There are some questions I am always asked when people learn I am a novelist, so today I will attempt to answer them in a vaguely sensible manner. (Forgive me if *’I digress in this dress’.
Where do the ideas come from?
I know other authors who say this is a stupid question but it’s not at all in my opinion. It’s a fascinating question. Where do they come from? For me an idea for a book is seeded by a phrase, a person in a news article, a story I heard, a piece of art or music. I get at visceral feeling when my interest is piqued, so I now know which ones to pay attention to and which ones to piff.
How did you get to be a writer?
I have a nervous breakdown. *insert canned laughter* No really, I did. Writing was part of my therapy in so much that I was advised to do something creative away from work and mothering. I think that what happened in terms of my mental health, allowed me to have the time for my creativity and natural talent to bubble up without distractions from real life. I got lost in writing about other people’s lives because I didn’t want to look at my own.
Is it hard to focus and stay on track when you work at home?
It used to be. I had a lot of guilt about not doing ‘housey’ things when I was at home. Now I don’t care. I take a break at lunch and hang out some washing or unpack the dishwasher but I have a set routine that supports my work and I am pretty good at sticking to it nowadays.
I’d like to write a book, any tips?
Sure. Sit down and write your first draft and don’t judge it till it’s finished. The give it to one person you trust more than anyone else for an honest, uncoloured appraisal and listen to them and then trust yourself to know if it’s worth pursuing or not. For me it was two girlfriends who told me to keep writing so they could find out what happened to my characters in The Perfect Location. I am ever grateful to them for this push. I doubt I would have finished the manuscript without them.
Do you use a computer or write long hand?
Both. I type fast, so I write the bulk of the MS using that but I do use notebooks to plot, write chapter skeletons and characters notes. I also keep notes as I write so I can jot down details, things to refer back to and thoughts about the MS as I write.
And that’s it for me now. I am off to write. A deadline looms and I must pay attention, lest it chops my fingers off.
Have a swell Wednesday.
(*100 points and a free book to the person who knows what Australian play that quote is from.)