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Archive for April, 2016

Welcome, Lottie Thorn …

Can you tell me a little about yourself? (inc if you use a pen name)

Hilary Lepine~author bio

Lottie Thorn is a pen name, which I’m using for this children’s story. I initially trained as a teacher, and worked mostly in special needs, including adults. I have worked in mental health as well, but am now “sort-of” retired, though apart from indulging myself in writing, I also help my husband run our heating and plumbing business. I’m also a trained complementary therapist.

What was the first story you wrote?

A short story in 2002, for Christmas, about Santa and Rudolph foiling a kidnap plot, and catching a couple of criminals. I didn’t do anything with it in terms of submission. I’ve only ever submitted one story to a magazine, and got the big “R” letter!

Were you inspired by someone or something?

In 2002, I did my first and great course with Dorothy Courtis, a local writer, who writes under the name of Dorothy Stewart. It was stimulating, informative and fun, and indeed inspired me. In 2007 and 2008 I did a couple of short courses with Cambridge University Extra Mural Studies with Teresa Benison, author of contemporary and historical fiction. More recently, I spent a couple of years with another amazing and inspirational writer, Jan Farmery.

Latterly, I belong to a writers’ group called Waveney Author Group, who are mutually supportive, and always ready to listen, review or come up with suggestions for words, phrases or titles. (It’s surprising how tricky it can be to find a title sometimes!). It was a writing course run by Suzan Collins, founder of WAG and Get Writing (www.getwriting.co.uk), that eventually inspired and nurtured me through publication of my children’s book.

Why do you write?

I just can’t help myself! I’ve always loved it. For many years, most of my writing was academic – I just couldn’t get enough! Give me a five thousand word essay, and I was away! But I’d always harboured this fantasy about writing a book….

Can you tell us about your newest book?

It’s a short story for young children, called “Mabel and the Little Star”, beautifully illustrated in cartoon style.

Hilary's book using snipping tool

How did you come up with the story?

I didn’t set out to write a children’s story. It started out as a bit of a humorous protest at some of the congregation at the church I go to, who mentioned the word “mousetrap” after they discovered the harvest sheaf of wheat had been decimated by the resident mouse! It just sort of morphed into a children’s story!

What genre best fits for the book?

Young children

Do you have someone to critique your work?

Yes, Jan Farmery is a highly constructive and creative critic, who deals very firmly with my tendency to overwrite, and Jo Wilde is a great editor.

Are you working on something new at the moment?

I’m working at the moment on an historical novel, inspired by a visit to Walpole Chapel, near Halesworth, in Suffolk, near to where I live.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Read! Read all you can, gives you a feel of language, and how it is used by successful authors. Be prepared to edit, edit, edit! And don’t be afraid to “murder your darlings” as Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch put it! Sometimes those characters, phrases or paragraphs have just got to go. Be very clear that every word moves the story in the right direction. And write every day, doesn’t matter what, actually. Just keep writing!

What is your writing routine?

Frankly, a bit chaotic! With the exception of my early mornings, which are structured and routine. I get up at 5am so I can have a fifteen minute meditation, and around an hour and a half writing before I take the dogs on the beach for about an hour. Mornings are my best time. I can’t do evenings – I’m a lark, not an owl! But I do know it’s a discipline, and distractions are ever-present!

Do you have an editing process?

I do my first draft in longhand. Then I put it on my beloved laptop (what would I do without that?!). This is a second draft, where I make adjustments and amendments. I go through it again. Probably leave it for a while and come back to it. At some stage, I will read it out loud – you hear a lot of things that don’t work that way. I’m often up to five or six drafts.

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

Least – staring at the blank page! Most – watching the pencil (I only write in pencil or sometimes fountain pen, can’t stand ball points!) gradually cover that blank page! And of course, there’s nothing quite like the first sight of your book in published version!

Where can people find you on the internet?

FB: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011335822997

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thorn_lottie

Hilary's book using snipping tool

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lottie-Thorn/e/B019IZTQCA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1460410084&sr=1-2-ent

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