My desk faces the garden, and occasionally the squirrels that live nearby will try and distract me (they’ve even played with my son’s football). I’m too easily distracted though, so I have to close the blinds, turn off the radio and the television.

11 MIssed Calls

11 MIssed Calls

My day starts with rushing about getting my son ready for school. When home, I potter about and procrastinate for as long as possible before opening the laptop. I plan a few chapters ahead, so I always know what I’m about to write; this helps avoid staring at a blank screen. I’m not one of these writers who stops mid-sentence, though, as I’d forget what the other half was meant to be. This is the same with ideas – I have to write them down (usually in the ‘notes’ app on my phone). I used to come up with ‘great’ ideas – so good, I thought, I’ll never forget them. But, you’ve guessed it: they totally removed themselves from my memory just hours, or even minutes, after.

My second novel, 11 Missed Calls, was inspired by an article I read a few years ago in which a mother had been missing for over twenty years, leaving behind her husband and children. A private investigator took it upon himself to research the case, and found the missing woman living in another town, leading a new life. She didn’t want any contact with her family. I tend to get most of my ideas for a starting point from newspaper articles.

I find the first chapter always the hardest to write – it has to get a reader hooked but deliver enough information without too much flowery description that will bore a reader. Inevitably, this chapter will have the most re-writes, especially after I’ve finished the whole thing. Sometimes I’ll get to a point in the book where I have no idea where it’s going to go – even though I know the ending. This is when I’ll brainstorm ideas, either on my lovely new white board, or with my writing friends (who enjoy distraction as much as I do).

I write for about thirty minutes at a time, with ten-minute breaks, when I’ll check emails and social media. I try to remember to turn the sound off my phone, otherwise it’s pinging all the time and I don’t need any excuses to have another break. After lunch though, I usually get cabin fever, so go for a walk with an audio book.

Any writing routine goes to pot, however, when it’s the school holidays, and I write in the evenings, even if I don’t really feel like it. It took me nearly two years to write my first manuscript (that will never be read) and looking back, that was such a luxury. But I love writing and I feel very lucky that my books have been published. It really is a dream come true, and I still have to pinch myself sometimes.

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