Tag Archives: chicklit

A Fine Romance – With Nell Dixon!

Image

A little bit of bio – who are you, where do you come from and where are you based?

I’m Nell Dixon, a Black Country author, married to the same man for over twenty-seven years. I have three daughters, a tank of tropical fish and a cactus called Spike. Winner of the RNA’s prestigious Romance Prize in 2007 and 2010, I write warm-hearted contemporary romance for a number of publishers in the US and the UK including Myrmidon Press, Samhain Publishing, Little Black Dress, Astraea Press, E-Scape Press and Freya’s Bower.

 

Who is your favourite author of all time and which book do you wish you had written?

This is hard as I love several authors. Jane Austen is my favourite author and a book I really wish I’d written is Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie. That book cracks me up everytime I read it.

Have you a writing routine? Do you write a la Cartland, dictating to a minion whilst lying on a chaise longe sipping champagne? Or, is the reality a garden shed or a corner of the living room?

Sadly, no chaise longe. I have a small office just off the first floor landing of my home. It doesn’t have a door so my family frequently clump up the stairs to interrupt me. I write mainly in the evenings and at weekends.

 When were you first gripped by the writing bug – was it a gradual realisation or always a burning ambition? Which authors, if any, were influential in fuelling this desire?

I have always written from the age of four when I first learned to read, the writing came soon after. I used to make up stories and get my Dad to write them down. Growing up I read anything and everything. Some of my favourite authors were Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton and Elinor Brent-Dyer.

When did you make your first serious foray into writing? What did you write? Has your style of writing changed significantly since then? If you could go back, would you do anything differently?

I had my first poem published when I was eleven. My local paper gave me a postal order which I thought was amazing. I sent them so many poems after that, most of which they bought, that I had my own little spot. I finished my first book when I was seventeen. I loved Andre Norton so it was very sci-fi. Now I write quirky romantic comedy or contemporary romance with a twist of humour and a dollop of suspense.

We all know the world of traditional publishing can be brutal in its rejection and fragile egos are routinely shattered. Have you ever experienced this? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with it?

I had loads of rejections, and indeed still get some. I hope my writing is always improving and I know that what I write may not be every editor’s cup of tea. If I get a rejection I just keep polishing up that story and send it right back out there to someone else.

 Ebook platforms such as Kindle and Smashwords are playing a major role in changing the face of publishing. Is this a good thing and do you feel that traditional publishers and agents have had it their own way for far too long?

I think it’s great that readers have so much choice now. I love finding new authors to read and my kindle has widened the kinds of books I read enormously.

 Do you feel ebooks will continue to escalate in popularity?

I think so. Anything that gives people easy access to books has to be a fantastic thing no matter what the format.

 What books have you written? Have you a particular favourite? What/who inspired it?

I’ve written sixteen books now. I like to think that the latest book is always my best one. I do have some favourites though, simply because they were so much fun to write. Animal Instincts, the book that won the Romance Prize in 2010 is a favourite. Not just of mine but also for readers – everyone loves Dave, the foul mouthed parrot.

Do you feel the best is yet to come? What inspires your writing in general?

I always hope the best is yet to come. I get inspiration from life, reading the paper, eavesdropping on conversations and watching TV.

 What are you working on right now?

Right now I have an idea for a new series in my head. My last series – The Cornish set New Bay stories has been popular with readers and I enjoy writing stand alone stories that have recurring characters. It’s like catching up with old friends.

 What do you like/dislike most about writing?

I love it when a story comes to life, like magic. I hate the days when it’s like wading through treacle, in the dark with sharks circling.

Anything you would like to crow about?

I’m British so am rubbish at crowing about anything really!

When I was an aspiring author, I longed to know ‘the secrets’ of other authors. What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Did anyone ever share a particularly valuable insight or piece of advice with you and, if so, can you share it with us?

My advice to all aspiring writers is to read as much as you can, read widely and then sit down and write. Write even when it’s hard and you’re tired and you really should be scrubbing the toilet or feeding the cat not staring at a blank page waiting for words to come. Just write.

Read more about Nell on:

http://www.nelldixon.com

http://nelldixonrw.blogspot.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nell-Dixon/228642037151856

Twitter as @nelldixon

Nell’s latest release is Be My Hero http://www.amazon.com/Be-My-Hero-ebook/dp/B0095MYT24/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1

BeMyHero 200x300

 

Excerpt!

Nathalie Mayer is thirty-four. On the surface she is an attractive, happy, single, successful woman running her own bridal business. Despite her line of work and her obvious delight in other people’s weddings, including that of her twin brother, Nate. Nathalie has always declared that a settled relationship is not for her. There has only ever been one man whom Nathalie felt she could love.

Evan Davies is back in town after a six year absence. Last time he was here, he and Nathalie had tentatively begun to take their friendship to a different level. Now he’s home again and has the reason for his sudden departure from six years ago with him – his daughter, Polly.

Nell, thank you for a wonderful interview!

 

1 Comment

Filed under Author, Books, Catherine Czerkawska, chicklit, Crime, Crime Writers, Ebooks, Faith Bleasdale, Fiction, Library, Nell Dixon, Novelist, Publishing, romance, Romantic Novelist, Sasha Wagstaff, Sheila Quigley, Uncategorized, Writing

Have a little Faith – Bleasdale, that is!

 

ImageThis week’s interview is with the lovely Faith Bleasdale, who writes on a tray – you read that right. Over to you Faith.

A little bit of bio – who are you, where do you come from and where are you based?

I’m Faith Bleasdale, I was born in Sussex, grew up in North Devon and after moving nomadically around for years I am now based in North Devon.

Who is your favourite author of all time and which book do you wish you had written?

Goodness that’s difficult, I love so many, I shall say Margaret Atwood, I think she’s wonderful and I wish I’d written Alias Grace; due to the fact for me it’s historical fiction at its best.

Have you a writing routine? Do you write a la Cartland, dictating to a minion whilst lying on a chaise longe sipping champagne? Or, is the reality a garden shed or a corner of the living room?

I have a tray. No really. I used to have the luxury of an office but then I had a child. So I have a vintage tray that I work on usually on the sofa in the summer or in bed in the winter. It’s quite a sight. Of course I do have a dining table and a bureau but for me the tray works best. Well until I can afford the minion to dictate to of course.

When were you first gripped by the writing bug – was it a gradual realisation or always a burning ambition? Which authors, if any, were influential in fuelling this desire? 

I always wanted to write ever since I can remember if I’m honest. At school I was happiest when writing stories, so deep down I was gripped from a very early age. I think perhaps one of  the most influential authors for me is Enid Blyton, as I spent so much of my childhood lost in her books and then Judy Blume. Those two authors I feel framed much of my childhood/teenage reading.

 When did you make your first serious foray into writing? What did you write? Has your style of writing changed significantly since then? If you could go back, would you do anything differently?

I was in my early twenties when I realised that I couldn’t really find a job I liked, so I thought about what I really wanted to do. I took a leap of faith; took up temping and wrote my first book. I was very much in the young female fiction genre back then, so now I feel that I have grown up and hopefully so was my writing. And no, I wouldn’t do anything differently, I believe everything we do, both good and bad leads us forwards in life, so no regrets and no looking back!

We all know the world of traditional publishing can be brutal in its rejection and fragile egos are routinely shattered. Have you ever experienced this? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with it?

Goodness, rejection is my middle name. I used to grade my rejection letters from bad to good and I actually liked the good ones! It’s a part of life and I believe that if it’s the right thing for you, then you believe in yourself and no matter how many rejections you get you dust yourself off and get back up there. Rejection in any form isn’t nice but it is true, I believe it either floors you or makes you stronger. Well most writers are pretty strong I think.

Ebook platforms such as Kindle and Smashwords are playing a major role in changing the face of publishing. Is this a good thing and do you feel that traditional publishers and agents have had it their own way for far too long?

I think it’s fabulous because this way the readers get to be the judge of what they read not the publishers. It gives writers a chance they might not other wise have and I welcome any change, because that’s how we evolve.

Do you feel ebooks will continue to escalate in popularity?

I do think they will and I also am happy to be making my first foray into e-publishing soon.

What books have you written? Have you a particular favourite? What/who inspired it?

I’ve written six books so far, Rubber Gloves or Jimmy Choos, Pinstripes, Peep Show, Deranged Marriage, Agent Provocateur and The Love Resort. Like children, I couldn’t possibly have a favourite.

Do you feel the best is yet to come? What inspires your writing in general?

The best is definitely yet to come, and life inspires me. Actually I think most things inspire me!

What are you working on right now?

I’m about to publish my first e-book and I’m also writing something different to what I’ve tackled before.

What do you like/dislike most about writing?

I like everything about writing, well mostly. I dislike spelling because even after all this time and spellchecks, I’m still not great.

Anything you would like to crow about?

No!

When I was an aspiring author, I longed to know ‘the secrets’ of other authors. What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Did anyone ever share a particularly valuable insight or piece of advice with you and, if so, can you share it with us?                        

I went out on a limb and took a chance to do something I loved and I believed in. I think if it’s something you are passionate about then give it a go. And in this day and age with e-books there is no better time to do so.

You can read more about the lovely and prolific Faith on www.faithbleasdale.com

ImageImageImageImageImage

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

An Author A Week – Sasha Wagstaff

Today, it is the turn of the delightful Sasha Wagstaff to take to the stage (or blog) and tell us all about herself. Over to you, Sasha.

Sasha Wagstaff A little bit of bio – who are you, where do you come from and where are you based?

My name is Sasha Wagstaff and I’ve lived in Essex all my life, apart from brief stints in Wolverhampton and France.

Who is your favourite author of all time and which book do you wish you had written?

I love Wuthering Heights as a more serious choice, but Jilly Cooper is a writer I have always loved and I really wish I’d written Polo.

Have you a writing routine? Do you write a la Cartland, dictating to a minion whilst lying on a chaise longe sipping champagne? Or, is the reality a garden shed or a corner of the living room?

I always joke to my friends that I reckon they imagine me swanning around in a negligee quaffing champagne, but in reality, I’m usually wearing trackie bottoms and a big jumper, huddled over my lap top. I do now have a rather beautiful new office, however, as we have moved house recently.

 When were you first gripped by the writing bug – was it a gradual realisation or always a burning ambition? Which authors, if any, were influential in fuelling this desire?

I think my writing bug was a gradual one that quickly developed into a burning ambition. The authors I was reading around this time would probably have been Jilly Cooper, Veronica Henry, Marian Keyes.

 When did you make your first serious foray into writing? What did you write? Has your style of writing changed significantly since then? If you could go back, would you do anything differently?

My first serious foray into writing was when I started writing my first novel as I commuted into my banking job in London. It was a chick-lit style novel called ‘Multiple Vodkas’ or something equally ridiculous and luckily, my writing style has totally changed since then. Writing is a craft, after all and it’s easy to assume that anyone can do it but it takes hard work and practise. I wouldn’t do anything differently as I think experiences (even bad ones) shape the way we develop.

We all know the world of traditional publishing can be brutal in its rejection and fragile egos are routinely shattered. Have you ever experienced this? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with it?

I have definitely experienced the rejection – several times over! It made me feel really upset and fragile…My ego took a serious battering and there have been many times when I have been close to giving up. Thankfully, with the help of my lovely husband and a few glasses of red wine to commiserate, I got back myself back on track.

Ebook platforms such as Kindle and Smashwords are playing a major role in changing the face of publishing. Is this a good thing and do you feel that traditional publishers and agents have had it their own way for far too long?

I think ebooks are a great new development and they have certainly changed the face of publishing. I’m not sure if agents and publishers have had it their own way for far too long, but maybe I have been lucky with mine. My agent is fantastic and she works really hard to get my books out there and to develop my writing ideas. My publishers have also been instrumental in making my books stronger…As much as I struggle with the fiddly, time-consuming process of editing, I know my books are better as a result of it.

 Do you feel ebooks will continue to escalate in popularity?

I think they probably will for a while, but who knows if it’s a trend that will last.

 What books have you written? Have you a particular favourite? What/who inspired it?

So far, I have written Changing Grooms, Wicked Games, Heaven Scent and Recipe for Love. My favourite is probably Heaven Scent as it is set in France and it reminds me of childhood holidays. It’s also about the perfume, a particular love of mine. But Recipe for Love has a passionate love story in it and it was great writing about Italian food and Sorrento…as you can see, I loved writing them all!

Do you feel the best is yet to come? What inspires your writing in general?

I do actually. I guess I’m inspired by challenges that people face and how lives are shaped by these kinds of events. Dramatic accidents….Emotive issues such as IVF, adultery. These are actually issues I have touched on previously in my novels but they have taken more of a back seat to the main will they-won’t they aspect of the story and to the ‘theme’ of the novel.

 What are you working on right now?

I’m working on something more serious at the moment, a more issues-focused novel. There’s still humour and warmth and there’s still a love story at the core, but it’s emotional and hopefully, moving.

 What do you like/dislike most about writing?

I love losing myself in the writing and being excited about the story unfolding. I get seriously involved in my characters, as if they are real people and I become deeply entrenched in the new world I‘m creating. I love the flexibility of being an author and the fact that I don’t have to commute to get to my desk. I think I only really dislike it when it’s going badly and I’m having a slow day and maybe when it gets to the nitty gritty of the editing stage.

 Anything you would like to crow about?

Ha! No, not really. I think it’s best to stay grounded and remember how lucky we all are to do a job we love.

 When I was an aspiring author, I longed to know ‘the secrets’ of other authors. What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Did anyone ever share a particularly valuable insight or piece of advice with you and, if so, can you share it with us?

Oh me too….I really wanted to know what other authors did to get a book deal, what secret info they had access to that I didn’t. I was certain there must be a winning formula, but I soon learnt that it doesn’t work that way. I get asked for advice a lot and I am honestly not hoarding any mystical data that will get any aspiring author an agent or a book deal. I will simply say: stay current. Keep reading the books you love and note the trends. That said, don’t write an erotic novel just because Fifty Shades happens to have rocked the world. Tomorrow, it might be something else but it makes sense to just keep an eye on this ever evolving market. Also, keep writing. However hard it is, find time to write and don’t get too bogged down in the detail…Just work  on getting a story formed, one with a beginning, a middle and an end. I was lucky; the lovely Fiona Walker read some of my chapters and she gave me detailed feedback. I also met Adele Parks and she was incredibly encouraging (see my website for full details!) and her support came at a time when I was feeling really low about my writing career.

 So aspiring authors out there – keep going. Don’t focus on all the reasons why it shouldn’t happen for you, focus on all the reasons why it will. Other people have cracked it, so why shouldn’t you?

Sasha, thank you very much for a wonderful interview.

To find out more about Sasha’s most excellent books visit her website on http://www.sashawagstaff.com and visit her author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sasha-Wagstaff/e/B0034P0U1M/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Changing Grooms Cover

 

2 Comments

Filed under Author, Books, chicklit, Ebooks, Fiction, Library, Publishing, romance, Sasha Wagstaff, Uncategorized, Writing