Note: I’ll be posting over at Jules tomorrow! Be sure to stop by for the latest celebrity gossip!
Here at Unedited we have the wonderful and talented Miranda Dickinson has stopped by my blog today just in time for the holidays! Her novels Fairytale of New York and Welcome to My World are perfect for the upcoming holiday!
I haven’t done an interview in a while and thought with the approaching holiday it would be perfect so you can snag your copy in time for Christmas!
How long have you been writing?
I've always written stories for as long as I could write. When I was younger, most of these were impossibly awful and rarely went much past Chapter One (this became a joke with my family that I would one day have a library of Chapter Ones...) I started writing what became Fairytale of New York as something to amuse myself about nine years ago. A friend gave me a very decrepit PC that I absolutely loved for all its stubborn crankiness and one day I started writing a paragraph which kept growing. I kept coming back to it over the following couple of years and more words came... I'm very much an 'accidental novelist' because I only realised I was writing a novel when I did a word count and discovered I'd written 60,000 words!
In 2008, I uploaded my incomplete manuscript onto Authonomy.com - HarperCollins' site for unpublished authors - just to see if anyone else on their thought what I'd written was any good. To my amazement, it was discovered by an editor from Avon (part of HarperCollins) and I signed a three-book deal in January 2009. Fairytale became a Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller and has sold over 105,000 copies to date... I'm still coming to terms with the fact that I can now call myself a published author - it really is a dream come true!
Has it always been romance?
Actually, no. I have two novels I'm still writing that are more in the vein of Neil Gaiman, Jasper Forde and Sir Terry Pratchett, all of whom I am massively in awe of. Of course, I am an unashamedly girlie romantic, so a bit of romance always creeps in, but I would say that comedy is my first love. One day, I'd love to be able to publish my other work - just to show I can write more than one genre - so if you see a novel about a 3,000 year-old mystical wombat, or a crack squad of undercover tea lady spies you'll know I succeeded!
You can read these two at Authonomy.com:
The wombat story
The tea ladies
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
I love it when characters arrive out of nowhere. I remember reading Stephen King's On Writing when I first realised I was becoming serious about writing, and in it he said to be prepared for your characters to misbehave and surprise you. That's certainly true for me, but I adore the journey of creating something out of nothing. I also just adore being a storyteller - weaving in things I've noticed, memories from my own life and stories I've overheard from others into this amazing, living world that people will get to wander in... It's magical.
How do you come up with your characters names?
Lots of different ways! Sometimes they just turn up already named, other times I search things like magazines and newspapers for interesting first names and surnames to put together. Film credits are awesome for inspiring names - so that's a good excuse to lose myself in a good rom-com for a couple of hours (research, you know!)
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Write for yourself first and foremost. If you love what you're writing, other people will love it too. Write a first draft, warts and all, and then go back to polish it. My biggest mistake in the beginning was editing as I went along - hence the fact it took over seven years to complete the first draft of Fairytale of New York! Just enjoy the creative part as much as you can and let your imagination run free. Some of the best things I've written were serendipitous happenings that ended up shaping the story. Surprise yourself and you'll surprise your readers too. Lastly, never ever lose faith in your writing. The very fact that I am a published author today is down to just being in the right place at the right time. I just made sure I was 'out there' and happened to get noticed by someone who happened to be looking. I don't have an agent, I'd never sent my manuscript off to a publisher or agent before (I didn't have the nerve!) and yet it happened for me. That means it can happen for you, too. So keep believing in yourself and love your writing.
Fun & Random Questions
Hot cocoa or Hot Tea: Always hot tea! I'm a true Brit in that respect.
Snow or Rain: It has to be snow. I love it. I'm like the biggest kid when it snows.
Favorite ice cream: There's an ice cream company in Wales called Cadwalader's who make the best ice cream in the world - I always treat myself to a couple of scoops when I visit. Other than that, Ben & Jerry's Phish Food is irresistible!
Favorite book: I know it's a cliche, but Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is the most perfect book. I come back to it every year. It has everything: social observation, wit, intrigue, brilliant characters and the classic 'will-they-won't-they' rollercoaster. I adore it.
Favorite time of year: Color: autumn. But I also love winter - partly for the snow, partly because my birthday's in January and partly because I am a huge fan of Christmas.
Crazy fun ornament tree or elegant and simple: Probably somewhere in between!
Are you guilty of playing Christmas music early: *holds up hands, blushes* Absolutely, guilty as charged... I'm a bit of a traditional girl - you can't beat a bit of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra at Christmas! I have an old CD I picked up in a pound shop a couple of years ago that I play every year - and every year it sneaks onto my CD player earlier and earlier...
So there you have it, she’s a kid at heart, who enjoys snow, romance and playing Christmas music early. Who wouldn’t love her! Make sure to check out her uber awesome blog and purchase her books (trust me on this one, you will NOT be disappointed!)