My life as a writer
by Christina Jones
My average writing day: I always plan to be at the desk any time between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and write flat-out until 1 p.m. That’s the plan. Sadly, it rarely happens like that – emails and phone calls and cats and friends and coffee and Facebook seem to get in the way…. But when I’m nearing a deadline I *make* myself sit there and not get distracted… I don’t write at weekends if I can help it, can’t write in the afternoon (my brain goes to sleep) and evenings are for family/telly/socialising. I’d rather write full-tilt than write say 1000 words a day – so when I’m on a roll I can do about 5000 words in a morning. Most of them are rubbish…
My writing process: I make it all up as I go along! Well, I always have a title, and a theme, and I know the main characters because they’ve been living inside my head for ages before I start writing – but that’s as far as I go with planning. I write straight on to the computer, never make notes, or plot anything, or have a chapter outline – I just wing it! It all sort of just comes out of my head and takes shape as I’m writing. I think it’s like being a little bit mad…
Journey to published author: I had my first short story published in a teenage magazine when I was 14. They liked it and asked me to write more – so for years I was Chrissie Clarke and wrote short stories, “Readers True Experiences” (!), soppy poems, quizzes, and pop band interviews (they gave me the Rolling Stones for my first gig!!!!) for magazines like Jackie, while I was still at school. Then I moved on to doing similar things for the women’s mags, and wrote my first novella in 1995 which won the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers Award. I was signed by an agent at the awards ceremony, wrote my first full-length novel (Going the Distance) in 1997 – and have written a book a year since.
What I’m working on right now: I’m currently writing THAT RED HOT ROCK’N’ROLL SUMMER – about a small Berkshire village that decides to stage a music festival (a sort of mini Glasto) instead of their usual summer fete – which causes all sorts of problems, mayhem, and a lot of star-crossed romances. It’s hopefully very funny and will be out next summer. It’s the second in my new Bucolic Frolic series and the follow-up to AN ENORMOUSLY ENGLISH MONSOON WEDDING which is out now.
Advice to aspiring writers: Write from the heart. Write the story *you* want to write. Don’t follow trends or worry about what other people are writing – just love your story and it’ll leap from the page! Oh, and don’t overwrite. You can deaden your story by constantly revising it. Usually those first brilliant bubbling words are the best ones! Your editor can iron out any wrinkles later – you just need to WRITE!
Christina Jones, the only child of a schoolteacher and a circus clown, has been writing all her life. Her novels include Heaven Sent, Hubble Bubble, The Way to a Woman’s Heart and her latest release, An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding.