Emma Bennet is the author of I Need A Hero, His Secret Daughter and Snowed in for her Wedding. Emma joins me today to chat about writing, planning her novels and her dinner party guests.
Hi Emma, thank you for joining me. Do you have a favourite word?
I have several: pudding, serendipity and natty stand out as particularly wonderful to say. Actually, I managed to get ‘natty’ into my latest manuscript, a great moment!
How much planning do you do before beginning a book? What elements need to be in place?
I use an A4 notebook and write a basic outline over a page. I then expand on this over about three pages, and write short character profiles for my hero and heroine. I add to and refer to these sheets regularly! Once these are in place, I’m off!
Which novel would you like to live in for a day and why?
I think it’s got to be ‘Pride and Prejudice’: I’d love to chat with Lizzy, advise her mum on her nerves and dance with Mr Darcy!
Out of all the books you’ve read, which three have stayed with you?
It tends to be children’s books which stay with me the most. I absolutely love being able to share my favourites with my children. The top three would probably be Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood, Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes and Catherine Cookson’s Nancy Nutall and the Mongrel (which never fails to make me cry!).
Which four people would you like over for a dinner party?
Real or fictional? If they were real I’d go for…. Beatrix Potter, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Amelia Earhart – all amazing women I’d just love to meet!
If the people can be fictional, I’d love to invite the four heroines I’ve created so far! Iris from ‘His Secret Daughter’, Leah from my novella ‘Just Desserts’, Gwen from my first novel ‘The Green Hills of Home’, and Bronte, the heroine from ‘I Need a Hero.’
What do you find are the biggest challenges about being a writer and the writing process?
For me, it’s finding the time to write everything I want. I have 4 wonderful children, and they, and their Lego, can be rather distracting!
Do you have any writing rituals?
Tea and quiet. Add a biscuit if I need to feel really inspired.
Which superpower would you like to have?
The ability to control time would come in pretty handy: I’d be able to read everything in my to-be-read pile and write all the novels I have ideas for.
How do you edit? Do you do it as you go? What advice would you give in regard to the editing process?
I tend to get a first draft down and then edit chapter by chapter. My husband then looks over the whole manuscript for me and points out about five million mistakes which I make my way painfully through before editing a final time.
My advice would be to go through your manuscript many, many times, checking for consistency and spelling and grammar mistakes even when you’re completely happy with the characters and storyline!
Five tips for new writers?
Read as much as you can and as widely as possible.
Don’t be precious about where you write, use any opportunity!
Take your work seriously, and set aside time for it.
Be prepared to accept (constructive) criticism. Sometimes it can be hard to see the flaws in your own manuscript.
Be proud of what you do and never put your work down!
For more information about Emma and her writing, visit her website www.emma-bennet.co.uk
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.