…
What is your favourite Women’s
Fiction book of all time and why?
I love Jane
Austen’s Persuasion, but the novel
that probably influenced me most as a writer is Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes. It’s the story of Rachel Walsh
who has ended up in rehab. Like all Keyes’ novels, it’s incredibly funny,
poignant, and heart wrenching. It’s also brilliantly written, mixing Rachel’s
present with a series of flashbacks to her life in New York and the
relationship that her drug taking has destroyed. The first person narrative
sucks you in and it only gradually dawns on you that Rachel is an unreliable
narrator, who is in complete denial about the addiction that has very nearly
claimed her life. Genius.
What is your writing process? Do you
plan it first or dive in? How many drafts?
I do plan out
my plots, but very loosely. There are always surprises when I’m in the middle
of writing. It sounds a bit airy fairy but characters really do take on a life
of their own. The novel comes together in my head as a series of scenes, much
like a film and I go over and over them before I go to sleep, or when I get
woken up by the sea gulls at four am (again).
I would say two
drafts, but some chapters might get worked on a lot more.
What was your journey to being a
I didn't seriously
get into writing until I was in my thirties, despite always wanting to be a
writer. Before that I was an English teacher, then worked at the BBC as a radio
producer. I loved working at the BBC. But I wanted to write and there never seemed
to be enough time. So I took a leap of faith and decided to go freelance so I could
continue to work in radio and finally write – this was before children and a
mortgage! I wrote light-hearted features for magazines, and I started writing
my first novel, a contemporary romantic comedy. The turning point in my career
as a writer came when I was interviewed by a literary agent, who was looking
for a ghostwriter for a celebrity autobiography. I got the job and ghost wrote
what was to be the first of four best selling autobiographies and then ghost
wrote three novels. It was my particularly supportive editor, who when we were
going through the edits on one of the ghost novels, suggested that I really
should write my own novels. That inspired me to finish my first novel, Valentine and my editor and my agent
managed to get me a two-book deal. I’ve continued to ghost write and write
under my own name.
What do you think is the biggest
myth about being a novelist?
for a living is the best job ever. There are times when it is, but there are
also times it can be lonely and frustrating. I really miss the brilliant
camaraderie I had with my colleagues when I worked at the BBC.
What advice can you give to our
readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Just do it! You
will regret it if you always say you want to write a novel, but never get round
to. You can always make time – step away from that Box Set! I wrote down
something the novelist Ann Enright said in an interview and always have it in
the front of any notebook I am using, “The only way to write a book is to write
a book. That is the tao of writing.”
What are you working on at the
novel, title tbc. It’s about two very different sisters.