Wednesday 9 March 2016

Q&A with Nina Whyle, author of My DisOrganised Life

Can you tell us a little more about Nina Whyle?

Nina: We are a writing duo. We've been friends for 14 years and writing together for the last 4 years. I used to work in the film industry and left the industry to have a baby. I had this vision that I would finally get around to writing that novel - you know while the baby slept! LOL. There's no other response to that naïve thought but LOL! I really didn't have a clue.

One night I was talking to Clare on the phone, she was living in Denmark and I was probably, no definitely, complaining about lack of "me" time and at this rate I'd be finishing the novel five years from now when I had a light bulb moment – hey, we should write it together! I knew Clare (the Whyle) was frustrated in her current job and she too wanted to write something other than marketing materials for fine jewelry. As neither of us had much spare time it wouldn't matter because together we would keep each other motivated and wouldn't it be so much fun! That's exactly what we did; we emailed the manuscript back and forth, writing in our evenings and weekends until we eventually had our finished manuscript. It wasn't all plain sailing, we learnt that we should never EVER proof reader our own work but we were utterly stunned when Moving Up On Manolos reached no.11 in the Amazon Charts. But sharing the profit on a £1.99 eBook was never going to line our pockets with gold or pay the phone bills, let alone our penchant for nice wine. So writing continues to fit around our day jobs (and yes, I consider motherhood a full-time job) egged on by kind reviews and our desire to write fun, romantic reads.

Clare: Over the last four years we've written and self-published three books but with our latest book, My DisOrganised Life we approached So Vain Books because we felt we had lost our way with self-publishing and didn't' really know how to reach new readers. We needed the expertise of a publishing house and so were delighted when So Vain Books wanted to publish our book.

Can you tell us what it’s like to write together?

Nina: We chat almost everyday and with the chat comes an idea and then we just start writing. We tend to leave each other notes on the manuscript where we think the story should go and sometimes leave a smattering of 'xxx' because the word is on the tip of our tongue but we can't think of it. Then the other will come along and fill it in – it’s like a sixth sense of knowing what the other wants to say there.

Clare: I'm chuffed that we can say we've written four books and that we're done it together. Having each other at the end of a phone is motivational, and to be honest a bit of a giggle too, which makes the whole process much more fun and surprisingly productive! The idea that you weren’t sure at the beginning of a chapter suddenly becomes the best thing the other has ever heard. The support (i.e. the chatter times) creates it’s own impetus. Golden Rule though: when it sucks, say it sucks. There’s no room for being too precious, that’s how most partnerships really work.

What’s to come from Nina Whyle in 2016?

Nina: Book number 5, hopefully. We've just started writing it. We've also finished writing a screenplay together and have started mapping out a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Trilogy.

What led you to write My Disorganised Life?

Clare: It started with two questions. The first question - What if you did something really embarrassing and it was caught on video and that video went viral?

Before the internet if you did something embarrassing just a handful of people might have witnessed it. Nowadays, someone will pull out their mobiles and film it and suddenly it’s gone viral in a matter of seconds.

Nina: The second question - What do you want to do with your life?

Ok, that’s a really difficult question for most of us and it’s something our protagonist, Eve tries to figure out. This leads me nicely on to list, if in doubt, write a list. Write down all the things you want to do or try because goals motivate you into action and give you a sense of direction. It’s what motivates Eve and suddenly she’s got a vision for her future, a list called, Things to do while I’m still twenty something.

Clare and I are both incessant list-makers. We love nothing better than crossing something off, we've even been known to write something down on a list after we've completed it, just to feel a rush when we cross it off. Lists give you a sense of achievement, control and can make sense of the small and mundane things but also make sense of the most important things in life.

Clare: In all our books we want to get women out of messes because let's face it we all face obstacles in our lives, both professionally and personally. We all makes mistakes, wish we didn't do something, wanting to change ourselves, picking the wrong guy, working for a tyrant boss… The trick is to surround yourself with a good set of girlfriends who can help you see the funny side and help you get through the tough times. It’s one of the reasons why we always have strong female friendships in all our books because we are both lucky enough to know what it means to have a small set of girlfriends who mean the world to us.

How much attention do you pay to reviews of your books – the good and bad ones?

Nina: When we first self-published Moving Up On Manolos, we waited eagerly for the first reviews to come in, especially after an Olympian frog leap into the charts. We were ecstatic. People loved the book. Then the not so complimentary ones came in like a gush of bad wind. And we cried, oh how we cried and kicked ourselves for being so terribly stupid and so terribly naïve. Then we pulled our socks up and got a proofreader to address the grammar and have never looked back.

Clare: We were able to take solace that the critical reviews were about the grammar and not the story itself. Mediocre reviews still loved the story and the characters. Top Tip: you cannot and you should not proof read your own manuscript – EVER! Proof reader, Editor, Line Editor, these are the three musketeers one must keep permanently on the King’s council! This is what we have with So Vain Books who published My DisOrganised Life. The good, the watchful and the polishing musketeers.

Reviews matter, and there’s nothing more rewarding than a good review, you feel on cloud nine all day. It’s those reviews that have kept us writing. And we thank every one of those readers who take a time out of their day to write a review. Thank you.

Nina Whyle on Characters

Assembling characters can be planned, but some of our regulars have just happened organically through situations. We love going with the flow, as there are two of us. It’s great to see if a new character you’ve written appeals to the other, if you get the green light then it’s really exciting because you’re given license in your own head and that propels your creativity, you fully encompass the vision – it’s very freeing. Free=FUN, and we hope it comes out in our work.

This time with My DisOrganised Life we had such a sure footing three books on, we could visualize fully and characterized them with famous people. You can see them all on our blog. You get the voice in your head and the dialogue works itself out. A little like an actors method.

Connect with Nina Whyle: Facebook | Twitter | Blog

My DisOrganised Life is out now.

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