Thursday, June 23, 2011
Writer Spotlight: Mandy Baggot
On Coffee and Roses I like to bring you news of exciting authors who are either waiting to be published or published and worth checking out.
This week, I'm delighted to welcome the very lovely MANDY BAGGOT into the Coffee and Roses Writer Spotlight...
When did you first decide that you wanted to write?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write! I always had my shoulders hunched over a pad of A4 as early as my school days. By my late teens I was taking A4 pads and pens everywhere, even on nights out! There I was in the corner of the working men’s club with a half of soda water (the cheapest drink at 10p), a bag of pork scratchings and a lined pad of WH Smith’s finest. I sound like a right Billy No Mates now don’t I?!
Writing took a back seat in my twenties until I had my first daughter and then I needed something to help me step away from being just Mummy.
What interests you as a writer?
People! I absolutely love people watching and I do it all the time, wherever I am and whoever I’m with, which can get a bit annoying (so I’m told!). I find people fascinating, no two are the same, all have their own agendas and different ways they react to things. You wouldn’t believe the amount of inspiration you can get from just listening to other people – usually those who don’t know you’re listening to them. Now I sound like a right eavesdropper!
Do you have a typical writing day? If not, when is the best time to write for you?
At the moment I am limited to three days a week, when my youngest daughter is at preschool. Typically I start about 9.30am by checking the latest goings on on Twitter, then I do a Zumba DVD, hang some washing out, email, blog and finally, usually about 11.00am I might get to start actually creating something on a page! If I’m really honest I probably only manage about 2 hours of ‘hardcore’ writing a day because when you’re having to do your own promoting and advertising its really hard work! That’s why I am looking for an agent and a ‘traditional’ publisher. I have the passion and the perseverance and shed loads of determination but I’m a writer at heart and need someone to take over the admin bit. Pretty please!!
Which authors inspire you and why?
I’m always amazed by how many fantastic authors there are out there! And what a lovely bunch of people they are too. I’ve met so many writer friends on Twitter and all of them have been brilliantly supportive to me and I hope I provide them with some laughs if not any pearls of wisdom!
No one author stands out as having inspired me, I like and admire lots of authors. I suppose I was inspired to write my first novel, Excess All Areas, because I felt slightly dissatisfied with some of the books I’d read. It wasn’t that they were terrible and I thought I could do better, it was just the story never seemed to go down the path I wanted it to and I thought I could write something different. My books are all about the dialogue, the banter between the leading characters - I don’t describe hues of anything, ever!
What are the best things about being a writer?
The best thing is waking up in the morning and knowing you’re doing your absolute dream job. Yes, it could be more perfect, I could have snagged that book deal from a mainstream publisher, but at the end of the day I really believe that will come my way some day – soon hopefully! When I was working as a Probate paralegal I used to meet so many people who lived and breathed their job and loved it and I thought how must that feel to have a job you love so much? Now I totally get that feeling!
The other thing I love is meeting my readers. There’s nothing better than someone coming up to you and telling you how much they enjoyed your book and asking when the next one’s coming out! I really appreciate everyone who takes a chance on an unknown name in fiction because I know how easy it is to just slip a Miranda Dickinson novel into your Sainsbury shopping basket – which you definitely should do as well because she’s a great writer!!
And the worst?
The agent rejections – without a doubt! I said on Twitter once that I’d developed a hide as thick as a Courts leather sofa and that’s what you have to have in this profession. It’s business, not personal - yes they’re rejecting the words I’ve slogged long and hard over but at the end of the day if my words don’t gel with them the chances are they’re not going to gel with me and you need to gel with an agent. They need to feel as passionate about your manuscript as you do and if they’re not feeling the passion the submission is dead in the water. But it works both ways, I mean I absolutely could not accept an agent if he/she didn’t appreciate my admiration of David Hasselhoff for example.
Tell me about your latest book.
Knowing Me Knowing You was published in February and it’s a romantic comedy. Solicitor Kate has been set up by her boss, The Lady Dragon Miranda, to take part in a relationship contest a bit like a cross between ‘Mr & Mrs’ and ‘The Generation Game’ but Kate’s date is a gorgeous male escort called Joel who she knows nothing about. Throw in a Love Dove, Kate’s 2 year old daughter, a tarot card reader called Hermione and a sod of an ex-husband and you have all the ingredients for a farcical romp.
Do you have a dream project you would love to write?
I would love one of my books to be made into a film or a TV series. I have visions of the cast of Dancing on Ice starring in an ITV mini series of my novel Breaking the Ice, which is set around an ice skating show. So, Granada Productions, if you’re listening…
I’ve just been invited to be a featured author on a fantastic new website called loveahappyending.com. This launches on 29th June 2this year and is a chance for new and/or unpublished authors to get their work out there. The site is aiming to celebrate books which leave people with that ‘feel good’ factor, so it isn’t just about romance. There is something for everyone from poetry to passion. There are lots of exciting opportunities for readers to interact with authors and get lovely freebies on launch day and beyond! Come and visit us there!
Thanks, Mandy, for braving the Writer Spotlight! You can find all of Mandy's books at Amazon and her blog here.
If you are a writer - published, self-published, or waiting-to-be-published - and you would like to be considered for a future Writer Spotlight, drop me a line at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading!