Want to know what goes into a great book from behind the scenes? Phillipa Ashley gives us 10 insights to her work ethic and lifestyle..
You will be able to pick up Spring On The Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley on the 19th February 2018.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – my writing habits
1. I use a fresh A5 notebook for every new book for brainstorming plots and characters. Sometimes I struggle to read back my own scrawl but if it’s got a big star by it, or I’ve drawn a box or written YESSSS!!! In capitals, I know that idea will probably make the cut. Sometimes, though, I realise that it was a rubbish idea after all.
2. I always try to do some of my research ‘hands on’. For the Flower Farm. This involved actually visiting flower farmers on the Isles of Scilly. En route between the two, the heavens opened and I was absolutely soaked. Hence the photo of me on the tractor in waterproof trousers with frizzy hair. Although my hair is often that messy to be honest, but I don’t tend to wear waterproof trousers at home.
3. I used to use my office to write but these days I prefer to sit on the sofa where I can see my garden. This breaks all the rules of having an ergonomic workspace and is perilously close to the kitchen…
4. Now I’m a full-time author, I try to have weekends off with my family and also take a break in the middle of the day by getting outside if possible. I love to walk, jog and swim but if I had my way, I’d go bodyboarding every lunchtime on a Cornish beach. This is not feasible when you live as far from the sea as it’s possible to get in England.
5. I like to warm-up my writing muscles with some social media. Unfortunately, the warm-up can last until coffee time. Then I panic and write furiously until I’m starving and thirsty.
6. Sometimes I watch Bargain Hunt when I could be writing.
7. Sometimes I am so caught up with my story, I can’t see the keyboard any more because it has gone dark.
8. Sometimes the postman catches me in my dressing gown.
9. Occasionally I am still in my dressing gown when Bargain Hunt comes on.
10. Even though Flower Farm is my 18th published novel, there are still moments when I look at my notebook full of scrawl and ask myself : Is this really the right way to write a novel? Surely I ought to have a system, post-it notes, an Excel spreadsheet…
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