1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I’ve loved writing for sooooo long but I am a massive procrastinator, so it was only when the author Belinda Jones ran a short story competition that I thought I’d go for it – I never expected to get anywhere, but thought it would kick-start some actual action on my part. Then my story was shortlisted. Then Little, Brown got in touch. And the rest is history, baby!
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I have a day job (booooo) which means writing has to work around that – I have a bus commute for an hour to and from the office so that’s good writing time, then sometimes I’ll do some in the evenings, and often I’ll do some at the weekends (mostly cramming it in on Sunday evenings).
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? Yes, lots, especially when starting a new story and you aren’t in the swing of things. I’ve had some really tight deadlines with my books so far (You Had Me at Merlot needed to be written within a matter of weeks) which actually helps, because you just HAVE to get something on paper, and once it’s there it’s much easier to manage – to edit, restructure, add bits, take bits away, etc.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? Pretty much a plotter, though I’m open to new ideas popping into my head, and characters developing. I’ve had to plan quite carefully with my serialised books, so now I’m writing my fourth – although this is a single, full novel – the habit has stuck!
5.Are you traditionally or self-published, and what was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors?Traditional – and I’ve been very very lucky to have an ace Editor (you neeeeed an Editor – they can see things you just don’t see, even small things like how you might overuse certain words) and an ace Agent (she is invaluable and lovely all rolled into one). My big advice to anyone writing would be: don’t listen when anyone tells you “yeah yeah, but everyone wants to be a writer, it’s never going to happen” because it can, and it does, and up their bums.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? My third book deal – where Little, Brown decided to turn all three of my books – plus two new ones – straight into paperbacks. Ebooks are GREAT and read by vast vast quantities or people, but I couldn’t wait to hold an actual book with my name on, and see it there on my shelf. J
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. Well, The Twelve Dates of Christmas was actually my first book, which came out initially in 2013, but this Christmas it has been turned into a paperback – and it’s all snow and love and silly awkwardness and Quality Street. The book I’m working on now is also a Christmas book, set in New York, and it’ll be with you next Autumn…
8.What audience is your book targeted for, and what genre does it come under? It would be classed as romantic comedy, or chick lit, or whatever you want to this genre, really. And the audience is ANYONE! All books – all books – that are fiction are there for your entertainment, and I can’t bear the idea that some genres of books aren’t ‘real’ books.
9.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I eat lots and I watch TV – I love Scandal and I’m really into The Office (US) at the moment, though I know I’m a bit behind the times with that one. I go to the gym and to classes like circuits and combat and body pump if I must. And I wander about on the beach in Devon with my husband, Phil.
10.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) Do chatter to peers on social media, especially Twitter, and don’t be an arsehole to other people or to publishing folk if they don’t accept your work straight away – it’ll paint you in a bad light and the Twitterverse is pretty close knit. Do talk to me! I love hearing from people! And don’t sweat the small stuff – just because your hilare tweet only got two favourites doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it, or you.
11.How would you describe your writing style? Pretty open and honest, quite modern, and I like to sneak a few issues in there as well, like women’s equality or gay rights. I hope it’s humorous and easy-going, because I want people to feel at ease and among friends when they read my books.
Feel free to include your: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Blog.