Lauren Westwood is the author of Finding Home and I’m pleased to be welcoming her to Novel Kicks. Hi Lauren, thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me about your debut novel, Finding Home and how the idea originated?
Thank you for having me and Finding Home on your blog today!
The idea for the novel started over six years ago when my partner and I were looking to move out of London when our daughter was born. We both love old houses, and were looking for ‘the right’ house within commuting distance of our workplaces. Unfortunately, our search area kept expanding and pretty soon, we were looking in a huge area that had estate agents scratching their heads. Let’s just say, I encountered many during this process! When we did eventually find ‘the right’ house – three of them, in fact – and put in offers, we ended up getting gazumped by other buyers. It took several years before we finally got lucky. Overall, it was quite an emotional process – sometimes stressful, sometimes exciting – and I sometimes felt like I was living in a novel. Based on my own experiences, I could see how a young, somewhat quirky, romantic like Amy Wood could find the process captivating – and fall in love with a crumbling old house like Rosemont Hall.
How do you approach the process of writing – do you plan much? Edit as you go?
I normally have the basic idea in my head and also some plot milestones – so I know point A and point B in advance, but not necessarily how I’m going to get there. In general, I try to write the first draft through without going back too much. For me, that makes the ideas flow more freely, and I’m often surprised how a scene ends up. However, I am trying to be a little more disciplined with my next novel, and doing more plotting in advance. It has more of a mystery focus, and that requires more early thought on pacing, clues, and structure.
Can you tell me a little about your typical writing day and do you have any rituals (writing in a particular place, must have a hot drink, write in silence?)
I wish I had a typical day! When I first started writing almost ten years ago, I did a lot of writing in a notebook during my commute. Back then I had more time, and longer quiet moments to write. Nowadays, life is pretty full-on with three children, working as a lawyer, writing, and doing publicity. I rarely have a quiet moment, so I’ve learned to work more efficiently, and with more distractions.
My best writing time is usually mornings. I get up very early, put the coffee maker on, and type away in the kitchen before the children get up and it’s time for work and the school run. When I’m working on something new, I try to do at least 500-1000 words a day. If I have more time, I try to do some editing on something else. My favourite part is ‘getting in the zone’ and putting the words down for the first time. I’m less keen on the editing part!by