Sunday 21 February 2016

Guest Post: Hannah Emery on her Writing Habits

My Writing Habits
by Hannah Emery

A lot of people ask how I find time to write. I don’t have a schedule, and generally I do write because I want to. I don’t have to be too disciplined because I enjoy it so much. I’d like to tell you that I have a beautiful writing room that overlooks an Italian lake, and that I spend all day sipping hot chocolate and tapping out stories on a vintage typewriter. But as this isn’t the case, I’ll tell you some other random facts about my actual writing habits:

• I use a MacBook Air, which I absolutely love. My husband bought it for me as a surprise for my birthday almost five years ago. The day he gave it to me, I started what would become Secrets in the Shadows.

• I don’t really remember a time when I didn’t write. My first book was called The Rusty Old Screw and was about an old screw who didn’t have any friends or calling in life. I can’t remember the ending. I think it was a happy one although I’m not quite sure how!

• I’m really fussy about my characters’ names. They have to be exactly right, and sometimes I’ll have a character wandering around with no name for quite some time. I have had to rename characters a few times, which is a pain when you’re midway through a book.

• When I’m starting a new book, I decide on the characters first, and what they want. Then I’ll think about my settings and timelines. It’s so exciting choosing people and places. Secrets in the Shadows was set in Blackpool, and The Secrets of Castle du Reve is set in Silenshore, a fictional seaside town. Both were good experiences: I loved researching the history of Blackpool, but creating a whole town from nothing was equally wonderful!

• I try to plan out my books, although I do flip things around as I’m going along. This isn’t necessarily through choice. Characters sometimes end up behaving slightly differently to how I originally planned, which I know sounds quite clichéd, but it’s true. They really are like actual people.

• Time seems to take on a strange dimension when I’m writing. It speeds up. Hours pass, and they feel like minutes. I like to think of this as a good thing.

• I write mainly at night, because that’s the only time I have at the moment. I find that tea and chocolate, or a nice glass of wine often help me along. I don’t have a particular writing space, though perhaps one day I will have that room overlooking an Italian lake.

The Secrets of Castle Du Rêve is out now.

I have written stories for as long as I can remember. I love writing about how fragile the present is and how so much of it depends on chance events that took place years ago. I studied English at the University of Chester, and I know work in a College where I mentor degree students. The most important things in my life are my family, my friends, books, baking on a Saturday afternoon, getting glammed up to go out for champagne and dinner and having cosy weekends away. I live in Blackpool with my husband and our two little girls.

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