Can you tell us about your novel, The Language of Spells?
Certainly! It’s funny, romantic fiction with a touch of magic. Gwen Harper has the uncanny ability to find lost things and a family with a history of magic. What she most wants, though, is to be normal. At eighteen, she left home and vowed not to go back, but when she inherits End House from her mysterious great aunt Iris she has no choice but to return and face the town that branded her a witch.
What’s your typical writing day like?
I try to write a little bit as soon as the alarm goes off in the morning, but my writing day really begins after I’ve done the school run and am in my office. I aim for 1000 new words before lunchtime, then reward myself with an episode from whichever DVD box set I’m currently watching. Then, I work on journalism, blogging, promotion stuff and admin during the afternoon. Evenings are for family time and reading.
Do you get writers block and how do you combat it?
I don’t know if I get writer’s block, but I definitely have a serious problem with procrastination. I faff about online for hours before starting to write, and then panic about not having enough time to work. Combating this is a work in progress, to be quite honest, but I do find Freedom (software that blocks your internet access for a set period of time) very helpful, as well as setting small goals with rewards. For example, I’ll tell myself that I just have to write 200 words and then I can check my email. Sad, but true.
When you started The Language of Spells, what was your process like? Are you a planner or a winger?
Complete winger. I wish I could plan, but it’s just not the way my brain works. My first drafts are such a mess – they’re not even linear – I just write scenes as they come to me. It makes for a really lengthy revision process.
Do you edit as you go along?
Not really. I just try to get the words down and edit (lots) later. I also tend to underwrite, so my editing process involves adding lots of words, rather than just taking away.
Which novel has made the most impact on you?
That’s a tricky question! I’m a life-long bookworm and have fallen hard for so many novels. I actually feel guilty at the thought of choosing just one, as if I’m being disloyal to all the others…
What’s your favourite word?
Ooh, great question. I like some words just because they’re fun to say. Last week, for example, I couldn’t stop saying ‘semantic quibbling’ for exactly that reason. At the moment, though, my favourite word is ‘pluffily’, which my son made up and means ‘soft and cuddly’.
Which fictional character would you like to meet?
I don’t think my childhood self would forgive me if I said anybody other than Sophie Hatter from Howl’s Moving Castle.
Who would be your ideal dinner guests?
I know I’m supposed to list a varied group to show how worldly and interesting I am, but I adore talking about books and writing, so I’d choose my writing heroes; Jenny Crusie, Nora Ephron, Neil Gaiman, Joss Whedon and Ann Patchett.
If you could have a magical power, which one would you have and why?
My first thought was some kind of mastery over time but, let’s be honest, I’d probably just fill my extra hours with more procrastination… Instead, I’ll choose the ability to heal any illness.
What are your five tips for new writers?
1. I know that everybody says this, but the number one tip has to be to read a lot. Not just in the genre you want to write, but widely.
2. Write. The only way to learn how to write is by doing it.
3.Develop a habit of finishing things. It’s tempting to think that if you’re bored of your novel or finding it difficult that you should start something new but the truth is that writing a novel is a slog and you will probably feel exactly the same way halfway through your new shiny idea as you do right now.
4. Find writer friends. Writing is solitary but you need a support network. Plus, critiques from fellow writers are invaluable.
5. If you want to be published, persevere.
For more information on Sarah, visit her website
The next stop on Sarah’s blog tour will be on Katlyn Duncan’s website on Monday 10th June 2013