The Waveney Author Group
On the train going to The Cut at Halesworth.
At The Cut.
It’s very busy at The Cut and we order our food as soon as we can (so we can eat and get started on our work).
After we’ve been fed and watered we get our laptops out and get down to do some work. It’s really busy and noisy but we manage (just about) to discuss fonts and formatting the pages of our current work.
We played around with these measurements…
Novel-font BOOK ANTIQUA 10 or 12
Poetry-font BOOKMAN OLD STYLE 11.5 OR CALIBRI 12 for a less formal look. For ebook, COURIER NEW is a good one to use.
Size of page-
Margins- Top 2cm Bottom 2cm Left 2cm Right 2cm
Paper-width12.7cm height 20.29cm
Layout-header 1cm footer 1cm
Then it was time for some more food…
All fired up and eager to get home to do more writing we left The Cut and walked to the station to get the train. Fortunately this sign below told us we were on the right platform (inside joke).
A super day with super writers!
Suzan Collins, Pam Finch, Helen Thwaites, Enid Thwaites, Helen Meneghello, Carole Gomez-Cornejo and Jo Wilde met in November at a Just Write It! writing workshop. All seven of the authors have agreed to publish their works in time for the Author Fair/Pop up bookshop at The Coconut Loft, in Lowestoft, this July. Their works include novels, autobiographies and memoirs.
Welcome Nicola May, chick lit author…
*hands Nicola a cup of tea and a scone*
Nicola, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet me. You’re a successful self-published author of 6 six novels and … you’ve just signed a contract to have seven books traditionally published by Accent Press. I am so excited for you!
Can you tell me a little about yourself? [including pen name if you have one]
Firstly I love tea and scones, almost as much as I love flapjacks so thank you!
Nicola May is my pen name. May was actually my mum’s middle name, she died very young and I wanted to have a little piece of her with me wherever I went.
What was the first story you wrote?
It was Star Fish. A tale of unlucky in love, Piscean Amy Anderson, who decides to date every sign of the zodiac in search of her ‘sole’ mate.
Were you inspired by someone or something?
Ha! Yes, plenty of disastrous dates I had been on inspired me to create a humourous tale.
What do you like about writing a story?
It’s hard to explain. I adore writing. I love the excitement I feel as the characters come to life and also the eureka moments I get when a plot idea hits and I know the reader will love it. I try and incorporate as many twists and turns as I can to keep the reader intrigued and guessing. I also like to deal with deeper issues, but in a comedic way so that hopefully everyone can relate to something that may have happened to them and not be scared by it. I have addressed bereavement, weight issues, infertility, domestic abuse and unemployment.
Can you tell us about your newest book?
My latest book, out in July 2015 is called The SW19 Club. SW19 as most of it is based around the Wimbledon area, specifically on Wimbledon Common and that is the postcode for that area of London.
Here is the synopsis…
What would you do if you were told you could never have children?
When Gracie Davies is faced with the tragic news that no woman ever wants to hear, followed by the breakdown of her relationship, she is at an all-time low.
With the help of her unorthodox therapist, Professor Princeton, her hippy chick sister, Naomi and her prostitute friend Maya, she starts to rebuild her life.
Searching for inner peace, she starts up The SW19 Club, a club where women can chat openly about the usually unspoken issues of miscarriage, abortion, infertility and IVF.
Add in a passionate fling with handsome landscaper Ed, the pursuit of Hollywood actor father of her nephew and the persistence of her adulterous ex, your heart, will be both warmed and wrenched, as you join Gracie on her rocky journey to self-discovery and happiness.
How did you come up with the story?
I very sadly lost twins myself then had to face the decision to have a hysterectomy. Instead of beating the floor with both fists, I decided to turn the negative into a positive and try and help women who have suffered similar tragedies.
What genre best fits for the book?
I like to call my books ‘chick lit with a kick’ – there is always a love element but they are not fluffy. They are real. My characters are real and the issues I address certainly are.
Are you working on something new at the moment?
I have the plot flying around my head for my sequel to The School Gates at the moment (out in March 2015) – working title – Beyond the School Gates.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Yes, write! If I was given a pound for everyone who said they had a book in them I’m be very rich. Just get something down.
I also don’t edit as I go now. I find it best to get a chunk of writing down and go back to it.
Also perseverance is key. If you want to see your work in print, then you must never give up. I wrote my first novel nineteen years ago. I wasn’t going to stop until I got a publishing deal and now through a lot of hard work, time and effort, I have reached my first goal. My next one now is to see myself in the bestselling list in the Culture magazine that comes with the Sunday Times. Oh, and to get on Lorraine’s sofa!
Do you write in a writing group?
No, I never had. With the help of a marvellous copy editor, I have just learnt my craft as I go along.
Do you have people who will critique your work? [And if you do, do you acknowledge them in the front of the book?]
Yes, my sisters and a select group of my friends are my best critics. They are honest and guide me along the way. My acknowledgements pages usually make ME cry!
What is your writing routine?
I write in bed and when I start a novel there is no stopping me. I can write for hours at a time without a break. I find that best for continuity. In fact I wrote The School Gates in 4 weeks whilst I was in bed recovering from my hysterectomy. To date that is my bestseller and I won an award for Best Author Published Read at the Festival of Romance for it, which was a great feeling!
Do you have beta readers?
Yes. I have a lovely group of romance bloggers who I always offer my book to prior to publishing day.
Do you have an editing process?
My 16 year old niece is actually a brilliant copy editor. She does a round, and then I send to my actual copy editor to do her thing. Now I’m with Accent Press, I am going to be very spoilt with my own personal editor.
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
There is nothing I don’t enjoy about writing.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
It is the whole point of me doing it. I love to share my heartfelt stories and it is an amazing feeling when somebody tells me that my book has helped them in some way. And, also just to hear the escapism of the read has made them happy. Reviews are gold to a writer.
Where can people go to read your work?
Star Fish, Working it Out, The School Gates, The Bow Wow Club and Christmas Yves can all be purchased as paperback or Kindle versions through Amazon. Better Together is just available on Kindle but Accent will be producing a paperback too this year.
I have also written a How to Guide entitled… How to create & maintain your author profile + increase your Amazon sales
Where can people find you on the internet?
Twitter: @nicolamay 1
Amazon page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nicola-May/e/B004QUBKWW
Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
Just that I cannot wait to share my books with a wider audience.
A question about your lovely book covers
Suzan: I ran my first Just Write It! writing workshops in November and six writers have pledged to publish their current works in progress in time for a literary event. This event is a pop-up book shop and is scheduled to take place at The Coconut Loft in Lowestoft, Suffolk in July 2015. I too have accepted this challenge and the group is called Waveney Author Group [WAG] and we met yesterday to discuss and plan our literary challenge. One question that I know the group would love to ask is how do you chose such lovely designs for your self-published book covers?
Nicola: Ooh that sounds fantastic. I literally just go to istock images and purchase images and I have a designer friend who puts them together in the Nicola May brand for me. Now that I have a publisher this will of course change.
Nicola, thank you for a superb interview and good luck with your new publisher. Suzan xx
I would like to say a big thank you to all my readers, libraries and bookshops for their fabulous support during this year.
‘Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.’
Brad Paisley (Singer/song Writer).
adventure, Ann Bowyer, author, books, Editing, Get Reading Literary event, glynis smy, Jayne-Marie Barker, Jo Wilde, Marketing, Planning, published, publishing, Researching, Rosy Thornton, Start writing, Suzan Collins, writing
We [Just Write It!] held our first writing workshop this Autumn and were delighted to see so many people, all enthusiastic and wanting to write.
The workshops included: Getting started, Planning, Researching, Editing, Publishing and Marketing. I joined authors/tutors: Ann Bowyer, Glynis Smy, Jayne-Marie Barker, Jo Wilde and Rosy Thornton.
“I had a great time with some great people. Thank you for inspiring me to ‘Just Write It!”
“Thank you for the uplifting weekend. I take away renewed interest. These workshops have geed me up to move on with my work.”
“A lovely and inspirational weekend. It has been great to get to know more like-minded people and share time and ideas.”
“Thank you so much – I feel more alive than I have felt in months.”
“I absolutely loved this experience.”
“Thank you for a great weekend. I have enjoyed meeting other would-be authors and I feel truly empowered to write my book/s.”
Watching the fox and the ducks tease each other.
Some of the group have made a commitment to write and self publish a book [small, medium or large] by July 10th 2015. This group call themselves ‘Waveney Author Group’ [WAG] and will hold monthly meetings to support each other with their writing projects. I have agreed to be part of this WAG group and look forward to meeting up with the group in January 2015.
Just Write It offers a variety of writing workshops-
Getting Started and Planning Fridays
Editing and Different Styles of Publishing Saturdays
Pitching to Publishers/Agent and Marketing Sundays
If you would like more information on our writing workshops please click www.justwriteitworkshops.com
Creative writing submissions: Story Fridays
Author Fair/Pop-up Bookshop Lowestoft 2015
Indie and traditionally published authors! No bookshops this side of town? No problem! Why not showcase your books in a unique ‘pop-up bookshop’?
Dates: Sat 25th and Sunday 26th July 2015.
Venue: Already established for its two vibrant galleries of colourful, original paintings, the Coconut Loft Art Gallery, 8 Waterloo Rd, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0AA, is the perfect venue to showcase your books. As well as allowing you to show off your work, the Coconut Loft also sells sensational Italian coffee, ice cream and great value lunches, adding to its established footfall.
Time: 10 am – 4pm. And after a successful day, why not unwind with fish and chips on a Blue Flag beach just 100 metres from the gallery for an exchange of feedback and ideas?
Prices: just £7.00 per table per day, or take advantage of a great SPECIAL OFFER of £12 per table for both days. Tables will hopefully be available both indoors and outside. You can also choose to do a reading of your work.
Book early to avoid disappointment! We are expecting authors from all over the country and are prepared to extend the number of days if there is sufficient demand. Early bookers can be sure of securing accommodation at the best prices before the holiday season starts.
Where to stay in Lowestoft http://goo.gl/fkiv87
Close to Lowestoft train station http://goo.gl/9EhMjI
To secure your place at this unique event, simply visit the Just Write It! website, and don’t forget to say if you wish to do a reading. www.justwriteitworkshops.com
Places are limited so why not book yours TODAY?
Ann Bowyer, author, books, Editing, Get Reading Literary event, glynis smy, Jayne-Marie Barker, Jo Wilde, Marketing, Planning, published, publishing, Researching, Rosy Thornton, Suzan Collins, writing, writing press releases, Yvonne Newbold
My book tour of libraries is going really well and I’ve met some fabulous people.
I get asked many questions including the one, why do I write? And I tell them, I usually write because I have something to tell people.
A selection of workbooks for staff who work in social care.
Chatty Cat: The First Six Months
I wrote this book to tell people how my rescue cat is settling in to her new home. I am now writing the second book, Chatty Cat: Spring into Summer.
Beyond My Control: Why the Health and Social Care System Need Not Have Failed My Mother
I wrote this to tell the story of how my late mother was let down by the Safeguarding team in social services, the nursing home where she lived, the hospital where my mother was admitted with two fractures and died three months later from blood poisoning, and the Commission of Social Care Inspection. All four agencies that have a paid duty of care to protect older, vulnerable people from poor practices, harm and abuse.
I also wrote the book to tell people what they could do if they were concerned about the care they or a relative/friend was receiving.
I have received many emails from readers who say that the book gave them the knowledge, strength and guidance to act upon their concerns.
Shortlisted for Book Prize…
I am delighted that ‘Beyond My Control: Why the Health and Social Care System Need Not Have Failed My Mother’ has been shortlisted for the Peoples Book Prize.
If you think my book Beyond My Control: Why the health & social care system need not have failed my mother is a worthy winner for #THEPEOPLESB00K prize please vote at http://www.peoplesbookprize.com/section.php?id=2