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Welcome, Kate G. Smith

Can I offer you a drink? Tea? Wine?

Hi Suzan, thanks so much for welcoming me to your blog, it’s lovely to be here. I shall have a cup of tea please, or a can of Irn Bru if you’ve got one?!

*Hands Kate an Irn Bru*

A huge congratulations for both of your books being nominated for the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Joan Hessayon Award. How does it feel? (Readers: I will post the link to the Bookseller at the end of this interview.)

I am so excited to be nominated for the Joan Hessayon Award. The Romantic Novelists’ Association have been pivotal in my career as an author. I can honestly say I don’t think I’d be here without them. My readers’ report for You’ve Got Mail was so positive and supportive and made me realise that I could write and that I was ready to submit to agents and publishers. It’s a brilliant organisation and I’d urge any budding romance authors to join the New Writer’s Scheme.

In one paragraph can you tell me about yourself?

I am a writer of uplifting romantic fiction and an occupational therapist working in social services. I live in the most wonderful city of Norwich with my daughter and our elderly cat. You can find me either tapping away at my keyboard, reading, whisking something up in my KitchenAid, or painting wildflowers. I also love to immerse myself in a bit of PS5 when I have any spare time, particularly scary games that have me switching the hallway light on at night time!

I’m currently reading The Love Note and like your voice.

Yay! Thanks so much, I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I feel like my voice has developed over the five years I have been writing seriously. Of course, all the characters will have their own voices but the constant voice that runs through the book is just me (probably quite sarcastic!)

How did you come up with the story?

The story for The Wedding Dress came to me when I was scrolling Twitter and I saw a thread about a missing wedding dress. An idea sparked in my head: where was this dress? Why was it missing? Maybe it was missing for a reason. Maybe it had been hidden away. And the story kind of grew from there.

I get a lot of my ideas from the world around me and I always make sure I give myself this creative time

How did you make your characters relatable?

Aw thank you, I try! I use a lot of personal experience—not exact experience or people, of course, but the feeling I get when I’m with friends or going through something sad. I always try to make my main characters people that my readers will fall in love with. A little bit flawed, because nobody is perfect (Henry Cavill notwithstanding) and characters with good hearts. And if they have a good heart then I think that readers can learn to love their flaws too.

I also love the side characters, who I go a little off piste with sometimes because there’s nothing better than a quirky best friend or a beast of a mother when it comes to thinking up great scenes.

Are you a planner or panster?

I used to be very much a panster. I’d sit at my keyboard and see where the day took me. Now I do a bit of both. I have a rough outline, an A to B, but I’m not always sure how I’ll get there. I often find that my characters, who I know inside out before I start, lead the way. In fact, the twist in The Wedding Dress was a complete surprise to me when it happened, because it was character led!

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Write! No matter what you think about what you’re writing, just keep going until it’s finished. And don’t expect to be great at it from the get-go. We wouldn’t sit down at a piano and immediately expect to play Beethoven’s Fifth, so why should writing be any different. We get better with practice (though the self-doubt never goes away!)

Also read as much and as widely as you can.

What is your writing routine?

I write better first thing in the morning; it feels like the words come easier and more naturally then. However, as an OT working on the front-line and a single mum, that’s easier said than done! So if I can’t get my words down first thing in the morning (and I mean when I get up at 6.30, I don’t get up at 5 specifically to write!) then I will make myself write in the evening when everything is done and my daughter is in bed, but this feels like a slog.

I always try to write at least 1000 words a day when I’m in the writing stage of a new book.

Do you have an editing process?

Does crying into a bowl of Coco Pops count?

No, actually sometimes I can enjoy the editing process, especially the first round of edits when a book is newly finished. I love reading over what I have written, because immediately prior to this is when I’m at that stage of hating all the words, it makes the book come back to life for me. I will give it a once over and amend any glaring plot points and blank pages where I’ve helpfully written something like make this weep worthy romantic. Then the next round of edits I normally do character by characters, starting with the side characters first, to make sure they have a good story each. And this takes a bit of time as I do as many edits as there are characters. Then one final big prose edit before sending it to my agent. Phew!

Then there are the edits my agent sends me, the edits my publishers send me, and copy and line edits (which is when I break out the Coco Pops!)

Edits from agent and publisher. Here, you need a box of Coco Pops. In fact you need two, one for each.

Haha, yep! It does feel like that sometimes. But I’m very lucky to have the best agent ever!!! She totally understands my writing and my voice and adds plot points that really enhance my work. The same can be said for the editor I work with at Orion Dash, she’s so on the ball with her suggestions. So even if I have to eat my way through bowls of chocolaty cereal to get there, all the edits make my books better for my readers. 

Where can people find you on the internet?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kategsmithauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/writingittoday

Insta: http://www.instagram.com/writingittoday

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

A massive thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, review, talk about, share, or sing about my books. I appreciate every single one of you and I hope that I can bring you more books to enjoy.

If you have read either You’ve Got Mail or The Love Note an Amazon review is so helpful as it does something to their algorithms that I don’t really understand but it makes the publishers smile. So please review if you would like to.

Thanks again Suzan for having me on your blog. x

You’re very welcome x

Dear Readers, If you would like to have a look at and/or purchase Kate’s books please click on this link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-G-Smith/e/B08WLZ5MQW?ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vu00_tkin_p1_i0

Orion Dash does double on RNA Joan Hessayon Award shortlist

https://www.thebookseller.com/news/orion-dash-gets-double-listing-rna-new-writing-award-1277826

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Welcome Lynda Stacey…

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

Ha ha… do I use a pen name. No, I don’t write under a pen name. Most day’s I’m so busy Lynda Stacey author picI’d forget who I was if I had two names, so…. The name Lynda Stacey, really is me.

I’m the Sales Director at a stationery and office furniture company in Doncaster. It’s a position I’ve held for the past 25 years. I’ve seen the company grow and develop over the years and I’m very proud to be a part of it.

During my life, I’ve also been a oral surgery nurse, a model, an emergency first response instructor and a Scuba Diving Instructor, who was qualified to teach people from taking their first underwater breaths, to being instructors themselves. People think I’m a little crazy, I have no problem jumping in the sea knowing there are sharks below. I love every minute of it.

However, in 2008 I was involved in a car accident. My shoulder was badly damaged and I had no strength in my right arm and had to stop teaching, although I do still dive for myself.

It was then that I began ‘playing’ at writing. I’d always had an interest in writing and like many other people had said for years that ‘one day I’d write a novel’. My brother even bought me a word processor 25 years ago and gave it to me with the words, “You keep saying you’ll write a book, get on with it.” Well… I finally did.

What are the titles and genres of your books?

The title of my debut novel is House of Secrets.

I always write romantic suspense, with a true villain at the centre of the story. I do believe in love, but I’m also very aware that life isn’t always simple.

How did you come up with the stories?

It was my birthday and my husband took me to stay at Wrea Head Hall for the night. The moment I walked in through the front door, I could feel the history seeping out through the walls. It was as thought the hall was talking to me, asking for a book to be written and to be fair, a house like that deserves a great story. So, I’ve given it as much intrigue as I could possibly imagine.

Your book has a lovely cover, did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

I always wanted the hall to be on the cover. It’s a beautiful place and the owner of the hall gave me the permission to use the photo, he’s also been extremely supportive. But other than that, I was happy to let Choc Lit do the rest. Berni Stevens does most of their covers. She is a fabulous designer and I just knew I’d be in for a treat.

Lynda Stacey~Front cover

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

YES….Keep writing. Write every day, even if it’s only a few words. And join a writing group. I became a member of the Romantic Novelist Association in 2013. They have a New Writers Scheme. As part of your NWS membership, you are offered a critique service on your work in progress. This was invaluable. They also have an annual conference, where you can meet editors or agents on a 1-1 basis. This is where I first met Lyn Vernham, director of Choc Lit and where she first became interested in my work.

What is your writing routine?

I work full time. My writing in sporadic and some nights my laptop doesn’t land on my knee until seven or eight o’clock. But I always try and write something.

Most of my writing is done on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I wake up early, around 6am and can sometimes get two or three hours writing done before the rest of the house (meaning the husband) wakes up.

Do you have an editing process?

I tend to edit as I write. But once I don’t feel as though I can do any more, I send it to Jane Lovering who offers a critique service. She’s amazing and brutally honest, but well worth listening to. If she says the plot is too complicated, or a character isn’t working, she’s normally right.

http://www.janelovering.co.uk

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

What I enjoy most is getting lost in the story. I love it when the characters come to life, they take on a personality and start doing their own thing on the page. I can write a chapter and then sit back and think, “Where did that come from?”. A few pages later, the character tends to do something else and I start nodding and laughing, saying to myself, “So, that’s why you did it.”

Are you writing anything at the moment?

I’ve just completed my 3rd novel. Currently called Broken Hope. I’ve put it down for a few weeks and will go back to it and re-edit it again, before sending it to Jane.

And I’m researching a possible time slip that I’ll base around the mining community. I am after all a miners daughter, so I kind of see the subject as my heritage. I also lived through the miners strikes of 1984, so have first hand knowledge on what it was really like.

Where can people find you on the internet?

Well…. I’m all over the place really. You can’t miss me. I have a page on Facebook, a twitter account, a webpage, an author page on the RNA website and an author page on the Choc Lit site.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lyndastaceyauthor

Twitter: @Lyndastacey

Website: www.Lyndastacey.co.uk

RNA: http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/

Oh… and you can find my e-book HOUSE OF SECRETS on Amazon and all other platforms. It’s a bargain at just £1.99

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

Yes… please love the book ha ha… I put my heart and soul into writing House of Secrets. If you did enjoy it, I’d love for you to leave a review and to know your thoughts.

And if you ever get the chance, go to Wrea Head Hall. It’s just outside of Scarborough and I can guarantee that you’ll have an amazing time. 

Wrea Head Country House Hotel, Scarboroughhttp://www.wrea-head-hotel.co.uk/

How does it feel to finally hold your book in your hands?

Well, my book is e-book first. But hopefully, I’ll get enough reviews to get it into print. Already, House of Secrets has 16 reviews, 13 of them are 5 star and 3 of them are 4’s… it’s so much better than I could have wished for. I’m so happy and grateful to everyone who takes the time to write the reviews.

Lynda Stacey~Front cover

https://goo.gl/6InvHl

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