Julia Williams, Author of A Brief Encounter, Coming Home For Christmas and many more fantastic novels has popped by today to kick of the blog tour for her new novel Make a Christmas Wish and share with us her writing traditions. As an avid reader I always love finding out how different authors like to write and the processes they go though in order to produce the books we love.
Julia has always made up stories in her head, and until recently she thought everyone else did too. She grew up in London, one of eight children, including a twin sister. She married Dave, a dentist, in 1989, and they have four daughters. After the birth of the second Julia decided to try her hand at writing. Since then she has written 8 hugely popular novels, selling over a quarter of a million copies in the UK alone, and hitting the Sunday Times bestseller list. Over to Julia!
My writing traditions… – Julia Williams
I would like to say I am a super organised writer, who gets up religiously at 7am, sits at her desk at 9am, and works solidly until 5pm when I have done my day’s quota. However, that would be an out-and-out lie.
Although in my head I am a super organised, disciplined and focussed kind of writer, in reality, I’m … not.
I don’t have a problem with ideas. I have got more ideas than I know what to do with (yes, yes, I know, very lucky position to be in and all that, but I wish I had more time to execute them).
When I do get an idea I like, I tend to jot down random thoughts as they occur to me. For example the book I’m about to start writing has a couple of pages of notes, revolving round the notion of the happily married heroine considering the road untravelled, and wondering what would have happened if she had taken a different path…
So that’s my starting point. But that’s not a story.
I need to give my heroine a family – so she has a husband, and two teenage children, plus elderly parents who drop a bombshell on her at the beginning of the book.
She also has a feckless brother, and a sister who’s lost her way, and their stories will probably weave themselves into the narrative at some point, though I don’t quite know how or why yet.
And she is a picture book writer/illustrator, writing a story about an angel who has lost her way. Needless to say that part of my heroine’s life is not going well, which coincides with her personal life imploding.
And that’s all I have.
Now if I were an organised kind of writer, I’d get plotting and planning – but frustratingly I seem to spend months when I could be productive vacillating, and unable to focus on a proper narrative in a way that never feels in the slightest bit productive.
I used to say I was procrastinating, till a very wise friend said, “No you’re not, you’re processing.” And it’s true, that’s what I’m doing. Because during my vacillating period, slowly somewhere in the back of my brain in a way I don’t really understand my story is taking shape.
Eventually I find that I can get down to it, I sort out a structure (I don’t always follow it, but it’s a useful starting point) and off I go.
Even then it’s not straightforward. I tend to labour over the early chapters, while the deadline starts looming over me. However stressful that is (and boy, it is!) I always seem to take it to the wire. I wish it weren’t that way, but that seems to be the way I work.
The ending always seems to flow out in a rush, so I always have to go back and slow that bit of the story down, but I really enjoy the adrenaline push of getting to the end.
And then I’m stupidly sad, because I’ve finished.
Except I haven’t, as thanks to the messy nature of my writing process, I will need to do massive rewrites.
But that’s another story…
Make a Christmas Wish is out in Paperback today, make you pop on other to the other stops on the tour to find out more about Julia and her novel.
Make A Christmas Wish :
Last Christmas, when Livvy was knocked down in the supermarket car park, she certainly wasn’t ready to actually be dead! For months now she’s floated on the edge of the afterlife, generally making anuisance of herself.
And she’s not ready to go just yet! She’s furious about the new woman in her husband’s life and she’s worried about her beloved son who doesn’t seem to be adjusting to life without her at all.
This Christmas, Livvy is given one last magical chance to make everything right. Will she take it and give her family the perfect Christmas?
Perfect for fans of CAROLE MATTHEWS, TRISHA ASHLEY and JENNY COLGAN