Today I'm delighted to welcome fellow Crooked Cat Author Carol Anne Hunter to my blog for an author interview....
Tell us a bit about your writing – How long have you been writing? How many books have you written and in what genres?
Project Me is my first novel. It’s a comedy, or at least I hope it is. Some might call it chook-lit – my friend calls it Hot Flush Fiction.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’m not sure I ever did. The book began as a hobby but when the finishing line came into view, I knew I wanted to see it published.
Where is your favourite spot in which to write? Garden? Study? Kitchen table? In bed?
I always, always write at the dining table. I have a 25” all-in-one touch screen PC (computer porn, according to my step-daughter Heather) set up on the table, which can display four pages of A4 at a time.
How long does it take you to write the first rough draft of one of your books?
I wrote for fun in the beginning so I can’t tell. I’ve been working on the first draft of Book #2 since March and have just passed the halfway mark. I suffer from chronic editing – I must have rewritten Project Me umpteen times before I called a halt. In fact, I was a third of the way through a major edit when Crooked Cat Publishing requested the full manuscript and I had to cancel the rest of my life and complete the job before I emailed it away.
Do you prefer to write with pen and paper or straight to the computer?
I’m a touch typist so I find it easier to use the keyboard. My handwriting must be really slow because it can’t keep up with my brain, which is unlikely to break the speed limit.
Do you plan a plot out in great detail before writing or start with the basics and let the book evolve that way?
I didn’t for Project Me, the storyline evolved, but I tried to do that for the sequel. However, the characters had other ideas and before I knew it they’d hijacked the whole caboodle and waltzed off down a different track. The story now has several threads woven through it that are, I hope, better than those I had in mind.
Who is your favourite character from all the books you have written and why?
I love Della, the sassy twenty-three year old who works in Maggie’s office. She’s a girl with attitude who doesn’t give two hoots for what people think. She’s who I wish I’d been when I was her age and I loved writing her.
Is there such a thing as an average writing day for you and if so what is it?
I have to take my chance to write when I can. My mum has a carer in the mornings so it tends to be then. My brain does a downhill slide from 7pm onwards so I spend that time on social networking.
How do you create the characters in your books?
Sometimes they arrive fully formed, sometimes I start the storyline and the character develops as I write. Cat and Winnie in Project Me were one person until I realised she had two distinct sides to her personality and would work better as two people offset against each other. They became my main character’s ‘good cop, bad cop’ and it worked.
What is your favourite book of all time?
Every time I think I’ve found my favourite, I’m proved wrong by reading another great book. I love gritty writing and dialogue, although maybe not as gritty as Irvine Welsh, so authors like Jeff Torrington, Maggie Graham and Jenni Fagan do it for me.
What was your journey to being a published author?
I began writing for fun, then took a few short courses at Edinburgh Uni and began to think, maybe I can do this. I had submitted Project Me to thirteen agents before Crooked Cat offered me a contract at exactly the same time that a fifteenth agent had requested the full manuscript.
Biggest myth about being a novelist?
That, once published, you sit back, do nothing and rake in the money. The real work begins before launch day and escalates once the book is out there. I spend a lot of time social networking and researching ways to promote the book.
Advice to aspiring novelists?
Don’t give up. It’s not easy to convince a publisher that your book is worth the risk but you have to keep going. If you can’t get a publisher then self-publish. Also, never throw anything away. Keep everything you’ve written, even if it gets deleted from your storyline. You never know when it could be used in another piece of work, or could inspire another story.
Check out Carol's book Project Me on Amazon