We are lucky to sit down with author, Sally Hepworth, today. All the way from Australia! Thanks for coming on, Sally! Visit her at: sallyhepworth.blospot.com
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
You consider me a writer? Cool!
What inspired you to write your first book?
Actually it was a friend. She’s so fabulously delusional and eccentric that I thought she’d make a great character in a novel. So I wrote one. She’s no longer speaking to me. Kidding. (Although, she probably won’t be after reading this blog.)
Can you take us through the steps for how you found your agent?
Oh, that. It was easy.
1. I wrote a pathetic query
2. I got rejected a ridiculous amount of times
3. I re-wrote the query (a thousand times)
4. I got more rejections
5. I got a handful of requests for partials and fulls
6. I did the chicken dance with my husband
7. I got more rejections
8. I got drunk
9. Some silly (and wonderful) fool took me on as a client. I keep waiting for her to realize that she has made a grave mistake
What kind of process did you follow writing your first novel?
Don’t laugh, but I googled “How to write a novel.” Seriously. The blog I was directed to suggested ‘the snowflake method,’ which involved (dum dum da dum)… a spreadsheet! I know, I know, not very creative, right? But that was what I did.
The spreadsheet was actually very helpful. I carefully planned the ms.out scene by scene before I started writing. The final manuscript varied some from the initial spreadsheet, but it helped me stay on track. After all that planning, the writing part was easy. Kind of. Ok, not really.
My process for my second novel was quite different. After letting an idea marinade in my imagination for a few months, I just sat down and started writing. I like this process better.
Tell us about your (hopefully!) soon-to-be published novel, LOVE LIKE THE FRENCH.
LOVE LIKE THE FRENCH is about a thirty-something British woman who, a year after a terrible accident has left her husband in a coma, spends a summer in the South of France with her best friend, to see what the French can teach her about living.
I am dying to hear also about your current project, THE GOOD GUYS
THE GOOD GUYS is about a group of bad guys. And one girl, Mae, so damaged from years of abuse that she doesn’t know what it means to be good. But when she’s busted by an undercover cop during a drug deal, Mae takes passing jogger, Robbie, hostage and runs – from the law, and the thugs she lives with – up the east coast of Australia to start a new life.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if it’s interesting, but I like to use conversational language. My aim is to make the reader feel like they are overhearing a conversation, or having a conversation, instead of reading. When it works, I think this is a great technique to making the writer feel engaged.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself in writing your first book?
That I can follow through. I am a woman of extremes – one day I’m all in, the next, all out. Finishing a novel is hard work. Scary work. Possibly a great waste of time. So, I guess I expected I’d give it up about 20,000 words in. I still can’t believe that I didn’t, actually.
Writer’s Block – is it real? How do you break through?
I haven’t had it *duck to avoid rotten tomatoes.* Sorry. I have times where I don’t want to write, for sure. But when I sit down at the computer the words just seem to come. But I’m new, and bursting with enthusiasm. Talk to me in a year.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
At the risk of sounding like a goodie two-shoes, I read. Yep. I love nothing better than curling up in bed (electric blanket on) with a book that I can lose myself in. Lose myself in, or mercilessly criticize until I feel better about my own writing.
What one marketing tip would you share with a new author?
Blog. It is a great opportunity for your Mum to keep an eye on what you’ve been up to. And hopefully, a few other people too 😉