|Mandy K James|
Mandy K James is one of the first writers THE PINK SOFA got to know when it first stuck one elegantly carved wooden leg into the Twitter pool last August. She has a rumbustious sense of fun, and sparkling repartee, but is also a caring and loyal friend, supporting other writers and cheering them on from the sidelines. Since THE PINK SOFA asked her its questions about her life and her writing influences, she has successfully launched her latest book, A Stitch In Time, with the wonderfully named Choc Lit, and is currently working on her next book for them. It is an absolute pleasure to welcome her to THE PINK SOFA and there is fizzy French wine and a selection of nice French cheeses on the coffee table to celebrate.
So, Mandy, what sort of books do you write?
Contemporary women's fiction with an element of suspense.
What kick started your writing career?
I have always written ..well not always, obviously, but since I was about 8. I just loved making up stories and started my first novel in 2001. It was very hard to do alongside a full-time teaching career, but I kept plugging away. I gave up teaching in 2008 and cracked on with what was to be my first published novel, an ebook called Righteous Exposure. I also had lots of short stories published around that time too.
What were your favourite childhood books and why?
Very early on it was all of Enid Blyton's as they were full of adventure and excitement. Later, when I was about 13 it was The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings for similar reasons, but particularly because I felt a real connection to the characters. I really cared about what would happen to them all for the first time I suppose. Tolkien is such a beautiful writer also; I felt I actually could see 'Middle'Earth'.
What writers do you most admire today (can be classical) and why?
Charles Dickens, Kurt Vonnegut, John Steinbeck, Steven King, Dean Koontz, the list is very long. Why? Most of these have a moral message or some meaning in their writing. I don't read nearly enough now, as I tend to be too caught up in writing. But the writer I enjoy most still has to be Dean Koontz. His writing style is just effortless, and he can paint a picture with just a few words. Most writers would need a few pages, also there is always an identifiable baddie and he/she gets his just desserts. I try to do the same in my novels.
Talk to us about your writing process - how do you plan, have a set number of words each day, where do you write?
I am a pantster. I have the bare bones of a story and jot these down, sometimes in bullet points. Then I have a title - can't write without that! Then I just let the characters do the work. I love writing because I'm entertained as I write - I never know what's coming next! I like to write at least 2,000 words each day and usually manage it. I don't have a special writing room or shed, but would love to have one in the future.
From brain to draft - what's your time span?
It varies. My new novel, a time-travelling romantic comedy A Stitch In Time was written in 6 weeks (first draft) but normally around three to four months. When I was teaching, sometimes a year.
What part of the writing process do you find challenging and why?
|Mandy's new book|
What was your worst experience?
I think the number of rejections over the years. No matter how much you tell yourself that it is just one agent's opinion etc it does tend to punch a big hole in your confidence. The main thing is not to give up, even though you want to.
And your finest?
Getting the offer of a contract from the wonderful Choc Lit Publishing in May of last year. And now seeing my book A Stitch in Time actually in bookshops and online.
A Stitch in Time is available on Amazon.co.uk as both book and ebook.
Visit Mandy's blog: http://mandykjameswrites.blogspot.com/ Tweet her: @akjames61
Facebook: Mandy James Author Page
Thanks, Mandy! Mandy will be staying around to chat, so do dig into the cheese and wine and ask her some more questions.