Welcome to my weekly blog series – Author Interviews.
These interviews give me a glimpse into the writing life of an author. They share their book journey, the obstacles they have faced and their motivations. At the end of each interview I ask the big question – what do they wear whilst writing?
This week I am struggling to contain my excitement as one of my romantic comedy author heroines has agreed to sit in my red chair. I read her first book Five Go Glamping and liked it so much I travelled to Birmingham to hear her speak at a book event. She was so funny, charming and inspiring I found myself charging up to the front to talk to her afterwards.
After a gin or tonic or two, I built up the courage to contact her before Christmas to ask whether she would appear on my blog and……she said YES! Dreams can come true readers!
So please welcome Liz Tipping..
Hey Liz, tell my readers about yourself and the books you have written.
I’ve been writing for just a few years now. I came to it quite late aged 36 and decided one day I would like to write a novel! It was as simple as that. To my surprise, my unpublished work was scouted by editors on a website which gave me the motivation to finish and now five years later, I have two books published : Five Go Glamping and Don’t You Forget About Me
When did you write your current book?
I wrote Don’t You Forget About Me during Nanowrimo 2013 and it was a complete novella at 27,000 words. I worked on it for another year transforming it into a full length novel.
Why did you become a writer?
I stared at this question blankly for a good five minutes and found it quite bewildering as I literally have no idea! It’s just something I quite fancied doing and assumed it would be one of those hobbies that’s fizzled out. I never considered I would be published and now I guess I am hooked. I give up writing forever at least three times a week, but it kind of sucks you in and I’m not sure you can ever give up!
What writing issues did you encounter along the way and how did you overcome them?
When writing my first book Five Go Glamping, I got stuck around the 30,000 word mark and kept rewriting. During that time I went to see Mike Gayle talk at the local library and another audience member asked a question about writing novels. Mike said that most people get stuck around the 30,000 word and never get passed it and he said its better to have a dreadful 80,000 word novel than a good 30,000 unfinished one. So when I got home, I started writing and pushed myself over the 30,000 word mark until I had a terrible full length novel which I hope now it has been rewritten a LOT of times and professionally edited , it’s not quite so terrible !
Did you go through any bad writing patches and what kept you going?
Every day! The words don’t come and when they do I think everything I write is terrible. I think the worse thing is that the writing is always there nagging at you whether you want it do it or not which makes it kind of hard to relax. I’m not sure what keeps me going with it or if there is a way of being able to relax. I’m thinking of trying to stick to set times for writing so I’ll try that and let you know if it works!
Are you a plotter or a ‘just write / see what happens?”
With the first book I was a “see what happens” type but it was kind of agonising. The second book I planned chapter by chapter and it came much easier. I’m writing my third book at the moment and I’ve planned it scene by scene but I think I may have over planned as I’m really struggling with it – I think it’s probably better to plan a little bit but leave some wiggle room as I am feeling a bit constricted and also not challenged enough, I’m considering ditching the lot to be honest and starting a completely new novel!
What is the best thing about being a writer?
I love when people “get” my books and they click with the reader and a reader lets me know they laughed out loud on the bus on the way home after a bad day at work. Its lovely knowing something I’ve written has cheered people up.
What is the worst thing about being a writer?
The constant nagging feeling that you *should* be writing.
Have you ever considered quitting?
About three times since I read this question!
What does a typical writing day look like?
A typical writing involves me going to work, then I come home to write, open the laptop, mess about for ages on social media, decide I must do some writing, then I go out and wander round the shops or do all the housework jobs that need doing. Then I don’t do any writing and berate myself for not doing any and give up writing forever.
Once I’ve given up writing forever, that’s when I normally do some work.
How do you manage social media?
I post on social media when I feel I have something to post or something to share. I occasionally try to flog my books but I’m not sure it makes any difference and plus I then have to live with the crippling guilt that I have annoyed everybody and cluttered up their feeds with my spam. So I mainly just post pictures of my dog.
What has been your biggest writing learning?
- Finish the book. Even if you think it’s terrible, it’s probably not.
Do you have any advice for budding authors?
If you need to finish your book, finish your book. If you are looking for an agent, make a list of all the agents you would like to represent you and send out your manuscript to all of them. It’s a numbers game basically and to increase the odds of your book landing on the desk of someone who loves it you have to send it out to as many people as you can.
Do you suffer from writer’s block and if so how do you overcome?
I’ve never had writers block as such when the words don’t come, but I do think everything I write is terrible but you have to push on through that, but they’re probably not too bad.
Did you ever think about your next book whilst writing?
I do and I have loads of ideas for novels all the times. I’ll never have time to write them all.
What do you wear to write?
Whatever I’ve worn to work that day which is officially “smart/business wear” J
How can my readers read your books?
There’s links to both of my books on my blog here https://liztipping.wordpress.com/lizs-books/
Wow Liz, what a fab interview! Thank you so much.
Here’s what I am taking from this interview:
- For days I have been questioning why I write stories, books etc and your answer to the best thing about being a writer question has made me see the light. You are so right – it is about the buzz you get from knowing a reader ‘gets’ your book and enjoys it. I forget about the goofy happy feeling I experience when I see my readers on Wattpad enjoying Roxy Collins or my dodgy vampire romance novel (everyone needs to write one of these readers, if you haven’t written a dodgy vampire romance novel you haven’t lived). Sigh!
- Good advice from Mike Gayle and it is so important to work through the 30k wilderness.
- Its good to hear that someone else suffers from ‘I should be writing’ guilt. Once that nagging inner voice starts it is hard to turn it off.
- I am currently struggling to finish editing a second draft of a romance novel and throughout your interview I kept hearing the words ‘finish the book.’ I think I am going to grit my teeth and carry on.
- I think smart business wear is the new writer fashion trend for 2017.
I am going to be taking a break from Author Interviews so this is sadly the last one in the series for now.
2017 is the year I use all the advice from these interviews and concentrate on writing my books.
I would like to thank all the authors who have participated in this series.
In 2017 I will therefore be posting Sunday, Monday and Thursday.
Have a great day and I hope you have a wonderful time seeing in 2017!