Today I'm thrilled to welcome back to my blog for a chat and news of her latest book, fellow Crooked Cat Publishing author Sarah Louise Smith...
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I've been writing stories since I was a kid, but I suppose I had a ‘wake up’ moment when I was about 21. I decided that this hobby I enjoyed so much could potentially be turned into a career if I worked hard enough at it. It took me another ten years after that to complete a novel though!
How long does it take you to write the first rough draft of one of your books?
A few months, but it’s very rough and probably only half the total word count. The whole process takes me about six months.
Do you prefer to write with pen and paper or straight to the computer?
I’m a fast typist so I tend to always use my computer – my posture is terrible though so I need to pay more attention to that, I’m at risk of damaging my wrists! There is something quite nice about putting pen to paper though and I love to write with pens as often as I can – even lists, greetings cards, notes – I love writing!
Do you plan a plot out in great detail before writing or start with the basics and let the book evolve that way?
I used to delve into it and see what happened but that took me a long time and often I’d get bored and start a new story. Now I plan a basic plot out from beginning to end, but that’s very tentative and gets changed as the characters develop. Having a draft plot keeps me on track though.
Do you ever get part way through writing a book and find the characters are leading the story off in a different direction to how you had envisaged?
Yes, definitely – in Izzy’s Cold Feet I had a totally different ending planned and as for Independent Jenny, I really didn’t know who I wanted her to end up with for sure until I’d written the last few chapters… I kept changing my mind but Jenny decided who she wanted!
Who is your favourite character from all the books you have written and why?
I’m rather partial to all my female leads, but my favourite right now is Shane – Jenny’s best friend in Independent Jenny. He’s fun, supportive and a fantastic friend. I want him in my life!
Is there such a thing as an average writing day for you and if so what is it?
I am not one of those writers who gets up and write a little each day. I don’t write for two weeks, then I’ll get up early one Saturday and write for 12 hours straight without stopping. It’s lucky I don’t live alone as I depend on my husband to keep me watered and fed on those days. I get so absorbed into what I’m doing, and end up de-hydrated! Other days I will just write or edit a little here and there, but the majority gets done on these full-on days.
How do you create the characters in your books?
I always try to make my characters normal, and very conversational with the reader. I prefer to write in the first person and so really want the reader to get to know my characters. With Independent Jenny, Jenny finds out her husband has cheated on her in the first chapter, and shortly afterwards discovers that her brother-in-law has a thing for her. She goes through a roller-coaster of emotions and I’ve wanted her personality to come through while at the same time demonstrating how she’s feeling and coping and what she’s thinking. One of the characters I enjoyed creating most though was her friend Hayley – she’s spontaneous and a bit wild and has her own adventure in the book – she could be a main character in another book someday, she’s got her own tales to tell for sure!
What is your favourite book of all time?
I’m a huge Jane Austen fan – Pride & Prejudice. I’ve read it over and over. The first, and best, in romantic comedy/chick-lit!
What is your favourite film of all time?
So many… Love Actually, The Holiday, Definitely Maybe, Dirty Dancing… I also like a bit of Quentin Tarantino, and pretty much anything with Leonardo DiCaprio!
Biggest myth about being a novelist?
That I’m rolling in money!
Advice to aspiring novelists?
Write, write, write – you have to work hard, but it’s worth it!
Sarah's third novel Independent Jenny is released on September 17th, here's a sneak peek...
About Independent Jenny:
“I slept with someone else.”
Those five words changed everything.
Those five words changed everything.
After her husband Ross drops a bombshell, Jenny’s emotions go hay-wire. Things are made even more complex when his brother Aiden makes a confession of his own…
A holiday escape with her friend Hayley seems the perfect way to figure out what – and who – she wants. But Hayley has a hidden motive that results in Jenny spending time with her ex-boyfriend Will, who is now married.
Should Jenny forgive Ross? Can she ignore her feelings for romantic Aiden? And why can’t she get Will out of her head?
One thing is for sure: Jenny doesn’t want to be alone. Surely any man is better than no man, right?
About Sarah Louise Smith:
Sarah Louise Smith lives in Milton Keynes, UK, with her husband, a cute cat and a loopy golden retriever. She has an extremely lovely step-daughter and spends most of her free time writing, reading, cooking, and taking long walks.
She’s the author of three chick-lit novels: Amy & Zach, Izzy’s Cold Feet, and Independent Jenny, all published by Crooked Cat.
Sarah’s website/blog: www.sarahlouisesmith.com
You can purchase paperbacks or e-versions from all the usual online book sellers.
Follow Sarah on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahSmith16
Find Sarah on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahlouisesmithauthor