Today I’d like to welcome Heather Garside to the Blog.
Heather’s latest release Breakaway Creek is now available as an ebook and in print.
Thanks so much for joining me on Flying Pony Heather and congratulations on Breakaway Creek.
1.What activities (other than writing) get your creative juices flowing?
Listening to music, being outdoors, reading if it’s something that inspires me emotionally. When I was younger and spent many hours on horseback, mustering, I’d use the slow times to plot my stories!
2. What sort of writing routine do you have – disciplined or undisciplined, regular or erratic, focused or easily distracted?
I’m not particularly disciplined, unfortunately. I’ve always been erratic about applying myself to writing as my schedule varies so much with the different things I do. It just doesn’t work to try to write to a regular timetable. Once I’m ‘in the zone’, though, I’m very focussed. I’m likely to completely forget what time it is.
3. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if so what do you do about it?
I have suffered many periods in my life when I haven’t felt like writing. I’m not sure if writers’ block is the correct term for it. If it’s really necessary to write, I think the only way forward is to force yourself to do it.
4. Which aspects of the writing life do you most love?
There are many things – holding a new book in my hands for the first time… receiving letters or emails from readers who say they’ve loved my story… interacting with other writers… seeing my new cover for the first time… the list goes on.
5.Which aspects do least love (or detest!)?
The times when I just don’t want to write! I’m also very sensitive about self-promotion as I’m always afraid of annoying people or of seeming too pushy.
6. What books and writers have most influenced your own writing?
As a teenager I devoured westerns, which I’m sure has influenced my historical stories set in Australia. Then I discovered Georgette Heyer and fell in love with the romance genre. There were all the horse books, too, such as Mary O’Hara’s My Friend Flicka series which I absolutely loved and must read again one day.
7. Can you describe for us your writing process, from getting the original idea to completed manuscript?
I don’t have any mapped-out process. My first two novels weren’t pre-plotted at all, but I did plot my second two. I’m having trouble with the plotting process of my current WIP and I really need to apply myself to it! One thing I do is lots of revisions and re-writing as I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
8. Describe your path to publication.
I finished my first novel at the age of twenty-one and after submitting to numerous publishers, including one who said they’d very nearly accepted it, I self-published. I started another novel immediately but having my children got in the way and I didn’t write for many years. In 2007 The Cornstalk was accepted by Wings ePress, A Hidden Legacy a few months later.
I submitted to mainstream publishers again with Breakaway Creek and had the full manuscript requested a couple of times. I entered it in the QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program and was thrilled to be a finalist. All the time I was improving the story and it was finally accepted by Clan Destine Press late last year.
9. What advice would you give to writers who are working towards publication?
Keep writing, keep learning by attending workshops, writers’ conferences… whatever is available. Join a writers’ group or online critique group. I’ve done all of these things. The information is so much more accessible, thanks to the internet, than it was when I first started writing.
Most of all, keep an open mind and be prepared to accept constructive criticism. I’ve seen some writers who will never progress because they refuse to change a word of their writing! I know it can be difficult but accepting and appreciating critiques and editing is another skill that has to be learned.