Friday, May 27, 2011
All this year, I'm keeping a video diary of everything that goes into writing my third novel, It Started With a Kiss, due to be published on 10th November. This week, it's a very special edition of my vlog, where I fulfill my childhood ambition and revisit the place where my writing dreams began - the amazing Kingswinford Library! Find out what happened when I went to speak to an audience of lovely Kingswinfordians (or Stone Yardlians if you've read Welcome to My World!)
When I was about five years old, I remember walking back across the park with my Mum after visiting the library, clutching my three books that I'd chosen for that week. It's one of my earliest memories and I vividly remember the thrill of being able to choose books to take home. As we walked, I asked Mum, 'If I wrote a book, do you think Kingswinford Library would lend it out to people?' That's why in my author biography bit I say that from an early age I dreamed of writing a book that would make the heady heights of Kingswinford Library. For me, as a little girl already fallen hopelessly in love with stories and books, this seemed like the ultimate accolade because my library was a palace of dreams - a place filled with stories that I could spend hours wandering around in.
So over thirty years later, I was absolutely over the moon to be asked by Kingswinford Library to speak as part of their Big Book Fortnight event. You can see my gorgeous audience in the vlog (and, if you were there, you can witness your starring role!) and hopefully get a sense of how significant the night was for me. After all, it's not every day you fulfil a childhood ambition!
Oh, and watch out for a rare glimpse of my two biggest fans (who may have harangued you to buy my book if you've ever been in Waterstones or WHSmith in Merry Hill...)
p.s. This week's YouTube-nominated freeze frame is entitled: 'Chuffed'...
Monday, May 23, 2011
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 really excited to welcome the brilliant and very lovely NICOLA MAY into the Coffee and Roses Writer Spotlight.
I first came across Nicola's amazing book Working it Out last year on Authonomy.com, and fell in love with it. So, when I saw on Scott Pack's blog that Nicola had self-published her novel, I just had to get in touch and invite her to share her story here!
When did you first decide that you wanted to write?
I actually didn’t start writing until my thirties. I was working in PR at the time, loved a drink and smoked 20 a day and was dared to run a half marathon. I thought it would be quite funny to create a comedy diary of events throughout my tough training. Amazingly, I completed the marathon, but didn’t finish the diary. It did, however, give me the writing bug.
What interests you as a writer?
Everything! I love creating characters, especially the more eccentric ones. When ensconced in a novel, it does take over my mind. I’m thrilled when I have a Eureka! moment on a plot.
Do you have a typical writing day? If not, when is the best time to write for you?
Once I get started I don’t stop. I can write for six to eight hours and suddenly realise I haven’t eaten, and I love eating! I have been known to get up in the middle of the night if an idea suddenly hits.
What made you decide to write Working it Out?
After my stint in PR, I did a lot of contract work in Event Management. Between major contracts I did do the odd temp job. It was when I was in a Portakabin in the middle of a field, with a mad Greek developer who swore and smoked constantly, that the idea struck - for someone to do twelve jobs in twelve months and see where it would lead them. My then literary agents loved the idea and the actual title came immediately, which didn’t happen so quickly for the first two novels. My first novel, Star Fish is also based on a ‘twelve’ theme: Piscean Amy Anderson can’t find love and decides to date each sign of the zodiac until she finds the man of her dreams.
What are the best things about being a writer?
Working from bed and only having to answer to my characters. And of course, just recently, making people happy when they tell me how much they’ve enjoyed the book.
And the worst?
Being broke at the moment. I took a part-time job to focus heavily on my writing as it is what I want to do full-time. Being self-published, you don’t get a juicy advance.
Tell me about what you're working on now.
I am working on a novel called The School Gates. This one focuses on four very different mothers, one adorable dad and the inter-twining trials and tribulations a year at the primary school gates brings. It has comedic moments, but is a little darker than Working it Out.
You've written three novels, one of which you’ve self-published. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Working it Out is actually the first novel I have put into print and on Kindle. The other two are ready and waiting once I see what response I get to this one. I did have an agent and went the traditional route with them, but to no avail. However, I read between the lines of a lot of positive rejections, re-wrote this one and took the plunge myself at a minimal cost.
My main tips would be: Persistence over resistance. Take criticism on the chin and learn from it. Get a good copy editor and - be bold!
Do you have a dream project you'd love to write?
I would love to write a sitcom. I went on a sitcom course once, and the tutor said I was ‘too innuendo and panto-like’, then along came Miranda, which I love! My other dream is to be able to write the screenplay of Working it Out. I can see it already: Working it Out - a Working Title Film. Mr Curtis, I hope you’re reading this, as you would do a much better job!
Anything else you'd like to add?
I am very honoured that you contacted me for this interview, as I feel that self-published authors are almost frowned upon. I am also very excited as I really believe in Working It Out, and just like Ruby, the central character, I think maybe I am about to embark on the job of my dreams...
Working It Out is a wonderfully warm, laugh-out loud novel with characters you will really love. I absolutely fell in love with Ruby and her quest for her perfect job and it’s the kind of special book that only comes along once in a while. I thoroughly recommend it – buy the book now before Nicola becomes a major star in women’s contemporary fiction!
For more details on Nicola and to purchase a signed copy of Working it Out, go to www.nicolamay.com. Her novel is also on sale online at Waterstones, WHSmith and Amazon, and also as a Kindle version.
Would you like to feature in a future Writer Spotlight on my blog? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Monday, May 16, 2011
All this year, I'm keeping a video diary of everything that goes into writing my third novel, It Started With a Kiss, due to be published on 10th November. This week, the edits continue, there's a new hat of the week and I answer your questions on spotting readers of my books and where I find my character names...
After a week of laryngitis and problems with Blogger, here's my latest vlog post - sorry for the wait!
The edits are going well and this week I've taken a week off work to get the lion's share of the editing done. There's been a lot more to change than I initially expected, but I'm really pleased with the results. I think you're really going to love It Started With a Kiss when it's released!
Please keep your questions coming in - I love finding out what you'd like to know! Also, if you have an old hat that you'd like to see get its nine minutes of fame on a future vlog, drop me a line at email@example.com
So, here it is - enjoy!
p.s. This week's YouTube-nominated freeze frame is entitled, 'Oops, I blinked!'