Ados wanted to know, "Which women's magazines have you written for? Is there one you find 'easier' or one that you have more success with on a regular basis?"
I submit to all of those which accept submissions, except Yours as they take all rights and I'm not willing to give up copyright. Overall I've had most success with Woman's weekly, closely followed by Take a Break's Fiction Feast. Both still send me plenty of rejections though.
Loopers asked, What is your most favourite thing you have won with your writing, and which story/ book makes you the proudest up to now?
My first ever success was to a 40 word story competition, Loopers. I won book tokens and tea with the mayor, which involved cake. Possibly even more importantly it gave me the confidence to move on from the rejections I'd collected and continue to send work out. That's my favourite prize.
It's very hard to say which story makes me proudest, but this one is definitely a contender.
|Up the Garden Path|
|Over the Garden Fence|
Gardening does it for me too, Nicola. Lots of my stories involve plants in some way (so much so that I have two collections of garden related stories and a third due out next spring).
Often I don't know exactly what prompted a story idea, but they often come when I'm doing something else and it's difficult to write them down.
Glynnis Scrivens asked, "How many stories do you submit to each editor each month? How many magazines do you write for?"
I submit to all the magazines I know of which will accept submissions and don't take all rights, Glynnis. The number I send to each varies on the number of suitable stories I have available as well as how many the magazine publishes.
I generally send several to Woman's Weekly as they use a lot in both the Fiction Special and the weekly magazine. I believe The People's Friend take the most, but it's very rare for me to write anything I think they'll like, so it's very rare for me to send them anything.
There seems little point sending more than they can use, as I'd be competing against myself. For that reason those magazines which publish fewer stories each month will recieve fewer submissions from me.
Glynis also asked, "Do you find some months are generally better than others in terms of sales?"
Yes, it's very variable! December, June and July are generally quietest (I don't know if that's the same for everybody?) Other than that I've not noticed any pattern. I'm not aware of it making any difference when I submit the stories.
Keith Havers asked "Do you start with a plot or with the characters?"
They grow together, Keith. The plot reveals things about the characters and they in turn influence the plot. Quite often a story doesn't come out quite as I planned as characters don't do exactly what I thought they would.
Keith added, "Do you have a lovely new book featuring a naked Carol Vorderman coming out soon?"
*shakes head and gives Keith 'the look'*
Sue Blackburn said, "Oooh if you have a lovely new book featuring a hunky fireman coming out anytime soon that would be just great. Heard rumours - is it true? "
Where did you hear a rumour like that, Sue? Actually it is true. Who'd of thought, eh?
Firestarter is a romantic comedy involving not only hunky firemen, but a jealous ex, unhappy rivals, creepy boss, danger, weird clothing choices and a few red-footed crows. There's masses of wonderful food, disgusting wine, and smelly mud, plus mind boggling sisterly advice and steamy Welsh passion.
You can order it here.
Carol asked If it came to a choice between heroes, hunky fireman or hunky farmer or gardener?
A hunky photographer, Carol! You weren't trying to get me in trouble there, were you?
Emma asked, New book sounds fab, and I'd like to know... of all the short stories you've written, do you have a favourite? If so, why?
Thanks, Emma. I'm usually quite fond of whichever one has sold most recently! No, I don't have a favourite. Some stay in my memory more than others though.
Thank you so much everyone for the great questions!