What tips would you give to a writer who is just starting out?
Don’t talk about writing! Don’t waste your time talking out your ideas, or worrying about what people will think. Don’t write to an audience or write for a publisher. I know people who’ve wasted years that way. Just write the story that wants to be told, the story you have inside you. Trust your instincts and write what needs to be written. But don’t be one of those douchebags who’s talking about ‘the novel’ five years later when you’ve got nothing to show for it. Also, don’t expect everyone to be as interested in your work as you are. It’s your job to be interested. It’s your skill as a WRITER that will make them interested. Not talking about it.
What are some things that have surprised you as an author?
That writing isn’t really the job! I don’t think I ever thought about how active an author has to be, considering marketing, blog tours, social media, twitter, connecting with authors. I’d never really thought about what would happen when people started reviewing me, or I got sales figures back! I suppose you spend so much time focusing on the product of writing that you don’t let yourself think about what comes after.
What would you say has been your biggest challenge as an author?
My biggest issue was in writing my second book for Carina. They’d taken on my first book when I sent it in, and it was well received, but I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to do it again. I struggled with characters, panicked about what the readers would think, whether I was a one-hit-wonder and basically freaked myself out. Luckily, in the middle of struggling with this novel, my publisher asked if I’d write a Christmas novel. By the time I’d finished reading the email I had an idea, and Driving Home for Christmas is one of the favourite stories I’ve written. I knew I could do it again! So I went back to the next novel, and that’s the one that’s being released now: My So Called (Love) Life.
What genre would you like to write for that you’ve not tried yet?
The last time I tried to write literary fiction, it turned out as a sort of dark coming of age book. I have a lit fic book waiting within me, a love story a little too dark to be romance, but I’m just waiting to be ready for it. I also started writing a kids’ book a few years ago about a girl who becomes a detective in her boarding school. I also think once I get a little further away from teenagerdom, I’ll be ready to write YA. It’s a little too close to the bone right now!
Music or no music when writing?
None. I used to be able to, but it seems to have changed as I’ve gotten older! However, I can work in public places, usually the local pub and cafe!
Favorite snacks/drinks while writing?
I’m trying to be better about it! Usually fruit, greek yoghurt and honey, or protein shakes. But it’s mainly green tea, because snacks whilst writing = a sticky keyboard!
What are your thoughts on the current trend of making books into movies?
It’s every writer’s dream, isn’t it? I attended a really awesome reading and Q and A with Rainbow Rowell, who talked about the fact that Eleanor and Park was being made into a movie. She was really scared about someone taking control of her baby, fearful that someone could misrepresent characters that she knew so well. In any situation, making a movie is going to be a simplification of a novel, but it’s got to be amazing to see it happen!
About My So-Called Love Life:
Tigerlily James has been a member of the Young and Bitter Club ever since she was dumped on Valentine’s day. By her fiancé.
Surviving on a diet of cynicism and margarita-fuelled ‘Misery Dinners’ with her best friends, she’s become a romance free zone…and that’s the way she likes it. Until an invitation for The Ex’s wedding arrives. Suddenly in need of a plus one, Tig has little choice but to bin the takeaways, ditch the greying underwear collection…and start pretending to view the opposite sex as something other than target practise.
Then, she meets Ollie – ie. the perfect solution. No sex. No strings. Fake boyfriend. The only catch is that she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for three whole months.
Dating without the heartbreak: the best idea Tig’s ever had, right? Wrong!
About the Author:
When she's not writing or talking about writing, she bakes, runs, plays with her puppy, and gets continually distracted by shiny things on etsy.