There are so many ways for writers to learn tricks of the trade, better understand techniques such as story structure and character development, and pick up general tips for the publishing journey. In particular, hearing from other writers - whether published or not - can be really valuable, not necessarily because of their "insider secrets", but moreso because it can inspire us with our own writing.
The latest section in the Rabbit Hole is about discovering the journey an author has taken, the challenges, the successes, the inspiration, and the future...
You've now written a number of books. What inspired you and how did you get started?
I've always been a reader and a scribbler. It wasn't until my son developed school phobia, aged eleven, that my writing dream became a reality. I needed to physically remain at the school for three years to help him overcome his fears, so I found I had much time on my hands for devouring chicklit and then finally completing my own. Out of bad, came good!
Did you research, plan out a plot, or was your approach more whimsical and you just started writing with little intent as to where you were going?
I always have a very vague idea of where I'm going with a plot and how I'm going to get there. I don't overplan or I get bored and give up. I like to create the characters and see where they lead me on their journey - it's great when they grow wings and start guiding you in the right direction.
How challenging was the road to publication? Any advice for first-time novelists currently on that road?
Originally, I had an agent and came very close to a book deal. When that fell in a heap, I cried, sulked and stamped my feet a lot. After a few years of the manuscript sitting in the drawer, I decided that my first novel 'Diary of a Mummy Misfit' hadn't received such high praise from my agent and publishers for nothing and that I would publish as an Indie and see where that took me. I've never looked back since. My advice? Never give up! Your bum on the seat gets the job done!
What keeps you motivated and inspired on those days when you encounter the vexing grasp of 'writers block'?
I usually find a trip to the kettle or washing machine is enough to blow the block away. I don't often have bad bouts of it and I find if I just start to write something - anything - and then delete it, the flow is back,
How did you celebrate finishing your first novel?
We didn't really celebrate the first novel because I felt I'd been through the mill a bit with it. I'd had so many false dawns, a celebration seemed premature. All of my other novels have been celebrated with a book launch dinner with some close friends - it's always a very special time.
Where to from here? Have you considered other genres or are you most happy continuing in the space you're in now?
Chicklit is what I'm happiest with. It's what I read and I feel as if I've really done my homework and research. Saying that, my current WIP has a little mystery thrown in - but it's still chicklit through and through.
Time for a few Favourites...
Favourite author: Lisa Jewell, Sophie Kinsella, Maeve Binchy, Penny Vincenzzi, Carole Matthews - all the standards!
Favourite book: I couldn't pick one - sorry!
Favourite children's book: Any Enid Blyton or Noel Streatfield
Scariest book you've read: Silence of the Lambs
Most entertaining book you've read: Again, really tricky! Probably the Adrian Mole books when I was a teenager.
Book where the movie version was worse: I tend not to read books that have been made into movies but I loved 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.'
If one of your books could be turned into a movie, which would you choose and who would you like to play the main character: I'd love 'Stilettos & Stubble' to be made into a movie as it would be glamorous with a fantastically camp sound track. I'd choose Miranda Hart as the female lead.
Thanks Amanda! And if you would like to be featured in the Writing in Heels - Questions and Authors, please get in touch via the Contact form.