Joanna Barnard

Author Interview: Joanna Barnard

Joanna BarnardHello Joanna. Thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me a little about your book, Precocious which has been released today and how the idea originated?

Hi Laura. Thanks for having me! Precocious is about a pupil-teacher relationship that’s rekindled when the two meet again 15 years later. It was a ‘slow burn’ idea in that it originated with a short story I wrote while at university. I wanted to write a kind of Lolita story but from the perspective of the girl. Unfortunately the theme is still very topical as there are lots of examples of these stories in the media today.


What’s your writing process like? Do you plan much before beginning a novel? Do you edit as you go etc?

I’m afraid I’m not much of a planner. For me the preparation is thinking about a cast of characters and their situation. They brew in my mind for a while before I put anything down. Then I tend to start by writing a scene (usually the opening) and just see where it goes from there. With a novel, I will get about a third of the way through and then decide I should probably start planning the rest! It can be a bit of a chaotic way of working but it seems to work for me.


Where do you like to write? What conditions do you like to write in – silence or noise?

At home, I write longhand on the sofa or in bed and then type up at my desk. I get loads of writing done on trains, I think because I’m rooted to the spot and can’t do anything else. I don’t mind a bit of noise. The radio is constantly on in my house but when I’m really engrossed in what I’m doing, I’m not really hearing it.


How long does it typically take you to write a book?

There is no typical – Precocious evolved over about six years! But with the second one, I’d left my job so could focus on it pretty much full-time. The first draft took about nine months. I think of it a bit like gestating a baby! But I’m still working on the final version. I know some people can write a book in a month or two but I think I need at least a year!

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