Today on the blog, I’m thrilled to have Gemma Wilford here to chat about her life as an author. She’s on a mission to publish a novel before she’s thirty – I really hope she succeeds!
I love the freedom to escape to another life and how your imagination knows no boundaries. An idea can come from anywhere and it’s that strong urge to get those thoughts straight onto paper and tell the story that’s begging to be told. I like watching the characters I create come to life and how they develop as I continue to write, especially when they surprise you and take you in directions you hadn’t planned.
The only thing I dislike is my continuing need to improve. Why is this so bad I hear you say? Well, as writer’s we edit, edit, re-write, edit again – a continuous cycle that I find endless as no matter how many times I read a supposed ‘finished’ piece of writing, I still want to edit it further.
What inspires you to write?
I have wanted to do this since I was a little girl and back then, books such as ‘The Famous Five’, ‘The Secret Seven’ and ‘Nancy Drew’ influenced me. Summers were spent with my nose in these books swiftly followed by me writing my own version. I loved my creative writing lessons at school and I had a teacher who was very encouraging (he has just recently published his own novel ‘Beyond Saving‘.)
When I would get ready for school, I often day dreamed about other families and other characters’, stories forming in my head. Their stories would sometimes continue from day to day and I wish I had wrote them down at the time.
I can find inspiration from the most random of things – from a one liner overheard in a conversation, to a TV advert or a fight at a self-checkout til in Asda.
Do you find time to read, if so what are you reading at the moment?
I try to read a little bit before I go to sleep but as I am a shift worker, this is not always feasible. I tend to read on my breaks at work or on my days off. I am currently reading a new release by Melissa Foster – ‘Traces of Kara‘.
Which author(s) has/have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Marian Keyes has definitely had a big influence – her wit and ability to make you laugh and cry in the same book is outstanding. She tackles sensitive subjects and deals with them with such dignity while at the same time keeping a light-hearted pace.
Melissa Foster has had a huge influence; I joined her Amazing Support Team (#GoTeamPIF) back in September. Through this team, I have learnt so much in regards to networking, marketing and editing as well as developing my writing style by reading other Author’s work and taking advice from them in regards to my own work.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
Tough question – I work full time and write, which has only become my way of life in the past couple of years. I couldn’t imagine what I would be doing if I wasn’t writing and I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get into it (adolescence then the hum drum of working adult life crept in the way of any creative writing.) But in answer to your question, I would probably be a photographer. I love taking pictures to use on my blog and playing around with them, so I would probably pursue that more professionally.
What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?
My weakness is impatience, I want everything done straight away and done right. However, that is a tough lesson to learn. As writer’s, we are taught to take our time and not rush a book being published just to get it ‘out there’. I learnt this by rushing to get ‘The Ruby of Egypt‘ self-published. Don’t get me wrong, I edited it over and over – I just didn’t get it professionally edited and I used a simple book cover. I have since had it edited and a brand new book cover designed – all things I could have taken my time with.
My strengths? Hmmm I think my crazy imagination? I sometimes come up with the most bizarre of ideas and interpretations of things so as a writer that surely has to be a bonus.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a recession based Chick-Lit novel called ‘Little Miss Pooshoe’. I wrote this in January and February of 2012 and I am now taking my time doing a second round of edits before it goes to an editor. The book was like therapy to write as it’s about a woman who loses her job. I got close to losing mine the year before and was placed in a role I didn’t want to be in. It allowed me to vent and put a lot of what I felt down on paper. Fortunately, things have turned out alright in the role I am in and I can now see it worked out for the better – plus a novel was crafted from it!
Where can we find you online?
When you’re a famous author and you write your autobiography, what will be the title?
Haha I would have picked ‘The Story of Miss Pooshoe’ as it is actually my nickname – however as I intend to use that in my novel I may have to re-think. Once Upon a dream?
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Yes – write, write and write some more! Also the power of online friends and social media is so valuable, it is the perfect world for writer’s to connect, share and help each other.
What’s been your proudest moment?
When I first self-published ‘The Ruby of Egypt‘ and received my hard copy – the feeling of having your name on a book and your words in print is just amazing – a true sense of achievement.
What would you say to your sixteen-year-old self if you could offer one word of advice or inspiration?
Write. You may come to a time when you feel lost and don’t know where to turn so just write – it’s what you have always loved and will continue to love.