Welcome to the one hundred and fifty-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today’s is with romance and hopefully-soon-to-be crime writer Sally Clements. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello Sally. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Sally: I live in Ireland, and have always written, although it was only about five years ago that I decided to do so full time, and really apply myself!
Morgen: Yay! Well done. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Sally: I write romance, and also crime, although I haven’t had any crime published (yet!)
Morgen: ‘Yet’ absolutely – let me know when you do and I’ll put an update in here. 🙂 What have you had published to-date? If applicable, can you remember where you saw your first books on the shelves?
Sally: My first book, Catch Me A Catch, was published on 27 July 2010, and since then I’ve published Bound to Love, Marrying Cade, and a book of short stories, New Beginnings.
Morgen: Ah, short stories – my first love. 🙂 How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Sally: I’m published mostly in ebook format, so I’d have to say I do most of the marketing myself!
Morgen: A lot of authors do these days, including myself. 🙂 Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions and do you think they help with a writer’s success?
Sally: I was a finalist in this year’s Joan Hessayon Award from the RNA for Catch Me A Catch, which hasn’t impacted at all on sales, but has done wonders to raise my profile as a working writer.
Morgen: It’s all going in the right direction and RNA is very well-known, although I’m assuming you mean The Romantic Novelists’ Association rather than The Royal Naval Association (next to each other on a Google search). 🙂 You mentioned eBooks, are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Sally: My books are all available as eBooks, I think it’s a growing market, and I’m thrilled to be part of it. I have a kindle, and it’s stuffed!
Morgen: I’m hoping to be a part of it in the next few weeks. What was your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?
Sally: My first acceptance was for a short story that I had published with New Love Stories Magazine in New York. I’m always on cloud nine to receive an acceptance!
Morgen: Me too. 🙂 Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Sally: I’ve had a lot of rejections. I find it easier to deal with them now, but I think it’s important to realise that every writer gets them. I usually mourn for a couple of days and overindulge on chocolate, then read the rejection again and see what I can learn from it. It isn’t always that the writing needs work, but perhaps I’ve submitted something to the wrong person – something that doesn’t suit their requirements.
Morgen: chocolate? Banoffee Pie in my case (well, it would probably have to be chocolate as I don’t keep Banoffee Pie in the house because I’d eat it regardless of what the postman brought :)). What are you working on at the moment / next?
Sally: Currently I’m finishing edits (and waiting for a cover) for my new release by The Wild Rose Press, which is a novella entitled ‘Love On The Vine’ which should be out in the next month or so. I’m also writing a new one.
Morgen: Great! Do let me know when it’s out and I can put an update in here – ooh I could put them on my Books/other-people’s page. Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Sally: I try to write every day, but often don’t manage to! When I’m not writing, I at least try to think about my story, tease out the next bit before writing it. I think the largest bit I’ve written was 11,000 in three days…I was under a tight schedule!
Morgen: Sounds like a NaNoWriMo schedule, which I’ll be doing (fourth time) in… um, in 19 days. What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Sally: I often think what I’ve written isn’t good enough. But I just keep on writing. I believe that the first draft can be difficult to write, but if you have words on the page you can rewrite them, and make them right.
Morgen: Exactly. A fellow Script Frenzy (April 2010) writer said that you couldn’t edit a blank page and it’s so true. Nothing’s wasted if it can be crafted. A question some authors dread, where do you get your inspiration from?
Sally: Like most authors, I have a notebook and write down anything and everything that gives me an itch. Often looking back through my notebooks sparks a story into life. Newspapers, StumbleUpon, and magazines can be great.
Morgen: I’ve heard StumbleUpon mentioned a few times, I really must take a proper look. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Sally: A bit of both 🙂 I’m a natural pantster, so I tend to start writing, then plot loosely, and continue writing.
Morgen: I’ve heard ‘pantster’ a few times in these interviews, it’s fast becoming my favourite of the moment. 🙂 Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?
Sally: I always write on computer – although I might sketch ideas out in a notebook.
Morgen: Yeah, I’m pretty much the same. Some writers like quiet, others the noise of a coffee shop etc. Do you listen to music or have noise around you when you write or do you need silence?
Sally: I listen to a writing playlist that I design for each book. I wear earphones and type away!
Morgen: Ditto – so it doesn’t wake the dog, although if it’s classical I play through the laptop… he loves it. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
Sally: I write in third person.
Morgen: Sensible, the most popular genre (I’m weird, I love second :)). Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Sally: Plenty! Some of my earlier work, although much loved by me, is too amateur to see the light of day.
Morgen: See earlier reference to ‘crafted’. 🙂 If anything, what has been your biggest surprise about writing?
Sally: The amount of marketing and non-writing related work that you have to do. I’d love to just write, but unfortunately you have to sell stories too!
Morgen: Yep, I know that feeling… and I think most writers reading this will empathise with you. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Sally: Keep writing. Don’t give up. You’ll get better as time goes on. Also be careful who you ask for advice – friends and family might not be the best readers!
Morgen: Absolutely (non-writing friends: “this is great” / family (mother): “this is dreadful”… or words to that effect). Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful and would recommend?
Sally: The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman is a fantastic resource, full of great advice.
Hooked by Les Edgerton which deals with making your story irresistible from the get go.
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
All great books. There is a wealth of fabulous writing websites out there too: www.writing.ie and http://thedarksalon.blogspot.com are both great ones to check out.
Morgen: Brilliant, thank you. 🙂 Where can we find out about you and your work?
Sally: My blog, www.sallyclements.blogspot.com, and I’m also on twitter, @sallywriter, and have a bio on my author page at Amazon.com.
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Sally: I think the future for a writer is very bright. It’s easier than ever to get noticed, with the opportunities available now, and good writing, professional editing, and a great cover will do much to get you noticed as a writer.
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Sally: I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank you, Morgen, for inviting me onto your blog. I really appreciate it!
Morgen: You’re so welcome Sally. It’s been great getting to know a little about you and your writing methods. Given that the majority of these interviews use the same questions, it amazes me how different they can be. 🙂
I then invited Sally to include an excerpt of her writing and this is from ‘Marrying Cade’.
She straightened. Long chestnut hair shot with caramel lights was piled up on top of her head. A couple of tendrils had escaped to dust against the smooth, tanned skin of her cheek. Large sunglasses covered her eyes, and her full mouth formed a perfect bow. She locked the car and sashayed into the hotel, hips swaying in the tight blue cotton sheath. Cade breathed out the breath he’d been holding, shaken by the surge of arousal the mere sight of the woman had awoken. It had been too long since he’d had a female in his arms. It must be, if the mere look of a gorgeous woman had him this hot and bothered.
She must be meeting her lover. Women didn’t dress like that unless they were meeting a man. Cade glanced at his watch, wondering if he’d have to rescue Adam from the hotel’s owner, just as Adam arrived with plateful of antipasti. He wasn’t alone. The bombshell with the killer curves walked next to him, right up to the table. Cade pushed back the chair, and stood up.
“Hey, Cade. Our ride is here. I’ve persuaded her to join us for a drink and a snack before we go back to the house.” Adam eyed him carefully. “You remember Melo?”
Update July 2012: This year, I published 3 new books: The Morning After, Challenging Andie and tomorrow (11 July) Love on the Vine. Marrying Cade (which just came out in June) is also available in paperback.
I am running a competition via Twitter (I’m @sallywriter) which will use the hashtag #loveonthevine on the 12 July – where I will ask people to go to my blog and read the blurb and excerpt, and then tweet the answer to a number of questions. For the first correct answer to each question, I will contact the person and offer them a free ebook copy that they can choose from my other full length books, Bound to Love, Catch Me A Catch, Challenging Andie, The Morning After or Marrying Cade. Bound to Love is free for the kindle on 13-15 July, and The Morning After will be free 30 July-1 August.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
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