Do you dream of getting your book published? And seeing your name on a shelf in a book shop, rather than in bright lights? Whether it’s a non fiction, rom com or gritty thriller, we spoke to best selling author Lucy Diamond for her tips for new authors as to how to get there…
What advice would you give to someone looking to write their first book?
Tell the story that resonates most with you, the book you would most like to read. Allow yourself time to daydream – I often work out a plot problem when I’m doing something completely mundane like washing up or walking the dog. And stick with it! Every author I know has days where they are convinced the book is going nowhere, that they can’t do it. The challenge is to keep going and push on through till the end.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I write between 9 and 3 while my children are at school, doing my best to ignore any housework or laundry in the process. We have a five-month-old puppy who has made concentrating a bit trickier… partly because she’s so gorgeous it’s hard to tear myself away from her! – but I love walking her after lunch, not only for the fresh air and exercise, but also because I’ve met so many other dog-walkers who often have the *best* stories (we authors are incredibly nosey!).
Do you get a chance to read much fiction yourself? What has been a book you’ve loved recently?
I’m never without a book! It’s the best form of escapism for me, bar actually going on holiday. I’m currently reading a book called The Mother by Yvvette Edwards which is due to be published in April – it’s absolutely heart-breaking but so brilliantly written.
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What is the best piece of advice you’ve received since becoming an author?
I heard Helen Dunmore give a talk once and she said (I’m paraphrasing) that every author must plough their own field, ie tell your own story in your own voice, and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Recognise your strengths and play to them.
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What is your favourite part of writing a book?
Getting to the end is just wonderful, such a huge achievement every time! And often it’s only when I reach the end, that I think, ahh, this is the story, and can then shape it accordingly in the edit. I love printing out the first draft and taking to it with a red pen – cutting out all the waffle, removing any characters or storylines that don’t really earn their keep, and polishing up each paragraph so that it’s as good as can be.
What about your least favourite?
I always get stuck in the middle, and nearly always take several wrong plot turns along the way. I’m not one of those authors who plot everything out very thoroughly – I wish I was! – but instead work things out as I go along. Ending up in a plot cul-de-sac and realising I’ve gone wrong, is really frustrating – especially the subsequent deleting of thousands of words! – but I’ve come to realise that, annoyingly, this is just the way I work: that sometimes I have to go the wrong way in order to discover the real story I’m trying to tell.
How do you get your ideas for your books? How did you come up with the idea for One Night In Italy?
All sorts of things inspire ideas for books – an item in a newspaper, a conversation I’ve overheard, a particular character that comes to me – and sometimes it’s a situation that sparks a book. One Night In Italy really came from me having gone to lots of evening classes and idly thinking what a mix of people you always meet there – it struck me as a good set-up as a way of bringing together characters who might not ordinarily meet.
To purchase One Night In Italy click here
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How did writing a Galaxy Quick Read book differ from your typical style of writing?
I wanted to write a book that would be accessible to as many people as possible, particularly those who might not often read books, so I was asked to keep the language and sentence constructions deliberately simple, in the first few pages, at least. I also had to strike the balance between pleasing people who already enjoyed my books about the Cornish beach cafe of the story, and making the set-up straightforward enough that anyone could read it as a stand-alone, without needing to read previous stories. It’s an honour to be part of the Quick Reads series… I can’t wait to read the other books on the list!
To find out more about the Galaxy Quick Reads Series click here