|Nic Joseph, foto: personal archive|
After reading the page-turning novel The Last Day of Emily Lindsey, I wanted to find out more about the author, Nic Joseph, and her creative habits. In my latest installment of the Writers' Secret series, she is sharing some of her tips and inspiration for creating beautiful books.
How do you find inspiration for your books?
Inspiration for my novels can come at any time! Sometimes, I'll be driving to work and see someone or something that catches my eye; or, I'll read a news report that I can't get out of my head. My inspiration for The Last Day of Emily Lindsey came to me after I'd had a particularly hard day at work. I arrived home, sat down on my couch and didn't move for a while. Granted, I wasn't covered in blood or holding a hunting knife, and I did get up after about five minutes! But that's where the story started.
What's important for me is that I capture ideas, even if they are not fully formed, so that I can return to them later. I keep a running list of story ideas on my phone so I can come back to them later and figure out which ones I want to pursue.
Do you have books or writers that inspire you?
I am a huge Ken Follett fan and am constantly inspired by his world-building. Two books that have influenced my writing in very different ways include Involuntary Witness by Gianrico Carofiglio and Eddie Krumble is the Clapper by Dito Montiel.
How do you fight writer's block?
I remember reading advice that said if you're not having fun writing something, chances are no one will have fun reading it. I took that to heart. Often, when I'm having writer's block, it's because I'm trying to work through a scene that doesn't really deserve to be there. Maybe I've already put a lot of effort into it and don't want to give up on it (and hence lose the word count!) To break through, I have to force myself to take a step back and be honest about what's wrong with the scene. Once I'm on the right track, it's usually pretty easy to break through writer's block - emphasis on usually!
What is the most difficult part of your of being a writer?
Resisting the urge to daydream about my characters all the time. I find myself plotting while I drive, while I'm in the shower, over dinner and while I lay in bed at night. I have to remind myself to turn it off sometime!
What is your next project?
I am currently working on a novel called The Night in Question. It's an idea that's been brewing for a long time, and I am extremely excited about it. The story centers around two women: an Uber driver who makes a very bad decision in order to help someone she loves; and the detective who is investigating a crime that is linked to that very bad decision.
What do you recommend to a beginner writer?
Find the space to enjoy it. Writing can be stressful for so many reasons - lack of time, writer's block, characters that don't seem to want to do what they're supposed to! But find the parts of writing that make you happy, whether that's daydreaming about plot twists, outlining, drafting the perfect sentence, revising, or all of the above, and give yourself dedicated time to enjoy it. Not only will it make the experience more enjoyable, your writing will be all the better for it.