1) What are your top five writing tips?
- a) Writer’s block (and see question 3): if you come to a stop in your novel and can’t see a way forward, then employ lateral thinking and walk around that big rock, or tunnel underneath it, or do a sharp right turn and go somewhere else. But keep going: presumably you were burning to say something when you first started the novel, so recapture that enthusiasm and then move on.
- b) Get on with it: telling everyone you are writing a novel, or writing and rewriting the first few chapters of the same novel for years, doesn’t count. Writers write, it’s part of the job description. Finish your novel, polish it as brightly as you can, then send it out to agents or editors to see what reaction you get.
- c) Or, if you want to skip that and go straight to self-publishing, then get a good independent editor to go through it and seriously consider their advice on revisions.
- d) If you’ve never written anything at all and have no idea where to start, then read Natalie Goldberg’s book called Writing Down the Bones, who will speedily unblock the U-bend of your creativity.
- e) Every writer should read Stephen King’s book called On Writing.
2) Do you have a special place where you write?
I have vision problems and am most comfortable writing in my office – which is actually just the dining room end of my living room – where my desktop is adjusted for maximum ease of working. When I moved to this house a couple of years ago I earmarked the long room at the back, overlooking the garden, as my office. Until I’d unpacked, I worked in the dining room…and then I discovered I liked working there best. My son, who moved and set up my office three times, said he wished I’d decided that before he lugged everything to the other end of the house and back…
3) Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
It’s an expensive luxury I’ve never been able to afford – when I broke into the bestseller charts I was freshly divorced with little income, a son, a mortgage and a lot of bills to pay. I literally wrote my way out of poverty.
4) Do bestselling authors have writing confidence issues, too?
Of course! Find me an author who’s been published for years but who doesn’t feel that each book is terrible when they have just finished it. Off it goes and you worry till the edits come back…then while you’re working through it again after a break, you see that it’s the way you wanted it to be, after all. Because you’ve performed the magic and pulled the rabbit out of the hat many times before, it doesn’t mean the trick will work the next time: and with each bestseller, the weight of reader expectation grows. It keeps you on your toes, because it would be so terrible to disappoint anyone.
Trisha was born in St Helens, Lancashire, and gave up her fascinating but time consuming hobbies of house-moving and divorce a few years ago in order to settle in North Wales. She is a Sunday Times bestselling author.
Follow her on twitter @trishaasheley
Buy her latest novel Creature Comforts HERE