- GUEST AUTHOR -
Today, I interview an author from Swansea in the UK.
Welcome, Georgina ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I’m pretty much an average woman approaching forty, reluctantly. A single mother these days but happily so, and very content with the work that I do, even if I try to ensure that my real identity is kept somewhat quiet. From wannabe writer at school to actual writer at thirty was a stop-start journey but now I find myself writing full time – my own books and short stories, all unique, for a fantastic little venture, Once Upon a Lifetime.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I started scribbling ideas for stories when I was still in my teens but it was a decade later before I tried my hand at putting together a ‘proper’ tale. I was persuaded to show it to a friend’s friend – an older guy who was something of a professional – and to my shock he seemed to think it was good. I wasn’t quite thirty then and didn’t think too much of it, but the little spark inside me had begun to flare a little, and when that older guy gave me some ‘exercises’ I started to pen the occasional story and found myself drawn to slightly naughty romances. I eventually agreed to post a couple on a rather ‘adult’ website and received some more shocks when the feedback started rolling in very positively. From there it progressed into areas outside of my comfort zone in some ways, and into areas that I had no direct experience in – all great exercises, my mentor told me.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I have a burgeoning ideas list and I tend to see if any of the single line thoughts turn into much more detailed story concepts. If they do, I start little files of their own and pen some vague storyboards. If everything still looks possible and plausible, I tend to just sit and write and see where I’m taken.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
When I write I can be anyone, living out fantasies and never normally knowing what will happen next. It’s the sort of freedom I can’t imagine experiencing in any other walk of life, plus I can do what I want, when I want – publisher deadlines excepted!
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Deadlines from publishers (broad smile here) plus having a ‘great’ idea when I’m too far away from a keyboard to get it written down – and subsequently forgetting what it was. In truth, though, the positives outweigh the negatives by about one thousand to one.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I used to be a moderately ‘okay’ office manager – although how the hell I stood the boredom I’ll never know. Bills had to be paid, I guess.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
That’s a tie between my novel Dallas Does Debbie sales become three figured, and being approached to join a new publisher (Regency Rainbow).
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I have two novels on the go – Nuts to Newton – and one that’s provisionally titled Sue’s story. The latter is exciting me most in some ways because it’s more mainstream quirky romance than my normal stuff.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Ooh, hard one. It sounds a bit twee, I guess, but probably it comes from the reactions of readers – any great feedback makes me want to entertain more, and any negatives make me want to improve my writing.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Currently it is adult fiction, erotica of a sort – but with decent grammar and ‘proper’ storylines. I’m moving more to mainstream romance this year, though. As for the future, I’m not really sure just yet.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
The very simple ‘just do it’ is a good starting point, but in truth ‘just finish it’ is probably more useful at the beginning.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Fortunately, not total block. I always have a couple of novel-length books on the go and lots of ideas for shorter stories. If I dry up on one of the novels and the other isn’t progressing, I’ll turn to the ideas list and just pick one and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
Anytime at all, but it’s always easier when the house is quiet. Lately I’ve done a lot of my personal writing in the mornings, and during the night-owl witching hours.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
I have my trusty desk in ‘my’ room at the front of the house. I’ll also use my laptop (computer, please note!) in the living room some evenings.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
When I read a story back and believe the character’s actions and thoughts – when it becomes ‘real’.
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Terry Pratchett beyond a shadow of doubt. Such craft and so many wonderful ideas and fantastic turns of phrase.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
Probably censored! Seriously, though, I have one pinned to the wall near my desk – “Thanks Georgie, you made me think differently about a few things and I’ve tried relaxing and doing things a bit differently too. It’s safe to say you and you alone have saved my marriage”
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
“You must be so f**king ugly!” or “You don’t understand how the langage [sic] works”
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
I’ve become a people watcher and the answer is definitely yes.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
My son, naturally, plus my garden, reading, the kitchen, a good restaurant – all sorts. Life is fun.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
I have done for the last few, and the new publisher insists on it (thankfully!)
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Waking up to sunlight and the promise of coffee to come. Breakfast and then a successful, easy writing session. An hour or two in the garden, a happy son returning from school, a nice dinner, an hour or two in front of the television, then some peace and some new writing ideas.
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Alan Turing – to hear his thoughts on how computing should have developed, how his life of persecution was mitigated a little, how we could design a boat together!
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Stop thinking about number one, for once. Listen to the people but listen most carefully to the smart ones. Loosen some of the rules and tighten others and most of all, forget that we have old borders and that we’re not all perfectly equal at heart.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
More writing, of course, and with a focus on new ideas and new genres. Getting the house to myself and changing the way I live day-to-day accordingly. Maybe growing old gracefully but never, ever losing my sense of adventure.
26. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
To a degree, yes – trailers that are well-targeted can have great value, and becoming known and developing your own platform can integrate well with them.
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
My characters tend to think a lot and in those self-arguments there’s definitely some of me – even if it’s the part of the character playing who is playing Devil’s advocate. Generally speaking, though, I’d never have the nerve to do what a lot of my characters get up to – perhaps you’re seeing some of my fantasies…
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Not any longer, but if I stop and think about it, yes it does. I genuinely don’t see why some writers get major deals from publishers when they can barely write a legible sentence. I’ve been lucky with Regency Rainbow and they don’t seem to be like the majority of the industry.
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
No. Easy answer and a very true one.
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
Dallas Does Debbie on one hand – it was a story outside my experience and it almost wrote itself in many ways. Addicted to Love was compulsive in another way because it was a story about ‘what ifs’ – and could happen to pretty much any woman.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
In order, positive feedback and positive sales, having your name recognized. Overlaying it all, I believe, is a feeling of contentment with something you have written.
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
They should know that the mind is a wonderful place to explore, and they should feel excited – excited about what, well that’s down to the individual.
33. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
Although they’d be adult-only ratings, I really would be happy on one level but maybe sad on another – most of my stories never describe the leads in any great details because that’s for the reader’s mind to conjure and the big screen might take that away.
34. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
Thanks to my new publisher I just choose which designs I like best and the woman behind the designs is brilliant (www.mariaspada.com).
35. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
I could be glib and say to outsell JKR but to be honest, to raise my son well, live comfortably and carry on writing and writing and writing.
36. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
None printable! I’m very secretive about my real identity so marketing is not straightforward and for all I love writing, marketing blurbs always seem like boasting or bragging and (believe it or not) that’s not my thing. Now that it’s pretty much all done by the new publisher I’m much happier, but very conscious to maintain the ‘brand image’ – the reclusive Georgie H with the million stories to tell, behind closed doors…
37. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
My first few were but I have Regency Rainbow now – very broad-minded, thankfully. I’m not ruling out self-publishing a short story or three in the future if they somehow go against the brand image, though.
38. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Realistic raconteur with endless imagination
39. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Bigotry of any form and at any scale.
40. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
The Academy by Faith Lee (FD Lee) – touches of Pratchett-esque brilliance and a damned fine story, full of great, well-rounded characters.
41. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
“She lay back and closed her eyes, a smile fluttering around her lips – she was happy at last, so very happy.”
42. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
I really do not know for sure. More sales, more contacts, more ideas, more money… always more on that side, but on the other hand, fewer boundaries, less bigotry, the removal of so many safety nets and prejudices.
43. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
What can I add? Mostly, I guess, what I want people to know is they haven’t already read some of my stuff is that I might well write about very adult themes but I try hard to write well, to observe the rules of language, so ensure that there’s a real plot, real characters, real situations, challenges and conflicting views. I like to think that I write to entertain on many levels – not just the obvious one.
My current audience seems to be a fairly equal split between the genders – to judge by feedback – and that suits me just fine. I aim to please everyone, and I have no bias – we all deserve some fantastical fun and to indulge ourselves in other lives from time to time. And what I want the most is for people to lose themselves in my stories, and perhaps to find something new within themselves by doing so.
Clancy's comment: Nice shot of your back, Georgina. I've been a people-watcher for decades, and it makes for great photography.