For most part an author’s job is about sitting at the desk and just getting the words written down. It’s a solitary profession and I think being an only child fitted me perfectly for it. My first book was published in 2006 and I’ve just finished writing my eighteenth novel and I have no idea how that happened.
I’m ready to start work every morning at nine – I’m an owl rather than a lark. I’m not someone who can write in cafés or in the garden; I have two places where I feel comfortable, my office and my ‘American Diner’ summer house. I ‘warm up’ to the work by checking what’s happening on Twitter etc as a strong media presence helps you as an author. And I always respond to emails from readers, though it’s becoming harder as I’m getting more and more. I love opening my emails because I get invited to some amazing events or I might find a new deal has been struck on my behalf and my books are going to be sold in another country. I’m asked to do a lot of public speaking too – all the stuff around writing a book would be a full time job in itself if I let it.
I use Mondays to compose my column for the local newspaper and any longer articles or short stories I’ve been asked to do. I write until about five or six on a normal day, though if a deadline is looming, I have been known to work through the night.
At book launch time, the writing routine goes out of the window and every day is different. I have to journey out to radio stations for interviews, catch the train down to London for meetings with the publisher, attend signings all over the country. I have a fabulous Romantic Novelist ceremony to attend because I’m receiving an award. I have photographers in the house, live video broadcasts to make, to go meet interviewers for lunch. I have an author panel event in London, then early the next morning I’m on Sky TV, then I’m straight to Kent to sign thousands of my new novel, then back to London to attend a friend’s swanky book launch – all the sexy stuff that people think authors have day in, day out. I work incredibly hard, but it doesn’t feel like work at all – I’m so lucky. I’ve just started an exercise and fitness regime, and changed my diet as I want to stick around and keep enjoying this great career.
I absolutely love my job but it can be obsessive and I’m getting better at cutting off and relaxing. My partner and I walk the dog in the evening then chill out with a pile of cats on our knees and a box set. My really happy place is in the bath reading someone else’s book, preferably a bath on a cruise ship heading for the Med.
My One True North by Milly Johnson is out now, published by Simon & Schuster in hardback, priced £14.99.
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