People always ask me WHERE I get my ideas from, or even WHY I became a writer … So I thought I’d round up some of my thoughts on this for a post! Many thanks to Katherine at Bibliophile Book Club for these thought-provoking questions and for hosting me over at her site recently as part of the blog tour for my new book, Writing Diverse Characters for Fiction, TV & Film. Enjoy!
1) Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi! My name is Lucy V Hay (sometimes LV Hay!) and I’m an author, script editor and blogger who helps writers. I’m owner of the writing tips and networking blog www.bang2write.com, which was shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards this year, as well as named Feedspot’s number 1 screenwriting blog in the UK (tenth in the world).
As a script editor, I’ve been privileged to work on a number of fab and award-winning British projects, both feature and short film.
I’ve written books about screenwriting, including one out NOW, Writing Diverse Characters For Fiction, TV and Film. I’m also a novelist; my latest is out with Orenda Books.
2) How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was a little girl. I wrote my first ‘book’ in the middle of my Maths homework book when I was about eight. It was called DUSTCART GEORGE and it was about a girl who ran away from home and had her own dustcart sweeping up the streets in London. I did my own illustrations too! Needless to say, my Maths teacher was not very happy though she did say she enjoyed the story, so job done.
3) Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere, both in real life and online. There’s always new perspectives and ideas and thought patterns … This is why I love social media so much. There’s always someone sharing their POV, or a snippet from their lives, or a character from history … Whilst it’s true social media can be an extended whingefest and full of people’s pictures of their dinner, I make sure I follow the ‘right’ people … By ‘right’ I mean anyone who might challenge my little bubble and make me think of something differently, rather than abject trolls!
4) How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?
I would call it ‘dark and lyrical’. Dark, because I am obsessed with the reasons people do and say terrible things to each other; no one wakes up in the morning and says, “Today I will be as evil/careless/selfish etc as possible”. I’m also interested in notions of redemption and whether it’ possible to be ‘good’ after being ‘bad’ – and whether society will let you!
Lyrical, because I am also obsessed with the craft of writing, right down to what words are chosen. I want my work to be literary, but also accessible. I want to bring forth visual tales like my hero, Doris Lessing who was so skilled at ‘word pictures’. That’s the dream.
5) Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?
Absolutely. Blog tours, tweets, author spotlights, Instagram features, Facebook Q&As, guest posts … they all work in getting a book out there to the readers. The important thing to remember is they are cumulative. In marketing, it’s said the average consumer is exposed to a product like a book four times before they buy it. Also, referrals are so important – people buy your book if they see people they like/follow endorsing it, whether that’s another author or a book blogger (preferably both). This notion you tweet a few times and get an Amazon bestseller simply doesn’t add up!
6) What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?
Writing. I’m so lucky to be able to do what I love as my actual job.
7) What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?
Writing. I hate it so much! (haha). As you might guess, I have a bit of a love/hate thing going on here.
8) Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?
I would love to have had a number of bestselling books and hopefully, a movie or TV adaptation of at least one of them. I’ve also always wanted to write a dystopian series for teenagers. But really, more of what I’m doing now: writing, workshops, blogging, etc!
9) What’s next for you?
Book 2 for Orenda. No title yet and still working on the rewrites. Also, my latest writing book this September, Writing Diverse Characters For Fiction, TV & Film, which is OUT NOW, published by Oldcastle Books as part of its Creative Essentials range. This will be my third in the series, but my first where I include novel writing too rather than just screenwriting.
10) I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?
I adore reading; I try to read at least one book a week. I think it’s really important writers read – I would even wager real money that the best writers (in a craft sense) are the most well-read (whatever that means). I also think the best writers are the most open-minded and challenge themselves the most in terms of what they read. It can be tough to read outside of your comfort zone, but very rewarding. For this reason, I try to set myself pledges on what to read.
11) Can you tell me your all-time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?
Argh, I have so many favourites … and so many fave 5s! I suppose the book that changed my life was probably Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.
12) Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?
So many. But I wish I had written GONE GIRL, if only to get a naked Ben Affleck in the shower.
13) When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Spending time with the kids. Reading. Baking. Going for drive, watching movies, hanging out. Nothing earth shattering but it’s the little things I think.
14) Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?
I like to take pictures, especially of nature and my 5 cats.
15) What’s your favourite holiday destination?
I love Harlyn Bay, in Padstow. The beach is gorgeous and I love standing out on the headland there and watching the tide come in.
16) Favourite food?
Depends on the day! But overall, probably chocolate. All of it. Give it to me!
17) Favourite drink?
Booze! At the moment, gin. Though it goes through phases … Ale is a favourite, being a Devon gal.
18) Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?
Well, I was a teacher for a bit. I’ve also worked in other places like telemarketing, supermarkets, cafes, waitressing, even marketing via sandwich boards and in a giant bear costume! Writing wins hands down over all of these.