This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Today we're joined by Sinead Moriarty, who chats about corresponding with Maeve Binchy, an inspiring literary character and overcoming manuscript rejections. Sinead's latest novel, Me and My Sisters, is out now.
I write at home in a small office when the children are at school and during any other hours that I can carve out at night (if I’m not falling asleep that is!). I try to write 2,000 words a day and always feel disappointed with myself when I don’t achieve that. I think you have to be disciplined when you work for yourself. But obviously there are days when I spend most of my time staring at the wall or surfing the Internet.
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When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know as inspiration?
No specifically, but I do have a letter that Maeve Binchy wrote to me after I mentioned that I admired her in an interview. It’s a beautiful letter full of encouragement. She was such a classy, talented and warm person. I have that letter pinned above my desk and look at it often.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
I think I’d have to say Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Jo March is my favourite literary heroine. I wanted to be her. I yearned to have an attic I could write in. I often thought of her when I sent out my first attempts at a novel and got rejected!
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?When I lived in London, I joined a creative writing group in Maida Vale and it was instrumental in helping me get published. The course made me focus and get serious about my writing. I also learned how to do a chapter breakdown before starting a book, which avoids a lot of pitfalls. I still use this tool, ten books later. I plot my books out carefully before I begin, but they still take on a life of their own once I start writing. The amount of drafts I do varies from book to book.
What was your journey to being a published author?
Long and winding! My first two novels were turned down by everyone. I sent them to agents and editors all over the world – the UK, Australia, South Africa the US … I spent more money on stamps than food! Finally, I joined a creative writing group and got serious and it was my third novel, The Baby Trail, that finally got published.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That it’s easy! It’s hard work and requires a lot of discipline, but it is the best job in the world.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Don’t let the knock backs stop you. I could literally have wallpapered my apartment with rejection letters, but I stuck with it because I love writing. Write what you love to read. Trust your own unique voice. Don’t try to imitate anyone else. Keep at it and believe in yourself.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a sequel to Me and My Sisters, which I had a huge reaction to. I hope the sequel will live up to the first book!