Yesterday, I did an author event at Blackwell's Universty Bookshop, Leeds, talking about my historical fantasy novel, Silver Hands. Seeing as only people who were available at 2pm in
Leeds could be there on the day, I thought I would post the answers to one or two Frequently Asked Questions about Silver Hands and writing in general.
Q: How long did it take you to write Silver Hands?
A: I got the first ideas for the story after reading The Handless Maiden in Grimm's Fairy Tales in 2007. I started actually writing down the story in June 2009. I finished editing and started submitting in 2011, and the book was published in 2013.
Q: How do you discipline yourself/Do you have a writing routine?
A: I always find this question hard to answer, as I think my feelings about writing are more devotion than discipline. I would rather be writing than doing anything else, but sometimes it is hard to get motivated because of anxiety/depression. The best advice I ever had for that situation was, "if you feel too tired or dispirited, aim to write 10 words." You usually end up writing more. Also, I don't separate my writing life from other aspects of life, such as household chores. For example, I'm writing this blog in the launderette!
Q: Is it worth taking a creative writing degree/module?
A: Again, hard to answer, because I have never taken one. The university I attended had dropped creative writing from the English degree by the time I got to the year when it would have been an option. I know other writers who have taken them and seemed to get a lot out of them, but I am wary of relying on creative writing degrees alone, as a path to professional writing. I have learned on the job, attending ad hoc workshops and conferences at the same time as writing and submitting, and I think there's a lot to be said for that.
A: Do you write longhand or on the computer?
Q: This question always slightly baffles me as to why people think it is important, but it's not hard to answer. When I started submitting 10 years back, I wrote everything with a pencil and paper, and then typed up, editing as I typed. (I can touch type quite fast). Nowadays, I use the iPad a lot. I have a stylus and an app that converts handwriting, and I generally have my manuscripts on Google docs, which saves a lot of time and faffing about.
If you have any burning questions you want to ask me, just leave them in the comments box. All the details about Silver Hands can be found here: