Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Interview Techniques


For some reason, I've suddenly been asked to offer my pearls of wisdom and alleged writing expertise on a wide range of subjects. For a really, really brief period I got a bit big-headed and thought I must be the current author-of-choice, but only briefly. Now I've decided that it's probably because they've run out of Proper Writers...

Whatever - I'm not proud. I'm just delighted to be asked. So, this week I've done a stonking FIVE interviews with different people for various publications on all sorts of subjects - from fireworks to Epstein Barr; from how I manage to write in such a mess and muddle to how I bit the bullet and gave up the day job; from my research methods to why I stopped writing mainstream chicklit and started writing magical bucolic frolics. I've loved every minute of it. And I really, really appreciate being asked.

No publicity is bad in my opinion - no, not even that rather painful and corrosive piece about me being a gurning nonentity in The Times by a far more literary writer than I'll ever be - and any opportunity for anyone who writes to get their name out there in any capacity is A Good Thing. So this is a public thank you to all those who took time to ask me questions and patiently sorted out the dross of my answers.

I really welcomed being interviewed by fellow rom-com author Olivia Ryan. She's written a fab feature on Giving Up The Day Job (to be published later in the year - will post details as soon as I know). I was included with such romantic novelist luminaries as Judy Astley and Katie Fforde and Fenella Miller - and am still basking in the afterglow.




It's always flattering to be asked for your views by another author, and especially so as I LOVE Olivia Ryan's books (check her out at www.oliviaryan.com). I bought second copies of her hilarious and oh-so-true Tales From A Hen Weekend and Tales From A Wedding Day as a honeymoon beach-reading present for Elle (they'd make great engagement/hen night/wedding presents for any dedicated chicklit lover) who read them on Waikiki Beach and absolutely loved them and is now a hooked Olivia fan. We're both now feverishly waiting for the final book in the trilogy - Tales From A Honeymoon Hotel - which is out on July 2nd. Oh, and if you're reading this, Olivia, I've already got my order in on Amazon - I'm not asking for freebies!!!!

I've always found it's better to be honest when being interviewed - even if what you have to say isn't exactly what's expected. I'm certainly not a typical writer (come on - take a look at my lifestyle!) but try to explain how writing fits in with my Other Life (with difficulty, usually). I know I love to read about how other writers work - even if it does make me wonder how I ever manage to get anything done - or how other writers got started, or anything at all that might just help me to improve how I do things. We can all learn from one another - and I know I've gained numerous nuggets of brilliance from authors I admire.

One area of writing I'm rather proud of this morning is my new found ability to delete at will! Yesterday - after a sleepless night of agonising - I deleted Midnight Feast and started again. And now it's flying! I've been up since 4.30 (it wasn't even light!) and have done over 3,000 words already today. I'd written myself into a turgid corner and knew that there was no way out. So, I've just kept all my characters (who I loved) and changed the setting and the start and made it funnier and really, really off the wall - and it's suddenly zinged into life for me now. Hopefully it'll zing into life for Those Who Matter...

I've happily told The Toyboy Trucker (sorry, still can't get into Toyboy Transport Manager) that it's now "Cold Comfort Farm meets Masterchef". I won't tell you what he said - but hopefully he's wrong, wrong, wrong....

17 comments:

Tam said...

Looking forward to reading these interviews when they come out!

Christina Jones said...

Thanks Tam - and CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Debs said...

So many interviews, I can't wait to read them.

Well done on the word count for Midnight Feast. I don't think I've ever been up that early to write (to let his Grumpiness out for his ablutions maybe).

I've never read an Olivia Ryan book, but they sound wonderful, so shall now have to go and order some. x

Christina Jones said...

Debs - the interviews were all lovely to do - hopefully I said *something* sensible... And I'm still raring to go with the new Midnight Feast. Hope it lasts... Mind you, the early start meant I was nodding off by tea time....

Christina Jones said...

Sorry Debs, also meant to say you'll love the Olivia Ryan books - so funny, true-to-life and romantic - they were perfect for me when I was awash with Elle's wedding preps!

Margaret McDonagh said...

Congratulations on the breakthrough with Midnight Feast. That is so, so brave to delete and start again, not to mention scary, but it has clearly worked and given it - and you - a new lease of life, which is just superb. Good luck, I hope it flies along now.

Congrats, too, on the interview fest, too! I can't wait to read them in due course. And of course you're a "proper writer"! You're a star and your books are a joy. So there!!!

Can't wait for the photos, including the m-o-t-b frock!

Much love,
Mags xxxx

Christina Jones said...

Mags - thanks so much. Funny how each book is different though, isn't it? Some just flow from the start, others don't, and a few - like the first version of Midnight Feast - just teeter to a grinding halt. Second version still flying - so mass deleting was clearly the right thing to do - I think...

Gonna be a writer said...

I know that my day job is totally different from writing but what I say to people is that you work in a way that works for you. As long a sthey get to where I want them to be and the job gets done that's the main thing. So if mess and muddle works for you then go with it. Why fix what's not broken?
A gurning non-entity? Who was that person?
You're right about Olivia, not only are her books great but she a lovely person too.

Christina Jones said...

Gonna be a writer - couldn't agree more. We're all different. I've tried being more organised, I've tried writing a set number of words a day, I've tried plotting and planning out my novels, I've tried all sorts of things - and none of them work for me - but they're fascinating to read about. Agree, Olivia is fab!!!!

Ginny said...

Great news about getting out of the corner, more so for recognising it. So I am looking forward to reading you next novel.
Can I ask whether you are on Twitter yet? Or have though of it? Its very easy, short and fun to do!

Olivia Ryan said...

Oh!!!! I've just come back into the Real World after having 5 days without internet access, which has been AWFUL as you can imagine - to find all these nice things being said about me and my books on your blog, Chris! Being so unused to praise of any sort, I did a kind of collapse over my keyboard, and nearly started bawling - so before I really do cry, and drown the poor cat sitting on my lap, this is just to say THANK YOU!
For anyone wanting to read Christina's contribution to the feature I've written for Writers' Forum - it'll be in the July issue, and I'll put a bit on my own blog about it. See you there - if I don't lose the internet connection again in the meantime!

The Write Woman said...

Well done with all these interviews! Your opinions are obviously sought because you're such a star! xx

Christina Jones said...

Ginny - thanks! It's still going well so I'm *sure* it was the right thing to do. No - I don't Twitter! I CAN'T have anything else to waste time on - yet...

Christina Jones said...

Olivia - thanks so much for taking the time to read the blog! Now I'm blushing - but it was all true! Don't cry - although being without the computer is enough to make anyone bawl, as I well know! Glad you're reconnected now. So looking forward to seeing the article in July in *real life* AND even more to getting my mitts on a copy of Tales from A Honeymoon Hotel.

Christina Jones said...

The Write Woman - thank you - although I'm not really sure who'd want to read my jumbled thoughts on ANY subject really. Star? Not unless it's Harpo Marx or Shirley Temple (today I've gone back to my naturally curly hair after years of having it straightened - and I don't think I like it...)

SamMakeup said...

Hey Chris! It's been a couple of months since I've had a chance to follow your blog. I've been so busy with work, weddings, new website and forum rebuild, that I've had to neglect somethings :o(

I completely missed Elle's wedding, although I was doing a wedding myself that day, and did have a wonder about you all!

congrats to TTT (or is he a TTM now?!)

Yay for Midnight Feast, have started my mega countdown read in anticipation of Moonshine coming out, but decided to jump in sideways with Walking on Air and am hoping that your feline Jonah is doing okay.

Anyway, lovely to have a good old read of everything, you live a real rollercoaster life don't you?!

looking forward to the interviews and thanks for the tip about Olivia Ryan!

Sam xx

Christina Jones said...

Sam - great to hear from you again. Glad you've been so busy - and yes, "sadly" the TTT is now a TTM. No more jeans and T-shirts and lovely dieselly(?)-smell... It's all suits and grown up shirts and ties now - sigh!
I really hope you like Walking on Air (my feline Jonah is absolutely fine, thanks - no need for further treatment - phew!) - and ditto about Moonshine when it comes out. I really like Moonshine - so I hope everyone else feels the same way. And yes, please do recommend Olivia Ryan's "wedding" trilogy to your bridal parties - they're fab.