The Promise of Summer has so many twists and turns, what was the inspiration behind it?
This is always something I puzzle over and wish I had a more articulate answer! Once I have my main character the plot usually builds from there. I like to have two intertwining stories, so I work out the key scenes with the help of sticky notes – lots of sticky notes!
I was writing another novel when Ruby, the lead character in The Promise of Summer, popped into my head. I had to jot a few notes down and then leave it so I could concentrate on the book I needed to finish. In my mind I left Ruby and Curtis on a bench eating fish and chips! I had read somewhere about someone picking up a magazine on a train and then realising that it had been left to save their seat while they got a drink. I think that was the trigger for my characters meeting on a train but who knows where the other 100k words came from!
You sometimes release books in separate parts, how do you decide where to make the separations in the overall story?
It’s something my publishers. Avon HarperCollins, asked me to do because it’s been a popular way to release novels in bite-sized chunks and it gives readers the choice of how they prefer to read the book. Quite early in the planning process I map out what those three key break points will be – it’s another excuse to use excessive amounts of sticky notes! It’s become a structure that works for me and I still use it even for the books that aren’t released in parts.
What have you enjoyed most since you started having your writing published?
It has opened up a door to a whole new group of people who I would otherwise never have met. The publishing industry is truly unique in how genuinely lovely and supportive people are. Everyone wants good books to do well regardless of who has written and published them and we all delight in seeing them succeed and that’s something quite special. I have also found my tribe in the members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association – finding like-minded people who are there for the ups and downs of your writing journey is so valuable. And the parties are pretty awesome too!
What are your future plans for your next book?
I’m very lucky to be working with two fabulous publishers at the moment. My next romantic comedy will be published by Avon, HarperCollins next summer and centres around a wedding dress seamstress, her overpowering boss and a chance meeting with a sexy builder. But before that I am releasing a book that is a bit of a departure for me as it’s not a romance. The Library is more of a book club read and focusses on two very different characters, a troubled teenage boy and a feisty woman in her seventies, who come together to try to save their village library. The Library is published by Aria, Head of Zeus on 2nd September in eBook and audio and 6th January in paperback.
What are the key steps that aspiring writers need to take when deciding to try and get something published?
Finish the novel! I don’t mean to be flippant but having a completed manuscript, that is the very best you can make it, really is key. Concentrate on those first few pages in particular because that may be all any potential agent or editor will read before deciding whether to continue or put it down.
When you are not writing what do you like to do to relax?
Family time is really important to me whether that’s cooking something new with my daughter, watching a film or just chilling out together. But if I’m just having some me time then you can’t beat curling up with a cup of tea, a packet of biscuits and a good book.
See our review of The Promise of Summer by Bella Osborne