I admire writers…I always have. Being an avid reader, it constantly amazes me that people can sit at a computer and create story arcs and dialogue and characters. To know someone that has actually done this, is nothing short of inspirational. I know that I write this little blog, but creating a book out of thin air and taking the time and the discipline to see the story through to the end is not within my skill set. Luckily, I know Jacquelyn Middleton (JM), author of “London Belongs to Me” and even though I will never write a novel, I wanted to share her advice with you, my lovely readers, in case any of you were thinking about where to start. Since she also writes magazine articles, I’m keeping that advice in too!
Q: How long did it take you to write the book and what was your process?
JM: Just over a year start to finish. I came up with the characters and idea before I wrote the actual book. I made bibles on each character. I read books that related to my writing experience. I needed to learn structure, character development, story arcs, scenes, and acts. I knew nothing and had no formal training! I used highlighters and sticky notes to keep organized. I always wanted to be a writer and I built the story from the ground up.
Q: How did you know when you were done?
JM: You just have to stop. I could still be writing and editing the book because it’s never perfect. I read and edited it so many times. I did have a great support system thanks to my family and friends. My husband even read the book backwards to help with the editing. I just knew that I wanted to create a book that I’d want to read.
Q: What does writing success mean for you?
JM: With “London Belongs to Me” it was just getting it done and having it in my hands. When I received the first proof, I knew that even if no one reads it, that’s a feeling that no one can take away from me. It’s so special.
Q: How did you go about getting your book published?
JM: It’s self-published under Kirkwall Books. There are many self-publishing companies out there.
Q: What’s the difference in the process for writing a book versus a magazine?
JM: It’s very different. Magazines are fact based and fact checked, where books can be fictional. Each is telling a different type of story. Magazine articles are based on different types of interests like health, fitness, travel, pets and sometimes interviews and again, based on fact.
Q: If you were to give your 20 year old self advice on your future career, what would it be?
JM: You can do it, don’t be scared – just try. I didn’t think that I could finish a book before, I was afraid of failure. I tried writing in other ways like the Leaf’s Newsletter (a hockey newsletter) and was the editor of my high school newspaper. Now, I’ve got “London Belongs to Me”.
Q: What would you say to people who want to write a book or magazines articles and don’t know where to start?
JM: Just do it! Remember though, that the magazine industry is shrinking and writing for web is the new reality.
Q: Last question – what are your favourite books?
JM: “Charlotte’s Web” is my favourite childhood book. Karen Swan’s “Christmas at Tiffany’s” is a favourite. “You Had Me at Hello” by Mhairi McFarlane is great Women’s Fiction. I just love reading a book because you get to see how the characters are cast in your head as you visualize who you think they are.
Get London Belongs to Me on October 14th when it goes on sale. You can also pre-order it now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Waterstones, Foyles, Indigo, and Chapters! Just a couple of more days until you get to read this amazing first novel. Thanks again Jackie for being such an inspiration and for answering all of my questions.