- Guest Author -
Today, I introduce an author from the United Kingdom.
Welcome, Jilly ...
1 Tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey.
I’ve always loved reading and a few years ago joined a writing group. However I just couldn’t find the time to write, I was running my own business at the time and doing the paperwork for my husband’s business.
That and two kids made finding time difficult.
2 When and how did you become a writer?
I was very ill in 2013 and couldn’t do the things I normally did, ie. bowling, gardening, riding horses and walking. Reading was even tiring, and then this story seeped into my brain and I couldn’t get rid of it so I started to write it down. I called it Scerior. 632 pages later I looked at the pile of paper and thought `what am I going to do with that?` I didn’t type, wasn’t into computers so I taught myself how to do both. While I was doing this another story idea awoke in my head Kate/Katherine. So when I wasn’t typing I was scribbling K/K down. When I’d got my manuscript typed I sent it off to publishers and agents, and I have to admit that I got some great turndowns, it was these that kept me trying. Then I received an email from HOE Andrews UK with a contract enclosed. I researched them and decided to go ahead, and it was then the really hard work started because I have to admit my manuscript was dreadful, full of typos etc. When It was perfect they published it and it came out in 2014.
3 What type of preparation do you do for a manuscript? Do you plan everything or just shoot from the hip?
The idea usually starts to worm itself into my brain as I’m finishing the previous book. I think about it for a while I’m doing mundane things then I just start scribbling. I still write in longhand, it’s faster than my typing! Then when I’ve got between 10 and 20 pages I transfer it to the computer, editing as I go. At the end of that session I edit it again, then move on.
4 What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
Seeing my ideas take form.
5 What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Finding the time.
6 What were you in a past life, before you became a writer?
I’ve done many things. Worked with horses, in a restaurant, business owner, old cottage renovator and wife and mother.
7 What is your greatest writing achievement?
I haven’t got there yet!
8 What are you working on at the moment?
A book called Broken but Restored, which is three quarters finished.
9 What inspires you?
Everything and anything.
10 What genre do you write?
Most of my books are cross genre, except for Kate/Katherine which is erotica. But even in that there are many different themes from polo, self defence, business and romance. All my books are love stories with a mix of adventure thrown in. I write about strong feisty women, and strong men.
11 Do you have any tips for new writers?
Keep on trying. Don’t be dispirited when you get rejection letters. If your book is good someone will pick it up eventually. If it isn’t make it better, ask people for their thoughts on it and don’t think that you are a genius!
12 Do you suffer from writer’s block?
13 Do you have a preferred writing schedule?
No, apart from trying to write on Saturdays.
14 Do you have a favourite writing place?
Yes, in my sun lounge overlooking the moor.
15 What is your greatest joy in writing?
Holding a paperback of my book.
16 Who is your favourite author and why?
I have such a diversity of taste it’s hard to say. I like everyone from Lee Childs to Stephanie Lauren. At college one time the tutor asked that question and I answered as above, and he said `well surely you wouldn’t read a Barbara Cartland?` and I said why not if I had an hour to spare He pooh poohed her until I asked how many books he’d had published.That shut him up and I dropped out of that class. I have found that you can learn from even badly written books, how not to do it, for example.
17 What’s the greatest compliment you ever received from a reader?
I couldn’t put it down. When’s your next one out?
18 What’s your worst comment from a reader?
Dreadful book, badly written. Then I looked at the reviews she’d given other authors and she didn’t appear to like most.
19 Writers are sometimes influenced by things in their own lives. Are you?
Not for my characters, but for background and detail. It’s always best to write about what you know. I quite often have horses in my books, they’re such great background and I know about them.
20 Other than writing, what else do you love?
Reading, walking, gardening going out for meals and up cycling things.
21 Did you have your book/books professionally edited before publication?
Obviously by the publisher, however they now have so little to do as I’ve learnt very quickly.
22 Describe your perfect day.
Walking along the beach or across the moor, then stopping for a meal.
23 If you were stuck on a desert island with one person, who would it be? Why?
My husband, because he’d look after me and I’d look after him.
24 What would you say if you had the chance to speak to world leaders?
I’m sorry but I couldn’t be bothered to say anything.
25 What are your plans for the future?
Write 200 books before I die.
26 What are your views on book trailers? Do they sell books?
I suppose they do, to people who are led by the hype.
27 Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
28 Does the publishing industry frustrate you?
Not now, but at the beginning I described it as `swimming through a pool of sharks`.
29 Did you ever think of quitting?
30 What was your favourite manuscript to write? Why?
Always the one I’m writing at the moment, but I do have a soft spot for my first.
31 How would you define `success` as a writer?
I think this means something different to everyone. I’m happy that I’m published.
32 What should readers walk away from your books knowing? How should they feel?
There are many little things in all my books that I’ve learned about over the years. Entertained and wanting more.
33 Would you like to have your books made into movies? Ever written a screenplay?
Of course, Scerior 1 & 2 would make great movies and so would Goldhill’s Treasure. No I’ve never written a screenplay.
34 How much thought goes into designing a book cover?
I lay out my idea to suit the story but my publishers do the design then send it to me to ok it. Sometimes they have to tweak it, but with Kate/Katherine they hit it first time.
35 What’s your ultimate dream?
To hit the bestsellers list.
36 Writing is one thing. What about marketing you, your books and your brand?
I’ve always been in marketing but I hate promoting myself. It’s easier if you’re one step removed.
37 Are your books self-published?
No, I would never go down that road. I’m of the opinion that if a publisher doesn’t want it, it’s not good enough to publish. I’m afraid I’m not deluded enough to do that.
38 Describe yourself in five words.
I won’t be beaten.
39 What pisses you off most?
People who are `up themselves.
40 What is the title of the last book you read? Good one.
I’m reading a Norah Roberts at the moment The Next Always, it holds my attention. Before that I read a Karin Slaughter, Fractured. I’m becoming less keen on detective stories as I’ve read so many. I love fantasy books as they are unpredictable.
41 What would be the very last sentence you’d write?
The end, goodbye.
42 What would make you happier than you are now?
To get my health back.
43 Anything you’d like to add?
Writing is great as long as you don’t take yourself too seriously. If you do you’re opening yourself up to stress and unhappiness.
Clancy's comment: Thank you, Jilly. However, your reply to question 37 is very contentious. You obviously are not aware that many famous authors have left mainstream publishers and self-published. Why? They wanted a fair payment for their work, and they wanted more control. But, everyone has a right to their opinions. Good luck!