Confessions of a Writer is the brainchild of Nicolette Elzie. Take a look at her blog: A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly – Book Reviews and Antics of an Aspiring Author.
I was tagged into this thread by the multi-talented Julia Grantham. She is highly accomplished in a variety of fields and her first novel ‘Smitten’ is eagerly anticipated by her many friends/fans!
So here we go with the questions and answers:
- When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?
I’ve had a secret ambition to write for as long as I can remember but life and my natural tendency towards procrastination got in the way. I finally started my first novel a couple of years ago. Previously my ideas were abstract and I only submitted them to manuscript form when I ran out of displacement activities.
- What genre do you write?
I write crime/mystery/thrillers currently but relationships seem to surreptitiously creep into my work, so it has been suggested that I should try romance. My niece Emily has kindly offered to be my co-writer (so she can do any steamy bits) and if we ever get the project off the ground we have decided to adopt a nom de plume; so look out for Calamity Blooms!
- Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?
Twisted Lives will be my third novel and is a sequel to Long Shadows, my first published work. It’s a murder mystery with some old friends from Long Shadows popping up again. I’ve been working on this intermittently for about six months.
In fact Twisted Lives was supposed to be my second novel but when I sat down to start, Evil Echoes came out instead. This is a Victorian thriller which follows the story of an ancestor of the main character from Long Shadows and will be published in 2016.
- What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?
I wrote a short story about a bank robbery when I was about seven. My mother was totally underwhelmed and it disappeared into the ether without trace. I didn’t attempt to be creative again until my children needed help with their homework.
- What’s the best part about writing?
Meeting characters who develop and blossom. I did an ‘Imaginary Friends’ blog recently and subsequently noticed people left spaces next to me at church for a while …
- What’s the worst part about writing?
Firstly, waiting for reviews and hoping no one is critical without being constructive. Secondly, getting ideas in the bath when there’s nothing to write on.
- What’s the name of your favourite character and why? (This can be from a book by another author or from your own work. Book crushes are perfectly acceptable here as well.)
I enjoy exploring the lives of other novelists’ creations but I can’t possibly see into their souls as I’m a bystander. I believe the author alone has a primary relationship with their characters. That is why I’m uneasy when I hear that permission has been given for a character to be resurrected after the death of its creator. Which is long-winded way of explaining why my favourite character has to be Lizzie Tennyson from Long Shadows.
- How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?
Between twelve hours a day to none. I write at any time in a totally haphazard fashion, am extremely ill-disciplined and certainly not a role model for any aspiring author.
- Did you go to college for writing? Or if you haven’t been to college yet, do you plan to?
I went to college to gain academic and vocational qualifications at the age of sixteen. I’ve never undertaken any form of creative writing course. I’d be an absolute nightmare and would probably be asked to leave after the second lesson.
- What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors, or grammar errors?
I’m far from perfect and am guilty of the odd mistake myself. If I enjoy a book I can forgive a few grammatical slip ups; we’re all human.
- What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you?
Never start writing if you have no clear idea of the ending.
- What advice would you give to another writer?
Research and Edit thoroughly. I read a novel recently in which the author committed the cardinal sin of asserted that ‘The Archers’ was broadcast on Radio Two. If you’re not sure and can’t check, leave it out. A tenacious reader will take great glee in annotating any errors in the margin. Whilst many people now read electronically, you can be sure Mr Pedantic still visits the library and delights in advising the author of their folly in a review rant for the whole world to see.
- What are your favourite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?
I follow several social media blogs by a variety of writers I admire but to pick out two;
Terry Tyler (@terrytyler4) gives me encouragement and offers practical advice and suggestions. She also kindly included me in her much-acclaimed Zodiac Z-File series recently.
Julia Grantham (@juliagrantham2) is an amazing motivator and selflessly promotes the work of other novelists.
Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?
Apart from reading, I enjoy walking in all parts of the UK and will be on sabbatical next year, spending six months in Cumbria. I am part of my school alumni and get involved in all manner of things at my local church. I would love to say I’m creative in other areas and that I sew, knit and paint but I’d be lying.
- What is the best book you’ve read this year?
High on my list of books for 2015 is ‘The King’s Curse’ by Philippa Gregory. This is the story of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury and daughter of George Plantagenet, the first Duke of Clarence.
- What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?
The Hunger Games – I’ve seen the first two on DVD and am looking forward to watching Mockingjay: Parts I and II.
- What is your favourite book or series of all time?
Brideshead Revisited. I watched the original and enjoyed it but it was only when I revisited it (sorry) that I actually picked up on so many nuances that I’d missed the first time round.
- Who is your favourite author?
I have many, usually depending on the last book I read. I enjoy the work of a myriad of authors and like to read across (almost) every genre.
- What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?
I will continue in my somewhat chaotic and haphazard writing style as that’s what works for me. I’m envious of authors who can discipline themselves but then I’m equally jealous of people who can bake cakes. You can only play the hand you’re dealt.
Where else can we find you online?
My nomination(s) will be published on Twitter shortly.