Erin Cawood [erincawood]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
The first book I can remember reading I dont even remember the title or the author. It was about a young boy who lived with his single mother and they were just about making ends meet. The boy felt it was role to protect his mum. On his birthday, his mum's new boyfriend turned up. The kid liked his mums boyfriend, but he didnt like the way he treated his mum sometimes, and that day was one of those days. He went for him with a knife. The kid ended up in a childrens home because someone didnt think his mother could look after him. The story was all about his life from then, very much treated awfully or fabulously but because he has issues he is moved from home to home and his head being messed up and by fifteen when he is placed into another foster home he trusts no one and has no hope for a normal life again.
I was twelve when I read this book, and I only got half way through it the first time I read it because I lent it from the school library, and I moved schools and had to give it back. It was two years later before I went to my local library and asked them to get the book in for me so I could finish it.
I've always felt that my writing has been good. I always been proud of the stuff I've written. But I read a book by my favorite author and I had to know what happened next. I begin writing a sequel and that's when I decided that one day, I was going to be a professional writer.
The first person to read what I wrote was my sister. I wrote a series of short stories about a young girl called Kathleen. When I was fifteen and after much ridicule at school for my hobby, the only person I trusted to read what I wrote was my best friend, and most of the time, she is still the first person to read what I have written.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I write mainly what they call "Chick-Lit", but I also write short stories that have a bit of a thriller twist to them and I write poems.
I have my own website. www.erincawood.co.uk
I have a blogspot profile. http://www.blogger.com/profile/02262428241597092912
I'm also on twitter and facebook
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
No matter if I'm writing a short story, a novel or even a poem there's always the proverbial lightbulb moment and I write down whatever comes into my head. I let the writing go wherever it wants to go until the lightbulb either goes out, or something sparks my attention and I have to go back. The process continues like that until I have nothing more to say.
My storylines pretty much write themselves, but I do mull over an idea, a character, a plot twist. Sometimes I have written something, had a lightbulb moment, completely changed it and then had to go back to my original idea because it doesn't work. It may seem like a waste of time, but to me its just further development and I learn more about my characters, I think that this makes them become more real for the reader.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I prefer writing in the third person voice. I feel that I am able to put more into this type of voice. I do write in the first person, but generally I have pre written in the third person voice written that the way I wanted it, and then changed it into the first person because I think it will read better that way.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Danielle Steel, She wrote the first adult fiction book that I read and I have been a huge fan ever since.
Marian Keyes, I picked up Angels after seeing Marian Keyes on ITV1 this morning, It's not Danielle Steel, but its completely changed my view of women's fiction.
J.K Rowling, to be able to cross the bridge between adult and childrens fiction in a way that has street parties out side bookstores whilst people of all ages are queueing up at midnight and waiting for the release of the next book is something to be admired.
William Shakespeare - For years I believed that Shakespeare was a form of childhood torture because the teachers didnt believe that actually having to go to school was bad enough! In fact, I hated Shakespeare and when I went to enrol in the second year of A Level English Language and Literature, the tutor explained the details of the course, the mere mention of Hamlet had me considering not to continue with the class. My opinion was that Shakespeare was never meant to be read and it's just a simple string of words that have little meaning without the visible expressions, the actual emotions, and the directions given by the actors saying them.
I'm glad I didn't change my mind about the class. We got to tear Hamlet apart, sentence by sentence and break it down to the bare essentials or what it is. A simple string of words. But without the lights, the camera, the action of any performers, that simple string of words are more powerful that any broadway show or multi-million dollar grossing box office smash. Four hundred years later, thats an achievement that should be embraced. So yes, I do admire Shakespeare.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Ha ha! No!
I go around the houses, it get distracted easily, and if I'm reading out loud I trip up over my words.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
The dream is to be an internationally best selling author and have my writing optioned for movies, but at the end of the day, if that never happened, and if no one liked my writing, I'd still write.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
I guess in someways it is. I am my most relaxed when I am lost in a world that I have created. It's incredibly theraputic to me. But internal conflicts are of no use to me. My world outside has to be in balance otherwise I can't write. I do use the theraputic side of writing as a therapy tool though. If I can't do something, or I feel I can't say something then I will write it down to get my head around it, understand how I feel, and why.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Yes, very much so.
When writing I get so submerged in that world, and I develop so much that sometimes secondary characters and there connections have to be cut, or reduced. So I know exactly what is going on in this world. It all makes perfect sense to me. If it doesnt to my reader, then I need to know.
I'm hungry to know what my reader think so please feed me.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I've only just, in the last two years, been looking at persuing my dream of having a novel published. I've been working hard on it. The more I look into how I get that done the more I realise that I have to put my name out there.
Competitions are a great way to do this. So now that I have finished my first novel, I am about to start focusing on competition entries. Watch this space.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
Number 1) I live in the real world. I have a full time job, there are the occasions when it needs more time that the scheduled nine to five. I have a large family that are a huge part of my life, and my writing fits nicely into my world until something else requires my attention, and you can't plan for emergencies.
Number 2) I don't believe on putting restrictions on the creative process. I guess when someone else is relying on it, then yes I'll have to have a structure, a schedule, and targets to work to. But write now, I'm just enjoying the writing.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
I find that I can write pretty much anywhere, as long as I can shut the rest of the world out, and I use music to do that.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
It depends on my mood.
I can sit at my desk and type for hours, quite literally, if my partner didnt bring me food and drink I'd probably not eat or drink that day. But I can also sit on a train with a pen and pad of paper and just let the words flow.
Yes I do print and correct on paper. But only when my computer copy has dramatically changed from the paper copy.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on my first novel "Life's A Ball?". It's a light-hearted in writing style, but addresses some of lives more difficult dramas. Oh and yes its a "chick-lit".
I've just finished my second draft and I'm awaiting feedback from some neutral readers. An extract is available on my website.
"Life's A Ball?" Originally had five characters, five best friends, and as the story developed I've had to break it into two novels due to the number of pages. So I'm currently developing the plot line for the second, and a couple of the secondary characters have had interesting twists in fate and I'm considering if a third in the series will work. I also have a couple of other Ideas that I am playing with outside of the "Life's A Ball?" Storylines.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Someone very drunk once said to me, that it doesnt matter if they love or or they hate it because you've struck two of life's most powerful emotions. It's when they have no opinion at all that it's a problem.
If you can't bring yourself to show anyone you know and yet your caught in a trap of what you feel is a wasted talent. The internet is a valuable space of oblivion. It's there for everyone to see and yet for no one to find, unless there looking for something that interest them. Pusblish it on a blog or a website, and have the anonymous find it.
Oh and one more thing ... Believe in yourself!