Pass the baton !!

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Many thanks to Kate Blackadder and Rosie Dean for inviting me to be part of the My Writing Process blog tour. You can learn more about Kate and her Writing Process at Kate’s blog was on 22nd December.

Julie Houston

What am I working on?

With my RomCom “Goodness, Grace and Me” riding high in the Amazon Top 100 for Humour, I really  felt I couldn’t let Grace and Harriet go without continuing their story. As a result, I am almost half way through the sequel which should be published later on this year. I wish I could think of a suitable title for it but at the moment I am still open to suggestions! “Goodness, Grace and Me” was originally ‘Compulsive Granite Disorder’ and then ‘Living La Dolce Vita’ and it may be that I will use either of these titles for the sequel as they are both still appropriate to its content. Like “Goodness, Grace and Me” it is also a Romantic Comedy but with a couple of issues that perhaps are not so comic. I prefer to think of this book as within the ‘Women’s Contemporary fiction’ genre because, as well as hopefully making people laugh, it does deal with an area that many women have experienced but which perhaps is not known enough about and/or is not always dealt with as perhaps it should. I have tried, in the past, to write so that my characters appear a little more serious and grown-up, but they do tend to get their own way with what they say and the piece, again, turns into a comedy!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think the main difference is that I tend to write about strong women in their thirties rather than younger girls in their twenties. I like to think that “my women” are strong, independent and fairly worldly-wise because they are that bit older and have experienced what life can throw at them!  My female heroes tend not to go shopping or work in PR, but are caught up in the dramas of everyday life. They have to clean the house and look after sick children and they don’t always get the passion in their lives that they dream about. Having said that, I’m certainly not averse to a good shop myself – my husband doesn’t understand why I need yet another jacket  or pair of identical black shoes – and I also want my characters to find that wonderful feeling of love/lust and passion girls in other chick-lit books tend to experience.

Why do I write what I do?

Probably because I can’t not!! Which, I suspect, sounds a bit over the top. There are certainly days when I’d rather not write, when I’d rather be out for a good run or shopping (see above!!) but I find enormous pleasure in producing a piece of writing whether it’s just a couple of paragraphs or (hopefully) a whole chapter. Laughter is one of the best sounds to evoke and experience and I want to make people laugh. When I’m teaching, I love it if the children find something I say funny  ( I used to teach in New Zealand and I can vividly remember one afternoon when I was teaching about India and Ghandi and, on being asked what was Ghandi’s first name, very deadpan  replied “Goosy, Goosy.” The children and I spent the whole afternoon laughing and every time we tried to be serious something else would set us off. I can quite understand the adrenalin high standup comics get from making an audience laugh. I want to achieve the same with my reading audience. And that is probably why I write what I write.

How does your writing process work?

I have spent the last few months promoting “Goodness, Grace and Me” to the extent that producing new work has been put on the back burner as it were.  I’m now back on a roll with the sequel and find, like anything, including cake, alcohol and – yes – sex (!) the more you write (eat, drink, have (!)) the more you want to write. I have just come back from a night in Derbyshire where I spent the evening with two very talented writers (Joanna Barnden – watch out for her historical novel on 1066 – and the very funny Tracy Bloom) and over curry and rather too many bottles of wine we had, what we have now termed, a ‘book rant.’ What did strike me, after talking with both Tracy and Jo, was that I need a new place to write. I used to be in command of the children’s play-room, a fabulous light, airy room overlooking the valley, but my husband now works from home and has turned it into his office and I’ve been shunted into a cubby hole down the corridor! As I now teach only one day a week – I made the decision a couple of years ago that writing had to take precedence – writing is my ‘work’; it is a job like any other and I am seriously thinking of renting a room somewhere so that I can’t take the dog for a walk, can’t just put the sprouts on, can’t just go and have another piece of flapjack from the kitchen. I am a lark rather than owl and can get much more done in the morning rather than later on in the day. I don’t plan too much ahead – I like my characters to just lead me where they want to go – but I usually have an overall idea of plot and where the story is going. I have notes all over the place, but much of my planning is done in my head to relieve the boredom of the thirty lengths of swimming or the twenty minutes running I try to do every day. I write straight onto the computer (my lovely husband bought me a new Apple Mac computer last week; it’s a bit of a beast and I’m a bit frightened of it at the moment) and then redraft what I have written the next day. This works for me. I am happy (ecstatic) if I can write 2000 words a day.

On 27th January, My Writing Process visits two more  authors well worth exploring. They are:


For too long, Rosie used her writing skills to produce training courses and marketing copy but escaped corporate world to pursue her first love – writing romantic fiction with a sense of humour and, sometimes, a sense of the ridiculous. When not writing, she loves reading, even in the car (talking books, she’s not completely reckless) and has notched up countless unnecessary miles as a result.


Anita Burgh

I am an accidental writer; I was not born with a burning desire to write.  I did so since I needed to make some money fast! I had the naïve idea that all I had to do was write  a novel and all would be resolved!  Instead it took me four years to get published which I achieved at the age of 50 – a late developer.  But, an odd thing had happened, during this process I had fallen in love with writing and years later although I have tried to stop I can’t.  I am now faced with the dilemma of so many stories I want to tell but realistically not enough time left to do so!

There is no doubt I was born under a lucky star.  First I fell into this profession; secondly, on holiday I met a literary agent who did not handle romantic fiction but took a shine to me and agreed to take me on.  Third, my first publisher was Chatto & Windus, the prestigious literary house who did not publish romantic fiction but had decided to do so!

I have subsequently written 23 novels, How to Write leaflets,  numerous articles and short stories and I love to motivate others and to give them the confidence to pursue this wonderful career.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s