This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Over the last few months, we've been going behind the scenes at a publishing house with debut author Sophia Tobin and Simon & Schuster commissioning editor Clare Hey, as they prepared The Silversmith's Wife for publication. With the book finally on the shelves, Sophia stopped by for a chat.
Everywhere. Sometimes it's specific – some work-related research inspired The Silversmith's Wife, for example – but just going for a walk or watching people on the daily commute can be inspiring.
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Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I have full-time day job so my writing day is short – I come in from work and sit down to write soon after. I start at about 6pm and am usually finished by 9pm, when we eat dinner. I try to think about what I'm going to write before – I might make notes in my lunch hour or think about it on the commute, so I'm prepared and can write solidly once I'm home. It doesn't always happen though!
When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know as inspiration?
I think about all the women writers of the past who not only had to battle preconceptions about whether they should write at all, but also had to write and edit everything in longhand.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
Persuasion by Jane Austen. It's such a moving love story, but so full of sadness as well. I may be wrong, but when I read it I feel as though the author is transforming the disappointments of her own life into something beautiful.What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I dive in. If I plan too much, it tends to make my writing lifeless. So I tend to write the first draft quickly – I don't read anything back until the end. Then I rewrite again and again and again – I don't even know how many drafts I do, but it's definitely in double figures for some parts of The Silversmith's Wife.
What was your journey to being a published author?
I wanted to be a writer from the time I was seven years old, but when I got to my teens it didn't seem like a career choice I could sensibly make, so I buried the idea and just wrote in my spare time. When I was thirty-two I reassessed my life, and decided I had to try and write, otherwise I'd always regret it. So I started writing The Silversmith's Wife in 2010. It was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize in 2011, and that attracted the attention of my agent, Jane Finigan at Lutyens & Rubinstein. After working on the book with Jane's input, she found me my home at Simon & Schuster with my editor, Clare Hey.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That it is a ticket to riches and fame.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
This is secondhand advice – I can't remember where I read it, but it stuck with me: what a writer needs, more than anything else, is resilience – you need to take criticism and setbacks with good grace.
What are you working on at the moment?
My second book, a murder mystery and love story set in Broadstairs, Kent, in 1851.