Last year’s So You Think You Can Write contest brought forth a lot of wonderful stories and great writers. One particular favorite was Avril Tremayne who entered in the Harlequin Kiss and the Wattpad contests–and sold both titles! So how did this come about?
Some Things Writers Want to Know:
What got you interested in writing?
The short answer is reading. I’ve always been a mad keen reader. I was one of those kids who read under the covers with a torch after lights out, and felt nervous if I didn’t have a big pile of unread books waiting for me. It was a natural progression from loving stories to wanting to make stories come out a certain way to suit my own inclination – so I dabbled from quite an early age, and have been dabbling all my life.
What has been the most useful thing you’ve done to get to this point?
The best thing I did was to readjust my mindset. I’ve always led a hectic life, and I’ve had some very big corporate jobs, but to be a writer was always my dream. However, it’s one thing to want to be a writer and quite something else to do it – and it only really came together for me when I made writing an integral part of my life by doing it every day. That meant not only hanging in there when the writing was flowing, but also when I was producing absolute rubbish (like I did today I’m sorry to say). My career in public relations was excellent training for this, because so much of that was based on finding the words, writing and editing every single day across all media, and meeting some terrifyingly tight deadlines.
What is the one thing you wish you’d learned sooner?
I wish I’d learned to let my characters do what they wanted. I’ve wasted a lot of time forcing my heroes and heroines into spurious arguments just for the drama of it, manipulating dialogue just so I could use a funny line I had in my head. But it’s not a great scene if your characters don’t fit in it! Now I really listen to what they want to say and do.
Which book or blog or site or conference or contest would you recommend for new writers?
My top pick has to be the So You Think You Can Write competition – but more generally, I’d say anything that forces you to actually write, and preferably to a deadline. The more you write, the better you get. I also really enjoyed my SYTYCW experience on Wattpad, because it’s a great place for interacting with readers and writers and getting feedback. It can be daunting to so openly share your writing with people when you’re a new writer, but that was an overwhelmingly positive experience for me.
What drew you to Harlequin?
That’s easy – romance novels have always been my favourites, and Harlequin was ‘it’ for romance. I also liked the ‘approachability’ of Harlequin – I always felt that if I wrote a good book, I would have a chance, even though I had never been published and didn’t have an agent.
What did you do when you got the call?
I was in too much of a daze to do anything except stare into space. I was just so shocked. I didn’t make a lot of sense on the phone and I’m a bit embarrassed about that, to be honest! Actually, I still feel quite dazed and can’t quite believe my luck. I’ve had a fair bit of champagne since, though.
How does a book start for you?
I get ideas from all over the place – from things that have happened to me, stuff that comes up in conversation, snippets of news or things I hear out and about. Sometimes my friends dare me with an idea or a character – which I love best of all. I keep notebooks everywhere – bags, bedside, every room in the house, my car – and they are full of very weird notes. But when I sit down to write, the first thing I have in my head is how the hero and heroine meet for the first time in the time frame the book is going to cover. Everything flows from that. This means that the reader sees the hero and heroine together as close to the start of the book as I can get them.
Thank you, Avril, for sharing your story! We’re looking forward to reading THE CONTRACT (June 2014 (box set) and September (stand-alone)) and HERE COMES THE BRIDESMAID, Harlequin KISS, August 2014. And we can’t wait to see what’s coming next!