Carol Mason is the author of the women's fiction books After You Left, published by
Lake Union on April 1, 2017, and The Secrets of Married Women. She is also the author of
The Love Market and Send Me A Lover, which are available as E books on Amazon.
She writes fulltime from her home in Canada and is originally from the UK. Get to know more
about her writing life below.
- What does your typical writing day look like for you and do you use a word
I am lucky enough to be able to write full-time. I try to keep full-time
hours. I am productive in the morning, but that wanes as the day moves on!
I find by 2pm I am almost comatose and I used to sit there and struggle
anyway, but now I try to go and do something else - prepare dinner, walk
the dog... Miraculously - and I say this because I have never understood
how this happens - at 4pm something happens and I can write with gusto;
everything I've struggled with that day falls into place and I can add to
my word count more between 4-5:30 than if I'd written for 8 hours
straight! Long may that magic continue. Without it, it would take years to
finish a book!
- You have written four books. How long does it take for you to write a book
from the first word to a published book?
I am a slow writer - see comments above! Publishers tend to want a book a
year. I suppose give that I've been writing for 15 years, I sort of know
when a book is definitely not working (sometimes it's hard to know if it
definitely IS, though), so I can stop wasting time when my instincts say
it's wrong. So I would say a year is probably accurate. Although my most
recent book, After You Left, took about 6 in total. I recently found the
first file I'd opened on my computer and nearly died! Had it really taken
me that long? Gasp! Of course I took long periods away from it. It seemed
to be a book that wanted to be written but I didn't quite know how to do
it for a very long time. And yet I couldn't let it go...
- What is your favorite part when writing a book and where do you prefer
Obviously finishing it completely is the best part! But finishing a first
draft is fantastic too. You feel like you've got a structure and when your
editor tells you, yes, it's working though it needs work, it's an exciting
place to be. I love developing what I've already got, rather than creating
fresh. Mainly because of the uncertainty of knowing whether what you've
got is any good, and whether you are wasting time on something that isn't
working... Second drafts are about taking it from a 6/10 and making it a
10. Putting everything you have into making it brilliant.
- What is your editing process?
I edit as I go along. I find it hard to add rubbish to rubbish! I tend to
read what I've written the day before every morning and polish it.
Sometimes when I'm stuck I go back to the beginning and polish, though
that can be a dangerous trap - you can get carried away avoiding advancing
the plot! But after all these years I know when I'm editing versus
time-wasting! All those years as a struggling-to-get-published author have
to bring some positives, right?
- What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten and what advice will
you give to aspiring writers?
I would say if you want to be published by a traditional house, and
attempt to have a career at this, then you have to realise writing is a
business as much as an art. Know the business and abide by its rules.
Know your genre and your market and your competition. From a creative
side I would say read the best book you can read in your genre and then
ask yourself is your work in progress anywhere near that good? And then
set about making it better. It's about knowing where the bar is set. You
can only know that by reading lots and being a tough self-critic. Then
there's the obvious - toughen up, take rejection but don't take it
personally, and never give up.
- How often do you read and what do you read?
I read a lot - as I said above I try to read the sort of books I write,
just to keep current and remind myself what the best of the best truly
is. So that would be deep and meaningful women's fiction, with relevant
issues and characters I care deeply about, in very realistic dramas with
very realistic dilemmas. These are the books that excite me, and ones I
love to write. However when I'm working very hard to meet a deadline I
find reading distracting - plus I simply don't have the time at that
Get to know more about Carol Mason on her social media sites:
Her website Carol Mason