Jacqui Lofthouse interviews authors and editors about the process of writing and publication:
To celebrate the publication of my comic novel ‘How To Be A Literary Genius’ (“a comedy for anyone who ever faced the blank page and survived it” – see right), I have now released more material previously for paying members only. These audio interviews with authors including Louise Doughty, John Harding, Emma Darwin and Louise Voss are now freely available to all to download here. I do hope that you enjoy this material. If you do, please spread the word and share with your friends via Facebook and Twitter. There’s plenty here to inspire you to write and to help you hone your skills. I hope these interviews remind you to believe in your own voice and I’m certain you will find much here to encourage you to complete your writing projects, as well as useful advice on finding an agent and a publisher. I really enjoyed conducting these interviews and learned so much personally from talking with the authors.
I look forward to hearing your success stories and do hope that you enjoy the interviews. They are permanently available on the site via the Archives tab above.
Louise Doughty is the author of seven novels, including Apple Tree Yard, published by Faber & Faber UK. So far, rights have sold in fourteen territories worldwide. Apple Tree Yard is her first novel since Whatever You Love, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has won awards for radio drama and short stories, along with publishing one work of non- fiction, A Novel in a Year, based on her hugely popular newspaper column. She is a critic and cultural commentator for UK and international newspapers and broadcasts regularly for the BBC.
This interview was recorded before the publication of ‘Apple Tree Yard’.
Emma Darwin’s debut novel The Mathematics of Love was published in 2006. The Times described it as: “that rare thing, a book that works on every conceivable level. A real achievement.” The book was shortlisted and longlist for several prizes including the Commonwealth Writers Best First Book. Emma’s bestselling second novel, A Secret Alchemy, was published in 2008; The Daily Mail acclaimed it as “powerful and utterly convincing”, and The Times as one of their 50 Best Paperbacks of 2009. Emma is an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing with the Open University and has a PhD in Creative Writing, in which she explored the writing of historical fiction. Emma writes an outstanding blog for writers at This Itch of Writing.
You can download our interview with Emma here: Emma Darwin interview
John Harding is one of Britain’s most versatile contemporary novelists. He is the author of four novels, all very different from one another. He was born in and grew up in a small Fenland village in the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire. He was educated at the village school and local grammar school and read English at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. Apart from a short period working on newspapers and magazines as a reporter and editor, he has been a freelance writer and novelist all his working life.His first novel, What We Did On Our Holiday (2000) was short-listed for the W H Smith New Talent award and became a bestseller. It was made into a two-hour TV film by Granada in 2006. John Harding’s second novel was the critically acclaimed While the Sun Shines(2002). One Big Damn Puzzler (2005), another huge critical success, brought his first U.S. publication. His latest novel is Florence and Giles (2010) a gripping, gothic literary thriller inspired by the Henry James classic The Turn of the Screw. It has already been a top twenty bestseller in Brazil, and in Italy, where it stayed in the chart for 16 weeks. John has also taught creative writing to aspiring novelists and does mentoring work through The Writing CoachDownload the interview with John here: Interview with John Harding
Louise started writing as a hobby while living and working in the music business in New York in 1995. After a few years of rejections, her first book was bought at auction by Transworld/Black Swan. To Be Someone was published in 2000, the first novel to come with its own CD soundtrack (on Virgin Records). Three more novels followed, as well as two co-written thrillers with Mark Edwards. The first of these, Killing Cupid, was optioned by the BBC for a two-part drama and is about to optioned again by a BAFTA-winning producer for a feature film. Killing Cupid has recently been published on Amazon Kindle, shortly to be followed by Catch Your Death. You can buy Louise’s books on Amazon Kindle here:
Louise’s story is here: The Rise of the Indie Author and in the Evening Standard of 3rd August here: Evening Standard article on Louise Voss and Mark Edward’s rise to success.
Download Jacqui’s interview with Louise Voss here: Interview with Louise Voss
Author Kate Harrison shares her thoughts on professionalism, productivity and planning a novel including some very useful precise tips on how she plans individual chapters and overall structure. You can find out more about Kate on her websites:
Download the fascinating and very useful interview with Kate here: Interview with Kate Harrison_Completion_Club
Matt Dunn is the author of six novels. He writes:
“I was born in Margate, but escaped to London and then Málaga (which is in Spain, for those of you who didn’t pay attention in geography class), where I worked as a newspaper columnist – and played a lot of tennis – while writing my first novel (although not at the same time, obviously). I now live back in London, but spend a lot of time in Spain, where I’m writing my sixth novel and still playing a lot of tennis (again, not at the same time).
Previously I’ve worked as a professional lifeguard, fitness-equipment salesman, and lastly an I.T. headhunter, where my success in re-writing other peoples’ CVs made me think I might have a talent for fiction.
My second novel, The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Of The Year Award, as well as the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. And while it didn’t win either of them, I was still pretty chuffed to be nominated.
And (if you’re interested) I’ve also written about life, love, and relationships for the Times, Guardian, The Sun, and a number of magazines, including Company, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, and Scarlet (phew!)”
You can find out more about Matt Dunn’s work here: http://www.mattdunn.co.uk/
Download Jacqui’s interview with Matt Dunn here: Interview with Matt Dunn
Jane Bailey Bain:
Jane Bailey Bain is a writer and life coach. She was born in the USA and grew up in Geneva. She studied Psychology at Oxford University and Anthropology at the London School of Economics. Jane has lived and travelled extensively around the world. She is interested in stories, and the ways we use them to make sense of our lives. She currently runs workshops and courses on Mythology in West London.
‘LifeWorks’ is a practical handbook which combines insights from psychology and anthropology. Stories and exercises help you to identify relationship patterns and life themes. These tools can also be used by writers for character development and plot analysis.
More information about Jane’s book ‘LifeWorks’ is on her website: http://janebaileybain.wordpress.com/books/
You can download the interview with Jane Bailey Bain here: Interview with Jane Bailey Bain
Helen Oakwater is a former member of The Completion Club whose book ‘Bubble Wrapped Children” achieved front page coverage in The Times newspaper on its publication.
Helen is a Coach, Trainer and Communicator with a particular interest in the impact of trauma on children and adults.
Since becoming an adoptive parent in the early 1990s, Helen has worn many hats in the adoption world including 6 years as a Trustee of Adoption UK (2005 till March 2011), membership of two Local Authority Adoption Panels for over 8 years and the Government Adoption Task Force for 4 years
Her published articles have been well received in the adoption world, while her recent workshop “Trauma Triggered Behaviour in Looked After and Adopted Children” have generated considerable interest and are being delivered throughout the UK.
You can find out more about Helen and her book on the Bubble Wrapped Children website here.
You can download the interview with Helen here: Interview with Helen Oakwater
Laura Wilkinson is the author of ‘BloodMining’ recently published by Bridge House . She began the novel using my ebook ‘Get Black on White’. Laura’s short stories have been published online, in magazines and in an anthology. She has been a finalist and shortlisted in a number of competitions including: the New Writer,Cinnamon Press, the Virginia Prize andBrit Writers’ Award 2010.
Before fiction, Laura wrote content for the web, magazines, anthologies, newspapers and newsletters, including news, features and reviews. She was a founding member and editor of Virago supported project hagsharlotsheroines.com. Laura’s own website is here: http://laura-wilkinson.co.uk and you can find Bloodmining on Amazon here: BloodMining
In this interview, Laura speaks to me about her decision to set part of her novel in the future and the challenges that created for her, about the interaction between our personal lives and our fiction, about research (on reproductive technology in this case) and how it contributed to the novel and her journey to publication.
You can download the interview here: Laura Wilkinson interview (#1)
Sara Starbuck began her publishing career in the sales department of Hodder & Stoughton before moving into editorial where she was assistant to the editorial director, and a commissioning editor of popular fiction. In 2001, she joined literary agency Gillon Aitken and in 2003 moved to PFD where she worked for the TV department and as a reader and editor of unsolicited manuscripts. In 2007 she left along with the other founders of United Agents, where she worked for a further two years as a spoken word agent and vetted submissions for children’s department. Sara’s non-fiction memoir Breakfast Epiphanies was published in 2004, and her children’s novels featuring The Dread Pirate Fleur; The Ruby Heart and The Hangman’s Nooseare with Random House. Sara is also an editor at Hothouse Fiction and The Writing Coach.
Download the interview with Sara Starbuck here: Interview with Sara_Starbuck
Originally trained as a linguist, Linda Buckley-Archer lectured in French for some years before becoming a full-time author and scriptwriter. She has written original drama for both BBC Radio (most recently, Pearls in the Tate) and TV (One Night in White Satin) but is best known for The Gideon Trilogy of novels which she started out as writing as a Radio drama, but realized, once she read it aloud to her children and they refused to let her stop for supper, what potential the script had as a novel. Gideon the Cutpurse gained wide publicity through its excellent depiction of 18th Century Britain.
Her website is: http://www.gideonthecutpurse.net
You can download the interview with Linda here: Interview_Linda_Buckley-Archer
Robert Irwin is a publisher and writer of both fiction and non-fiction. His works of non-fiction include The Arabian Nights: A Companion (1994), Islamic Art (1997), Night and Horses and the Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature (1999), The Alhambra (2004) and For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies (2006). This year he will publish four further books.
In our interview, we focus on his new memoir ‘Memoirs of a Dervish’ and his experience of writing memoir. We also discuss his experience of setting up a publishing company, Dedalus.
Download the interview with Robert here: Interview with Robert Irwin
Stephanie is founding director of blackbirdebooks and the cleaning guru for the Guardian weekend magazine. She has also published 3 novels: Baby on Board (Piatkus, 2003), Keeping Mum (Piatkus, 2004) and more recently, since this interview ’10 Good Reasons to Lie about your Age’.
“Before becoming a writer and journalist I was a production co-ordinator and researcher on BBC arts documentaries. I worked with many leading artists of the day, including personal heroes Jean-Luc Godard, John Cage, Derek Jarman, Frank Zappa and David Hockney. I was on the road non-stop, taking in, amongst other places, the big island of Hawaii, China, Australia, the Amazon, the Pacific islands of Micronesia, the highlands of Papua New Guinea and, most frightening of all, the dark heart of Mobutu’s Zaire, now the Congo. My unique, bizarre experiences ranged from standing in for Diana Dors on the Russell Harty Show to hearing a spirited rendering of ‘My Way’, sung by Frank Sinatra at his own 77th birthday party in Las Vegas.
In 2003 I began working as a freelance text editor for Hamlyn and, soon after, received a commission to write my first book about stains. Following its successful publication I started writing for The Guardian. My new book, Done & Dusted, The Organic Home on a Budget, began as a compilation of my Guardian columns but kept on growing. In it I combine my cleaning expertise with my budgeting skills and an ongoing interest in the environment. It’s a practical cleaning and lifestyle guide full of moneysaving tips to help you reduce your toxic chemical footprint on your body, your home and the planet. Meantime, I haven’t quite given up on the fiction. My blog, Confessions of an Author, documents my ongoing struggle to get my third novel published: www.fessingauthor.blogspot.com.”
Useful links related to this interview:
Download the interview with Stephanie here: Interview with Stephanie Zia
Kate Lyall-Grant has worked in mainstream trade publishing for over twenty years, for the past fifteen as a senior commissioning editor for Hodder & Stoughton and, most recently, Simon & Schuster, specialising in crime, thrillers and commercial women’s fiction. Bestselling authors she has acquired and edited include Chris Manby, Matt Dunn, Terence Strong, Karen Quinn (The Ivy Chronicles), Chris Carter (The Crucifix Killer) and Nicola Kraus & Emma McLaughlin (The Nanny Diaries). She now divides her time between freelancing as an editorial consultant for Severn House Publishers and working with unpublished authors to lick their scripts into shape before approaching literary agents.
Download the interview with Kate here: Interview with Kate Lyall-Grant
Sandra Rigby is Senior Commissioning Editor at Duncan Baird Publishers, London, responsible for commissioning both illustrated and non-illustrated books for the Duncan Baird and Watkins lists in the areas of mind, body and spirit and self-help. Her special areas of interest are spiritual development, popular psychology, natural history, narrative non-fiction and fiction with a spiritual focus. She is also responsible for structural editing of manuscripts and briefing out-of-house freelance editors and designers. In the past she has worked as Head of Commissioning for Octopus Publishing Group, responsible for the publishing strategy and profitability of the Godsfield and Gaia lists, commissioning approximately 20 titles a year, both illustrated and non-illustrated covering a wide range of subject areas including complementary health, spirituality, sustainable living, popular psychology and current affairs. She also undertook ghost-writing and structural editing to ensure titles were accessible and engaging for the general reader and worked closely with design team to develop innovative and attractive packaging and presentation.
Her highlights at Octopus included the ongoing international success of the Godsfield Bible series, with over 3 million copies sold worldwide, the continued success of The Crystal Bible, which remains in the top 10 UK MBS titles year on year and the successful launch of the Gaia Thinking topical issues series with excellent reviews and support from leading Greens including Zac Goldsmith.
Sandra has also worked as Commissioning Editor at Constable and Robinson Publishers and Piatkus books and as Managing Editor at Carroll and Brown publishers. In the early nineties, she was Managing Editor at HarperCollins Publishers, Sydney where she supervised three in-house editors as well as freelance editorial staff to produce over 70 titles a year, with overall responsibility for production schedules and budgets. Titles included mass-market fiction and non-fiction as well as literary fiction and non fiction. Her highlights included working with leading Australian writers including Andrew Reimer and Robert Dessaix and representing the company at book launches, award ceremonies and literature festivals.
Download the interview with Sandra here: Interview with Sandra Rigby – Duncan Baird Publishing
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