Interview with Erin Green, Women’s Fiction Author

Today I’m happy to welcome Erin Green to the blog.

Erin’s writes contemporary novels focusing on love, life and laughter. Erin is an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and was delighted to be awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. An ideal day for Erin involves writing, people watching and drinking copious amounts of tea.

Tell us something about your books.

My genre is modern female fiction containing love, life and laughter relating to issues that modern women encounter. My novels are written in the first person narrative, with characters from across modern society.    

What inspires you to write? Who are your favorite writers?

As a child, I was an avid reader. I loved the excitement of opening a book and starting an adventure into the unknown. It became a ‘secret dream’ that one day I would write a book.

As a teenager, I loved Agatha Christie. I still adore the Classics: Austen, Brontés, Dickens but I also thrive on modern fiction writers: Marian Keyes, Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell, Ian Rankin and Patricia Cornwell. I belong to an online book group which helps to vary my reading choice.  

How do you start writing? Do you have a process or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

I seek inspiration every day from anywhere I go. Once I spy something of interest be it a face, a gesture, a song lyric, a painting or an object – I note down the details in a small book. When I need a new project, I go to my ideas book.

I create a mind map exploring that ‘gem of an idea’ before creating characters who can sit alongside or carry specific issues. I plot out scenes on post-it notes. Rearrange the order a few times to ensure pace and conflict then pin each note to a wooden board. I write draft one in order of the sequence – adding detail and descriptions as I feel fit until I’ve written each post-it note (usually about 90,000 words). I’ll read through and edit as I go until the end. Print a hard copy, reread and correct.

Sometimes I have to shuffle a scene or two which now appears out of order – which is a pain to unpick all the details. Once happy, I’ll submit to my editor on the deadline day. I restart the process after a break of a day or two.   

How has your writing process changed since you started writing?

When I started to write, I had no idea what I was doing. I wrote chapter one and then edited it to death before writing chapter two and editing that to death too.

It took me six years to write my first book using this spire method. I went on several writing retreats and realized that authors write start to finish and then edit – which is how I now write.

How long does it normally take you to write, and what proportion of the time is spent doing what?

I feel that my time allocation for a book is 15% plotting, 60% drafting, 25% editing. I’ve noticed the more I plan the less I edit – which works for me. Draft one of my last three books have been: 100 days, 108 days and 116 days so it hasn’t varied too much between the blank page and initial submission. My first book took me six years to write but hey, I was very sporadic with my writing and didn’t really know what I was doing.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

First draft creativity – I simply love it when I know the plot line and my fingers dance about the keyboard hardly able to keep up with my imagination. The words simply spill from me and I lose track of time. That is the best feeling in my writing world.

Do you involve other people in your writing, as collaborators or editors? How do you make this work?

I write alone. No one reads my manuscript until my editor reads it. She will have read a one page synopsis prior to me starting the project/manuscript and we’ll have discussed any issue which she can foresee. Once submitted, my editor usually comes back within ten days to highlight any issues she has or ask questions regards structural edits. I’ll redraft any scene with additional information, if required. I’m always happy to rethink a scene as a reader may misunderstand if I haven’t crafted it correctly. 

Do you have any writing tips you’d like to share with readers?

Write every day. Even if it is just for five minutes during a commercial break, waiting for the kettle to boil or a coffee break. I feel writing is a habit which strengthens with daily practice. 

Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your books, Erin.

Erin is published by Headline Publishing Group and her fifth book ‘Taking A Chance On Love’ is to be published in January 2020. You can find out more about her and her writing on her website.

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