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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Writing A Book In A Month, Part Four...

NaNoWriMo 2014 attracts corporate supporters as well as donations from writers. One of these, Webucator, approached writers for their insights into the creative writing process. I'm delighted to get people interested in trying something I've enjoyed all my life, so here's an extended version of the interview I gave to them:

I've written for pleasure all my life, and became a full-time writer in my late twenties. Before that, I worked in finance, then marketing, and finished up in the technical library of a gas-turbine (aero engine) manufacturer. Nobody who read my jet-fighter manuals was interested in happy endings, and the atmosphere wasn't good. Reading was my way of escaping, and I wanted to share that pleasure with others by putting my own stories into words. My wonderful OH offered to support me for one year to see if I could earn my living from writing and luckily, I found I could.

My goals haven't really changed since I began my writing career. I always want to write the best books I can, which help readers to get away from it all for a while. I write about complex men and independent women thrown together in difficult situations, who develop an understanding as they grow toward a satisfying conclusion. Their happy-ever-after is as good for me, as it is for my characters.    

Coming Soon, From Wild Rose Press
I'm very lucky to enjoy writing romance, which is a popular genre. You can find a list of my available titles heremy next book, His Majesty's Secret Passion, is being published soon by Wild Rose Press, and I've also got more titles scheduled for publication in 2015. Of course there's also my NaNoWriMo project, Tasting The Peach. This is a thriller, which is a completely new departure for me so it's a work-in-progress in every sense of the word. Joining up for NaNoWriMo 2014 allowed me to concentrate for one full month on producing the first draft. I'm only formulating the first draft, so there's still some way to go, but I already know Tasting The Peach won't have a conventional happy ending. I'll be posting updates here on my blog about its progress. You can keep in touch by subscribing, using the button above.

I'm lucky in that writing makes me a decent living, but in any case I can't stop. Sad, but true! As well as romance, I've written a lot of non-fiction articles for national magazines. Nature writing has always been  my first love, and I'm still trying to capture the passing seasons with the skill of a Roger Deakin, T.H White or H.E Bates.

My advice to any young person who wants a career as a writer is to find a conventional job that'll pay your bills and give you a grounding in life, but which still allows you time to write after-hours. You'll never produce your best work if you're worrying about making money from it, and you need some life experience before you join a profession whose members spend 90% of their time shut away from reality—you only have to look at politicians in Westminster (with the notable exception of Lord Moynihan, here) to see where that sort of insularity leads! 

Read as widely as you can, and in genres other than your own speciality. Don't just enjoy the story: analyse it, see how the author and editor have made it work. Then apply that insight to your own, original work. Most importantly of all, always write from your heart—readers soon spot insincerity, and they hate it. 

Finally, don't forget to subscribe to my blog (by clicking on the box, top right above) to get my tip sheet of  hints for the career writer.