Welcome to my weekly series – Author Interviews.
This series is where I interview authors and find out about the person behind the novel. I also glean some valuable insight on being a writer, motivation and writing best practices.
I am very excited as author Anita Dawes has agreed to sit in my chair today!
Hello Anita, welcome to my red chair. Tell me about yourself and the books you have written?
I seem to have written a lot books, there are five currently on Amazon and one in the pipeline, but several have been lost over the years due to technical malfunctions and situations beyond my control. Like some of my favourite authors, I tend to write in several genres and don’t really have a favourite. I would love to write something deep and meaningful, something that would change my world, but it hasn’t happened yet.
When did you write your first book?
I wrote my first book, Bad Moon in 1991, during a time of extreme stress in my life. I needed something to occupy my mind and found myself picking up a pencil.
How long did it take to write your first book?
It didn’t seem to take long at all. I discovered a passion I didn’t know I had and Bad Moon was finished in no time.
What was your motivation to write Bad Moon?
I never thought about this before, but I must be one of those natural writers, for it has never presented any problems for me. I love to write, even on those days when I decide to bin a story because it doesn’t work. I know the next one will probably be better.
What writing issues did you encounter along the way and how did you overcome them?
People often ask me how I write, whether I use a storyboard to keep track of things, but the truth is I have never needed to do this. My sister, Jaye Marie has to work this way, but every detail stays in my head. Now that I am so much older, it occurs to me that my memory might start to let me down, but fingers crossed, so far it hasn’t.
I have one major issue, I refuse to go anywhere near a computer. I know that if I did, I would probably smash it to bits! Computers are evil things and not conducive to the art of writing. I write on paper, it feels more natural, and leave all the transcribing, editing and formatting to my sister, who has the patience of a saint.
Did you go through any bad writing patches during writing your books-what kept you going?
Luckily, I don’t have bad writing patches. I do have times of ‘procrastination’, or thinking time, as I prefer to call it.
Are you a plotter or do you just write and see what happens?
Over the years, I have discovered much to my amusement that I am not really a writer at all, not in the usual sense of the word. The writing only happens when the voices in my head demand it. The days when they remain quiet, I read. No argument from me there.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
I love to write. I love to read too and think these things are synonymous – you can’t really have one without the other.
What is the worst thing about being a writer?
In the 25 years I have been writing, I can honestly say there haven’t been any bad bits. Plenty of these in my life, but never in my writing.
Have you ever considered quitting writing and if so how have you worked through this?
I have lost count of the number of times I have wanted to quit. Every time life throws me a curve ball, it’s all I can do to try and dodge it and writing is the last thing I want to do. A certain amount of peace is required, I find. But I am still here, pencil in hand!
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
Sorry, but I don’t do ‘typical’. Normal is a word you would never use about me. Crazy or mad fits me better, for sometimes I just write snippets during the day, then stay up all night writing, just to keep the flow going.
Do you suffer from procrastination and if so how do you handle it?
As I mentioned before, I don’t do procrastination in the normal sense. I prefer to say I think a lot.
Which is more important – plot or characters and why?
You must have both characters and plot; they don’t really exist without each other, do they?
What have been your three biggest learnings during your writing career?
- That you have to wait until the story comes to you.
- The characters write the book, not you.
- You need far more patience than you will ever have.
How do you manage social media as a writer?
Now, this is where I am the luckiest woman on the planet. Apart from chatting to friends or topics I want to talk about, or ideas for blog posts, I do very little in the way of routine marketing and promotion. Jaye has all the bases covered, which is just as well, for it all sounds insane to me.
Do you have any tips or advice for budding aspiring authors?
The only important advice I would give to authors starting out, would be to keep it real. Don’t copy or imitate anything. Find what works for you, both in your writing and your life.
Do you suffer from writer’s block and if so how do you overcome?
Whenever I am feeling under the weather, there seems to be some kind of block, but that’s probably a good thing. It never lasts long anyway.
Do you ever think of the next book whilst writing?
Always. I try not to, but very often, there’s a great idea waiting in the wings, waving its arms about like a crazy person. Oops, that would be me!
What do you wear to write?
This question amused me, as it is something I have never thought about. Whatever I happen to be wearing at the time I suppose, unless I’m writing in bed (it does happen) then, like Marilyn Monroe, all I am wearing is a smile and Chanel no.5…
Yay! Love this interview Anita!
So many things to take from this.
- I love the way you write on paper and your answer has made me consider scribbling.
- I love how you say characters write the book. The more I focus on my characters the more I believe this to be true.
- You sound happy and contented with your writing which is great.
- I love the Marilyn Monroe approach to writing outfits 🙂
If you want to find out some more about Anita please click here
Next week Rachael Ritchey will be sat in my chair.