You may have noticed that yesterday I reviewed a book called The House on Willow Street by Cathy Kelly. It was the first book that I've read by her, but I really enjoyed it.
The fantastic author, Cathy has very kindly taken some time from her schedule to write an exclusive guest post for this blog. I asked Cathy quite a few questions - about her writing process, whether her characters were based on real people and her inspirations for writing. I hope you all enjoy this post.
Cathy Kelly on her Writing Process
My writing process involves far too much time making coffee and staring at the computer screen saying ‘that’s rubbish.’ If I could cut out those two things, I’d write much more quickly. But then, coffee and the inner critic are all intrinsic parts of writing, aren’t they? Oh, and biscuits. I should mention that writing is bad for the waistline, which nobody ever points out in those ‘how to be a writer’ books.I trained many years ago as a journalist which is marvellous from the point of view of teaching you to be disciplined about your writing and means you are comfortable with the editing process.For the start of every book, I like to have a nice plan in my head of what the book is going to be about and spend many happy evenings with colourful pads (my current favs are yellow legal pads) and nice pens, drawing venn diagrams about the plot and the characters. This is so much fun. Sometimes I read magazines, for research, obviously, and have lovely, happy evenings with the venn diagrams and the magazines. And then finally, I sit down to write the first word and have to start all over again – with no magazines and no venn diagrams. My favourite way to write isn’t really to use the draft form this time but to write about a third of the book and edit and re-edit endlessly, whereupon I send it to the publishers and have a complete panic if they do not email instantly telling me it’s OK. The longer it goes before they phone, the worse I think the book is. (There is no cure for this, apparently). I honestly don’t use real people in my books and I am always astonished at people who do. I make it all up and it’s such fun, although I go through so many names in the baby names books and once had a book with three people in it called Jenny. I know. My sons think this is the funniest thing ever.I write when the boys are at school and stop at about 3.30 when it’s time to pick them up, whereupon we are into the homework, cooking dinner, washing sports kit stuff and the usual. It’s a huge privilege to work from home so I get to do this and I so appreciate it. There aren’t many careers where you have that. If I have to take a day off, I can work at night to make up.As for inspirations – as a child, I read endlessly, loving The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, the Enid Blyton Canon – I did think school would be like Mallory Towers and I haven’t stopped. I do love all the Irish writers like the great and late Maeve Binchy, Patricia Scanlan, Marian Keyes and all the other wonderful women writers who are my friends. I love people like Laurie Graham, Alice Hoffman, I can’t name them all but the house is full of books! I adore crime, am on a Skandi hit at the moment, and love anything thrilling – have the latest Lee Child by the bed, and love biographies. Reading is such a delight, isn’t it? If I didn’t read so much, I’d write much faster!!
So there we have it - a little glimpse into Cathy Kelly's life as an author. I hope this has taught you something new and peaked your interest!
Cathy's latest book, The House on Willow Street is out now