Hi Louisa thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Thanks for having me here!
Below is my official bio, but basically I’ve been published for 5 years with Mills and Boon and now I’m spreading my wings a little and trying new things with my women’s fiction books.
Award-winning author Louisa George has been an avid reader her whole life. In between chapters she managed to fit in a BA degree in Communication Studies, trained as a nurse, married her doctor hero and had two sons. Now, she spends her days writing chapters of her own in the medical romance, contemporary romance and women’s fiction genres.
To date, she has 18 books available in ebook/print.
Louisa’s books have variously been nominated for the coveted RITA® Award and the NZ Koru Award (which she won in 2014 and 2016 for the Short Sexy Category) and translated into twelve languages. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand and, when not writing or reading, likes to travel, drink mojitos and do Zumba®- preferably all at the same time.
Why did you want to become a writer?
It was never a long-held burning ambition simply because I didn’t think people like me could be ‘writers’- that was something clever people did! But I did a creative writing course when I emigrated to New Zealand just so I could meet people and that ignited something in me and I couldn’t stop writing! I would still write even if my books didn’t get published.
Tell us a bit about your recent release.
The Secret Art of Forgiveness is my first book for Carina UK and I’m so excited about it!
Here’s the official blurb:
Living in a big city, means you can escape your past…
Until Emily Forrester is called back to Little Duxbury, the chocolate-box English village where she grew up – though it was anything but idyllic for the tearaway teenager. Her estranged step-father, a former high-court judge, is unwell and her step-sisters need her help.
It’s just a week, Emily tells herself, but faced with the lies – and hard truths – that drove her to leave in the first place is difficult enough. Having to cope with a step-father (and the only parent she has left) who is so unlike the man she remembers pushes Emily’s emotions in ways she hasn’t been tested in years – since her mother’s death.
They say home is where the heart is – but by the end of the week, Emily isn’t entirely sure which home that is.
What genre are your books?
The Secret Art of Forgiveness is women’s fiction, but I also write medical romance for Mills and Boon, contemporary romance for Tule Publishing, and I have also self-published two contemporary romances.
What draws you to this genre?
I love the Women’s Fiction genre because we have so much latitude to write about everything and anything that affects women; family, work, relationships, illness, divorce, marriage, kids etc….
Where do the your ideas come from? / What was the inspiration to write your most recent book?
The Secret Art of Forgiveness is essentially about a family coming to terms with illness, and a woman coming to terms with a patchwork family and her past. The illness is Alzheimer’s and it is something close to my heart as my mum has it. It is definitely challenging and hard to get your head around. I also look at ideas around what exactly is ‘home’ and ‘family’ and delve into how we have all probably done silly things in the past and how that might shape our future actions and relationships.
How much research do you do? / How do you research?
I do research as I go, e.g. if I need to give a sense of a location/setting or need to find out about a specific disease etc I will do a quick Google search as I need it. Otherwise I’d get bogged down with reading lots of interesting articles and books and never get my daily word count done!
Plotter or pantser? – Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Definitely a pantser- I tend to start with a very loose plot/idea and then write myself in to the story
Describe what a typical writing day involves for you. / Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I get up and do emails/facebook etc while having breakfast, go to the gym for a 9.30am class (depending on the day it’s Step or Zumba or something hideous called X55 which means step and toning) or I run with a friend for an hour. Then, shower and at my desk by 11.30am. I have a daily word count of 2,000 words, which I do Mon-Friday and then once those words are written I do work-related things such as blogging, marketing etc…
What’s the toughest part of the writing process for you?
It usually depends where I am in the process… by which I mean, if I’m at chapter 9 and get asked this question I’d likely reply chapter 9. If I was at chapter 3 I’d say chapter 3…you get the drift! Some days the words flow and some days they don’t.
What’s the most enjoyable part of writing?
Readers! I love getting emails/contact from my readers and knowing I’ve made someone smile.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I am more confident, I think, of trusting my instincts as to pacing etc
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?
Some days I get ‘stuck’ and I don’t know where I’m going with a story. When this happens I’ll go back to thinking about the core conflict or the core themes and bring the story back to that. This could take me a couple of days to figure out so in the meantime I’ll either write another chapter further along in the book (I still need to make my daily word count, blocked or not!) or I’ll go back and add layers to the earlier chapters and see if there’s anything there that can give me a eureka moment.
Out of all the wonderful books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
I adored this book, laughed and cried so hard-it’s wonderful and raw and fresh
What can we expect next from you?
I’m working on another women’s fiction book due out in April 2017 and I have a medical romance about surrogacy, set in New Zealand, due out in December 2017
Is there any particular writing advice you wish you’d been given at the start of your writing career?
Find your tribe, join a writing organization/facebook group/with like minded people and share your worries/joy/knowledge with people who understand you
Have you ever had a book rejected by a publisher / agent? How did you deal with it? How would you advise other authors to deal with rejection?
Yes, I had my very first manuscript rightfully rejected (it was terrible!) and, recently, I had a manuscript rejected by two agents. Rejection is part of the business so you have to learn to live with it. It’s not a reflection of YOU as a person, it’s a reflection of the market or it may just be that your book isn’t right for that particular organization. I have a rejection 24 hour rule: Shout. Have chocolate. Drink wine. Then dust yourself off and keep going!
You’re hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors/celebs would you invite? (alive or dead)
Gosh, this is a hard one!!!
JoJo Moyes, JK Rowling, Tom Hardy, Anne Boleyn (I’d love to know what the heck was really going on there!) and Oscar Wilde
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m having a bit of a thriller-fest at the moment; I See You by Clare Mackintosh (so good!!)
- If you had a superpower, what would it be? Teleporting, so I could be with my friends and family in UK in an instant rather than a 28 hour flight!
- What secret talents do you have? I teach Zumba!
- What is your favourite motivational phrase?
From Nora Roberts, on writing:
‘My top three pieces of writing advice? Stop whining and write. Stop f***ing around and write. Stop making excuses and write.’
- What is your favourite film and why? Love Actually …because Colin Firth and Liam Neeson
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Thanks so much for a fabulous interview, Louisa!