Read our stunning author interview with Carla Burgess. She always enjoyed writing stories when she was in school and she studied English Litterature and Psychology. It was only after a family bereavement that she started writing fiction again after a career as a magazine editor. She writes romantic comedies and has written two books Marry Me Tomorrow and Stuck With You. Her third book Meet Me Under the Mistletoe is out on 27 October and is available to pre-order now. Continue reading and you will get some great inside to Carla's writing life.
- What does your typical writing day look like for you and do you use a word count?
I get the children to school and do some chores before sitting down to write, and then I work until the children come back from school. I’ll have a break then, and spend some time with the children, then I usually go back to writing in the evening after dinner. I like writing at night. I feel like I’m less distracted and procrastinate less. The children are older now so it’s not necessarily because they’re all asleep, I’m just less tempted to do another load of washing or start cleaning something. I don’t have a strict word count that I stick to every day, I just write as much as possible. Usually I’m happy with a thousand words, but if I’m on a deadline then I try for five thousand words. I’m not saying I always make this, but that’s what I strive for.
- You have written three books. How long does it take for you to write a book from the first word to a published book?
It takes about six months from when I first start writing to when the book is published. That also involves quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with the Editor before publication.
- What is your favorite part when writing a book?
To be honest, I love the whole process. It’s really exciting to begin a new book and start writing a whole new set of characters and it feels like a real challenge to turn a blank page into a story. But it’s also enormously satisfying when you type The End and you can sigh with relief. Of course, then the book goes to your editor and a whole new stage of the process begins, but then I often find the rewrite quite satisfying too.
- What is your editing process?
The first draft takes about three or four months to write. When it’s done, I send it to my editor who makes suggestions for structural changes and comments on how to improve areas of the story. I implement these and it goes back to her again, and she may offer further suggestions for improvement. When we’re satisfied, the manuscript then goes to a line editor to be proof read.
- What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten and what advice will you give to aspiring writers?
There is a lot of advice out there for aspiring writers, but I think the most useful thing for me was joining an online writing group where I engaged with other writers. Not only was it great to get your work peer reviewed, but the support and advice shared in these forums is invaluable. Writing can be an isolating business and reaching out to others makes you feel less alone. I was writing for years before I allowed anyone else to read my work. Maybe that was a process I had to go through before I produced anything remotely readable, but when I finally plucked up the courage to join a group, it was a big relief to “meet” people with the same goals as me.
- How often do you read and what do you read?
Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read as much as I’d like to. I’ve had tight deadlines this year so I’ve spent much of my time writing, and when I’ve not been writing, I’ve been spending time with the children and doing household chores. I read some lovely books when I went to Fuerteventura on holiday in August. Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern, One Endless Summer by Laurie Ellingham, The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters by Jaimie Admans and Right Here Waiting For You by Rebecca Pugh. I do like a nice love story that’s happy and upbeat. My favourite author is probably Fiona Walker. I love her style of writing, her lovely countryside settings and colourful characters. I do enjoy crime and psychological suspense, but I’m careful how many I read because they can make me feel quite low afterwards. I’m not sure why because I used to read more when I was younger. I loved to read as a child and devoured everything in the teenage reading section of our local library. I still really enjoy young adult fiction now, actually. I’ve read some amazing books with my son over the years. He was a big fan of Michael Morpurgo. Sadly, my daughters aren’t that fond of reading, which makes me sad because there are so many wonderful stories out there. I’m hoping that will change as they get older.
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