When did you start writing?
Born in 1945. I always enjoyed writing at school, which I left in 1962. I first tried to write creatively after this in 1963. The desire doesn't go away. I took creative writing lessons and tried again in 1965.
It was suggested that 'people-like-us' don't do things like that. Not exactly encouraging. I started my own business in 1967, married in 1970. Work...house...children ...life even, got in the way until 1989.
I got to 65,000 words of a novel that year, until it was 'suggested' I might like to work and earn some money. Two daughters still at school. I abandoned the unfinished novel.
Then when I was almost retired by 2006/7 I took a 1 week's residential course called "How to Write a Novel" ,so I did. I wrote The Gardening Club . I paid a very experienced editor, which took quite a long time, but she was so worth it. I tried a few literary agents to no avail but impatience made me self-publish it. I'm happy I did. It existed and sales have trickled from Amazon since 2009. I wrote another between going back to work part time but wasn't happy with it. Still the desire never goes away.
An ordinary conversation, but unrelated, with a friend triggered the idea for The Tyranny of Friendship. My previous editor read it and liked it but she unfortunately died, untimely, before starting work on it. (RIP Linden Stafford ) It was edited professionally by another. I searched many thousands of photos and vectors for a front page cover. I changed the title several times but eventually just before Coronavirus Lockdown in U.K, it was self-published and available in February 2020 . Perfectly the wrong time I guess. But It exists ! The books are best things in my life .( Apart from family of course)
I wish I hadn't kept postponing though.
What do you love about writing?
I just love the whole process. I particularly enjoy being immersed in a story, very selfish maybe, but going to bed thinking about it, waking thinking about it, in the shower! Creating the 'new.'
Just the fact that my novels exist gives me so much pride and satisfaction. ( after daughters and grandchildren of course)
Any Books currently in the works?
I'm writing a new novel. I am also trying to revive and improve the one I abandoned. I might even try to revive the 1989 attempt. I still have ideas.
What advice would you give to someone who is retired, has never written a book, and wants to get started?
Start today, not tomorrow. It is such an enjoyable and satisfying feeling to see something you created. Write, write and write, it can always be successfully edited afterwards.
An old saying I know that applies : 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Another old saying I know: Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today ...if you enjoy it today you can do it again tomorrow!
And don't leave it late like I did!
How about advice for an author who gets to the middle of their book and gets stuck. How do you keep going forward? Beat writer's block?
I go for a walk to think away from the screen. Sometimes a long walk I admit, but more often I only get to the door. Another that works for me is to go to sleep thinking about where to go? What next? What's the problem?
Often I wake with a clear idea. The subconscious I suppose. I have a good old fashioned pen and note book on my bedside table too. I guess these methods say "relax" and the answer will come.
I have been self-employed all my life and learned that only work ...works.