If she’s not writing, she’s probably thinking about writing. Or drinking chai tea, reading, daydreaming or thinking up her next adventure. She loves travel, snow and sewing; thinking quietly and laughing loudly; being alone in a crowd; anything with cream cheese icing on it.
What inspires you to write?
It sounds like a cop out answer, but everything inspires me to write. I get ideas from the smallest of things – like seeing a leaf on the ground, or a crumpled up piece of paper – and suddenly story ideas and characters are burning a hole in my heart until I write them down.
I have loved writing since the moment I could hold a pencil, and I haven’t stopped making up stories ever since. It’s almost a compulsion – I’m not sure I could stop doing it even if I tried.
Tell us about your writing process.
My style is very much, ‘start writing and it will come to me’. I do outline, but only as far as I have already thought out the story. If the idea or character really captures me, I will just start writing and I get the ideas as I go. I don’t know if I would recommend this style, but it seems to work for me. I often get my best inspiration on the fly, and even if I do have a plan, I almost always detour from it.
But I often do a lot of ‘mental preparation’ before I start, or during writing when I’m brainstorming the next step. I trawl images for character or setting inspiration on Pinterest, or write down descriptions and world building ideas.
And often, then, it’s like the story is unfolding in my imagination and I’m just watching and writing down what happens. Doing my best to transcribe the story and do it justice.
I also work on multiple projects at once. Again, I’m not sure I’d recommend that as a strategy, but it works for me. Sometimes a particular story needs to percolate for a bit before I can continue, so I will give it a rest while I work on something else. Sometimes a new story or character just jumps out at me, and I have to get it down before it fades away, so I will start on that even if I’m already working on something else.
I use Scrivener to do my writing – it’s great! I definitely don’t make best use of all the features, but I love it for storing all my research, notes, sketches and images in one place together with my writing.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t necessarily interact with my characters – I don’t have conversations with them – but they do very much feel like real, living breathing people to me. It feels like a large part of my story ideas come from watching them, watching their lives, their dreams, their failures, and just recording what happens.
It’s a strange experience to watch a character I create grow to be more than that, to take on a life of his or her own and start doing things that I didn’t even expect.
But they never get away from me either. Being a writer gives you a strange voyeuristic god-complex – you get to create, observe and manipulate in any way you want. It’s a rush. And it goes to your head!
What advice would you give other writers?
Just get it down.
My biggest obstacle has always been self-censoring to the point that I wouldn’t even putting anything down on the page. I’d decided it was going to be awful before I’d even begun, so I didn’t even bother.
Breakthrough came when I gave myself permission to write rubbish. Not to mean I didn’t care about doing my best or honing my craft, but that for the first draft at least, the most important thing was just to write it – just to get it down without self-editing and criticising along the way.
You have to push the fear of failure to the side and take the risk. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work out and you file it away in your computer and start on something new. But trust yourself – usually you will at least have the bones of a story by the time you are done, and you can refine it into something wonderful.
You can refine and polish a terrible but complete story. But you can’t do anything with nothing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I chose to self-publish. I thought about it for a long time, but I think deep down I always knew I would go this route. The only thing that held me back was fear of the ‘stigma’ – but that is fading away these days. Self-publishing is not a last resort for people who couldn’t publish traditionally. It’s a valid choice for people who enjoy the whole process, enjoy being intimately involved in every aspect of their book and are prolific writers. Self-publishing offers a much faster route to getting your books to your readers than traditional publishing usually does, and you also retain a lot more control over every aspect of your book.
Maybe I’m just a control freak, but I like this. And I love every part of the self-publishing process, from cover design to formatting. It has been a lot of fun.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think ‘hybrid’ authors are looking like the future – authors who publish both traditionally and indie. I think self-publishing looks like it is only going to keep growing, but I also think this doesn’t necessarily spell the demise of traditional publishing. Publishing houses just might have to be willing to be a little more flexible in their approach.
What genres do you write?
New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
What formats are your books in?