How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written eight full length novels and anthologies and contributed to many multi-author anthologies.
I honestly don’t think I have a favourite. They’ve all meant a lot to me when I wrote them and still do.
My suggestion would be:
1. Avoid creative writing classes. I think they stifle creativity.
2.There’s only one way to learn to write and that is to read. Read every day, as much as you can. Read on the bus, in the bath, while you’re doing the ironing. If you don’t love reading you will never be a writer.
3. Make sure you understand how your language works. Good grammar and spelling is essential. If you don’t care you’ll never be a good writer.
I don’t hear from my readers as often as I'd like. I get reviews, of course, and mostly they say nice things. But maybe people only leave a review if they really like a book. I know I do.
People have said lots of good things but one I find really interesting is that my books are highly visual or that it was like watching a film. I do see the story like a film as I’m writing it and it’s very satisfying to know that my readers see it that way as well.
There has to be a decent plot, of course, and it has to be written in good, fluent English (or whatever language you’re reading it in).
For me, the following things are essential.
I have to love the characters. If they don’t seem real to me or they aren’t very sympathetic, I don’t care about the story.
It really does have to be written properly with good grammar, spelling, etc. I will not read any book where the author didn’t care enough to get the language right, Also it’s distracting. I can’t concentrate if I’m continually brought up short by errors.
The icing on the cake is if the plot is really intriguing. My favourites for this are John Wyndham and Stephen King.
It is a great joy if the author really knows how to write well. Some people have just got it. For brilliant prose, try Kate Atkinson and John Steinbeck.
I was going to be a singing and dancing film star.
Can’t remember. Probably Noddy
That depends how well it’s going. When I’m on a roll it’s very exciting and I bounce about a lot; If it’s hard going it can be tiring but since I no longer have to work to deadlines I can just put it down and do something else these days.
Most of the traps I experienced were to do with what happened after I wrote a book, rather than during the writing process.
Be aware that people will try to change what you wrote because they think they know better than you do how to write YOUR story. Fight them.
Be aware that a lot of publishers expect YOU to pay THEM. Check the small print before you sign anything.
And finally, be aware that nobody is going to promote your book. If you want to sell any books, you have to devote a couple of hours a day on social media, trying to get people to buy them.
I don’t think I have one. I’ve never had writer’s block. There are subjects I won’t write about because they either bore or disgust me. Would that count?
I write for myself about things that interest me and the sort of stuff I like to read. I’m not in it for the money, so I don’t feel any pressure to follow trends. I find it a bit sad that writers who might have had lots of good ideas of their own waste their talent copying other people's ideas.
There’s another point. How on earth do you decide what readers want? You only find that out when somebody’s written something that proves to be really popular. And then you don’t know exactly why. Was Harry Potter a success because it was a new plot idea? Because people like wizards? Because J K Rowlings is a brilliant writer? If it’s the latter, and I suspect it is, no amount of copying her ideas is going to help you.
You could probably write text books.
No, really, if you don’t feel emotions strongly I suspect you don’t enjoy reading, don’t engage with other people, maybe you’re not a real person at all. How could you write things other people would want to read?
The Owl Goddess is a novel based on the von Däniken theory that the gods were spacemen.
It is set in the prehistoric Mesolithic age with the goddess Athena as a young girl and Prometheus, a young cave-dweller, as the main protagonists.
These are the events that mark the arrival of the Atlantis, the doomed starship, bringing new gods who would change the life of the boy and his people forever.
Jenny Twist left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford. She now lives in Spain and is a full-time writer.