One of the many (too many) books I’m in the middle of reading at the moment is Patently in Love by Rhoda Baxter. I was sent it to review and that will be up later in the week. Suffice to say right now that I’m enjoying it. I was also offered the opportunity to interview Rhoda for my blog which I’m very excited about as it’s my first author interview on my blog.
About Rhoda Baxter
Rhoda Baxter started off in the South of England and pinged around the world a bit until she ended up in the North of England, where the cakes are better. Along the way she collected one husband, two kids, a few (ahem) extra stone in weight and a DPhil in molecular biology (but not necessarily in that order). She had a childhood ambition to be an astronaut or at least 5 feet tall. Having failed at both of these, she now writes humourous novels instead.
Her first novel, Patently in Love was a contender for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award and was a top ten finalist in the 2012 Preditors and Editors poll for romance reads. Her second novel is Having a Ball and her third novel, Dr January will be published by Choc Lit Publishing in autumn 2014.
She can be found wittering on about science, comedy and cake on her website www.rhodabaxter.com or on Facebook or Twitter (@rhodabaxter).
What are the best and worst things about being a writer? (or best and worst moments?)
The best moments with each book is at the start, when suddenly there’s a story you’re itching to write. The characters are there, in your mind, not 100% found yet, but getting clearer each day. You have The Concept. It’s exciting. It’s going to be the best book you’ve ever written. At that point in time no one can persuade you not to write this book.
The worst point comes about 40000 words later, when you’ve hit the ‘saggy middle’. Suddenly, this book is hard. It just won’t get straight in your head. It’s fiddly. It’s impossible to write and it’s TERRIBLE. Julie Cohen (fabulous author and teacher of creative writing) calls this the ‘suckage point’. All the writers I know get this. The only thing you can do is to keep going and hope you can edit the rubbish bits out when you’ve got to the end.
Where do you get your ideas for your books from?
The idea usually start with the characters. I have a character in mind, usually a minor one from a previous book, but not always, and I want to know more about them. I don’t really know where these characters come from. I try not to analyse it too much in case they stop.
What do you do when you’ve no motivation to write or have the dreaded writers block?
Ah. Writer’s block. I’ve got a solution for this one. Sit down and write. I have very little writing time as I have to fit it in between a day job and looking after two kids. So when I’m sitting down in front of the laptop, I don’t have the luxury of being unable to write. I just have to do it.
No motivation on the other hand is a problem. Usually, at the editing stage (did I mention that a large part of the writing process is rewriting?). When I’m at this stage, I tend to do a lot of online shopping and (to the delight of my family) baking and cleaning. Anything to avoid the editing. But still, it needs to be done, so at some point I knuckle down and do it. At least by then I’ve got a good supply of cake and a nice clean house to keep me going.
I see you post books reviews on your blog. Who is your favourite author or your favourite book and why?
I’m not sure I could name my favourite book! It’s too cruel. I don’t want all the other books to think that I love them less. If I pick a favourite author on the basis that I reread their books a lot, I’d choose Terry Pratchett. I’ve read these books over and over and I still love them. If you want to see how a writer matures, read the Discworld series in order of publication. You can see the progression from light, funny and gag driven books to deep, complex and character driven (still funny, but the jokes are more sophisticated).
What’s the one thing you haven’t written about yet but would like to?
Oh goodness, there are so many things. I find it difficult to write about things that affect me personally – which isn’t surprising, I suppose- so I prefer to write about issues that interest me on a less visceral level. Dr January (out in autumn 2014) tackles emotional abuse and bullying in the workplace (with jokes and romance, obviously). I’m planning my 2014 book at the moment and I’m thinking of making it about father daughter relationships.
Have you always wanted to be a writer or did you have another dream job in mind as a child?
My dream jobs when I was a child were Astronaut, Scientist, Writer and Bookshop owner. I’m too short and have crappy eyesight, so I can’t be an astronaut. I was a scientist and still work in a related field. My parents always said I should get a real job first and then write in my spare time. I hate to say it, but they’re right. I don’t think I’d give up my day job even if I could afford to (which I can’t). It gives me the chance to interact with real people and makes me think about things that I wouldn’t normally have noticed. It gives me things to write about.
I think I’ve changed my mind about being a bookshop owner now. I think two out of four is enough.
If you achieve one main goal in 2014 what do you hope it’ll be?
I’d like to do a talk in front of a real audience. Dr January will be the first book I’ve had out in paperback (the others are ebooks), so I’ve not had a reason to do talks until now. I find the thought fairly petrifying – what if I fluff my words or go on stage with my dress tucked in my knickers or something?
As far as writing goals are concerned, I’d like to write a novel and one novella this year. I’ve never written a novella before. It would be a challenge.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog. It’s been a pleasure.
I hope you enjoy reading Patently in Love. I certainly had a lot of fun writing it.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Rhoda!