1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I’ve been faffing about with writing since I was just a kid but it’s only in the last few years that I started taking it seriously. The turning point for me came when I entered a chapter in Mills & Boon’s New Voices competition in 2011. I ended up in the final four and after that I started throwing everything at my writing ambitions. All my achievements since have come from that moment. I squash my writing around family life, keeping two teenagers out of trouble and looking after a four-year old.
2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
This is my second published book but it was the first one I wrote (if that makes sense!). I spent years picking it up, fiddling with it and shutting it back in the wardrobe before I eventually submitted it to Mills & Boon. It was initially rejected after major revisions but after I sold they asked to look at it again. It has a limited release in the UK only for now, although I hope it will get a full release further down the line. I’m so happy it will finally get out there as it really was my baby!
3. Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?
Shoe shopping has its place! I definitely have times when writing is the best thing ever and the words seem to flow from my fingers, and then other times when it’s like pulling teeth. Forcing myself to keep writing at those times is the only thing that works for me. I set a target of 1k a day and make myself keep going until I reach it, even if I’m still messing about at 3pm and I think I’m writing dross. Some of the time it turns out not to be dross and even if it is, once the words are down they are far more fixable.
4. What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Not to get too bogged down by the promo! I’m on Twitter and Facebook and I try to blog at least once a month. I also think it’s important to have a website with good up-to-date information on your books, along with excerpts, blurbs, buying links etc. I’ve just discovered Goodreads (can’t believe it’s taken me so long) and I think that is a fabulous site. But all this stuff takes up a lot of time and the most important thing is to get the books done to the absolute best standard I can. I try to prioritise that.
5. How does writing fit into your day? Or does your day fit in around your writing?
Since my smallest daughter started school last September I’m much more time-rich than I used to be! I try to write from 9am-12pm on weekdays, longer if I haven’t hit my wordcount or if it’s flowing particularly well. In the afternoon I make notes or draft scenes by hand in between doing housework and running around after the kids. I have notebooks all over the place! Weekends are family time, but I still fit in the odd hour here and there, especially if I’m near a deadline.
6. Which blog(s) do you read regularly?
I read from my article list on Blogger every day. I love the articles on Romance University, I always read the Minxes blog (of course!) and I especially like the craft posts that some of the authors I follow write – Maisey Yates does craft advice brilliantly, as does Fiona Harper.
7. Any craft books you recommend?
Liz Fielding’s Little Book Of Writing Romance is a brilliant pared-down craft book for keeping you on track while you write your first draft. It cuts through all the faff.
Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat! and Michael Hauge’s Writing Screenplays That Sell are invaluable to me. I’m a real planner and I’ve used both their approaches and found them so helpful.
And Stephen King’s On Writing for its pure kick-up-the-butt inspiration.
8. Could you be friends with any of your heroines?
I feel like I’m best mates with all my heroines while I’m writing them. I always feel like I’m really living their journey and as a result I have to work really hard to make sure I don’t neglect the hero. I have to keep in mind that it’s a 50-50 story of two people with their own backgrounds and experiences that converges.
9. At what point in your career did you actually start to feel like you were a writer?
It’s all still a bit surreal, to be honest! I think when I received my first box of author copies. Seeing my name on the cover was a special moment.
10. Do you write to music, or with the tv on in the background, or do you need complete silence?
I can write to any of these quite happily. I think the ability to tune sound out stems from all that time spent squeezing my writing in around a mad toddler. I still do a lot of writing by hand in notebooks with Disney films in the background or at the end of the table while my small one builds things from Lego. But I’m just as happy writing in total silence. Whatever works in the time I have!
How do you get the wedding you’ve always wanted?
Lucy Telford knows all about heartache – her teenage crush on her friend Gabriel Blake was a crash course in unrequited love – but these days she’s determined to make her own happy ending. If her boyfriend won’t get down on one knee, she’ll just have to ask him herself!
Step one is enlisting Gabriel’s help – as an absolute woman-magnet, surely he can give her some tips on becoming irresistible? But Lucy’s perfect plan goes awry when she starts wondering if she’s asking the right man to walk her down the aisle…