When I released Yours Remotely, I asked my newsletter subscribers to send in some questions to be in with a change of winning a free copy of the book. Here are the winning questions and answers!
How do you get started, first step, if you want to write and get a book published? Is there a contacts area somewhere to know how to get in touch with the right people for help? – Emily
Whenever I talk to aspiring authors, their first concern is that they can’t get their novels finished. It IS difficult but obviously the first step to getting published. That’s why it’s so important to write about something that you feel passionate about. I realise that I could write more commercially viable stuff, but it’s not where my heart is. Also, have a plan when you start writing. Some people plan every step of the way before they write a word, but that doesn’t work for everyone. You do, however, need a general direction or you will hit a dead end before too long.
Writing clubs and classes are a great way to keep your motivation up and for feedback in the early stages. Those contacts can also help you get in touch with the right people when it’s time to get published. There are huge regional differences here, but if you want to get traditionally published, in most countries you need to find a literary agent first, and the agent will then approach publishers on your behalf. In some countries – e.g. Finland where I grew up – authors approach publishers directly. Literary festivals and literary associations in your country or area are a great point of contact on how to get started, so look them up on the internet.
If you prefer self-publishing as an option, other authors, particularly those in your genre, will be your best help. Do your research too so that you can avoid the major self-publishing pitfalls. Self-publishing will cost a bit of money, but it allows more freedom than traditional publishing and is a worthwhile option to consider.
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I am recently engaged so I am wondering if in your opinion is Ireland a good honeymoon site? - BF
Yes! It absolutely is. Ireland has so much to offer. We have vibrant cities and small towns with a lot of cultural offerings – art, music, literature, films etc. There are always festivals on, whether they are food, arts and crafts, music or literary festivals, so if you like to keep busy, town and city breaks are an ideal option.
For the old Ireland, make sure you visit the countryside. There is still so much unbuilt land in Ireland that you can find peace and quiet without any great effort. There are many quaint B&Bs in the countryside, and many local pubs offer rooms as well. A turf fire in a country pub with a pint of Guinness or a pot of tea – what could be more romantic than that?
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What inspires the creation on your characters? – Danielle
I’m a self-confessed non-people person, but boy, do I like to observe people! I love people watching – and I hope I go about it in a non-creepy way – so it’s my people watching that inspires my characters. I never write about characters who are taken directly from real life. My characters are a mixture of people I know, celebrities, other characters from TV shows, films or books, and of my own imagination fed by years of observing people so that the final product is quite unrecognisable from his or her origins.
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Who is/was the inspiration that started you on your writing career? – DN
I always wanted to write, which I guess stems from a love of reading that I can thank my parents for. I imagine that creativity is in my blood as I have some artists and writers in my family although not people close to me.
I think the initial push to start publishing my writing came when my mother died. I realised that life is short and could end unexpectedly, and if I want to be a published author like I have always dreamed of being, I need to do something about it; nobody’s going to come looking for my stories if I don’t put them out there. You need to go for what you want in life.
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Do you have a organized set times that you spend writing, or is your writing sporadic when ideas and thoughts come to you. Do you try to commit to so many hours a week you spend writing. I know this actually is more than one question but they all kind of go together. – Diana
I agree; they do go together. Finding time is always a challenge as I have a full-time job, three dogs and the rest of my life to run too. Most of my writing happens at the weekends and in the evenings, but another time I have found really productive is break times at work. I work from home three days a week, and when I take my tea break, I simply switch from my work laptop to my personal laptop and start typing. It all adds up at the end of the week. I try to have several scenes planned ahead so that I don’t get stuck when I sit down to write, and mostly, my target is to get certain scenes written in one session rather than have a word count or time target.