We're delighted to welcome back Kate Wiseman as part of her Gangster School 2 blog tour. Kate's second novel, The Brothers of Brimstone: Gangster School 2 is published on 24th September with Zuntold. Kate was kind enough to share an extract from The Brothers of Brimstone which you can read here
If you've ever wondered what a day looks for to a published author keeping reading as Kate talks us through a typical day as a writer.
Writing from start to finish: I usually wake up about 6.00am and drag myself out of bed to make tea. If I’ve woken up in the night to write (a common occurrence, especially if I’m in the throes of a first draft) it might be a bit later. Then back to bed to waste an hour playing online scrabble, posting inconsequential stuff on Facebook, etc.
For me, it’s important to treat writing as a regular job, so I aim to be breakfasted and sitting at my desk by 9. I find it really useful to have a desk – somewhere dedicated to writing with my notes and notebooks and pictures and framed book covers, etc, around me. It gets me ready to write and reminds me that I’m very lucky to be published, and to take nothing for granted.
When I’m at my desk, I always make a list of things I need to achieve that day. I usually set myself a word target and add anything else that I need to do. Sometimes the other things are nothing to do with writing, but I add them to the list anyway. If I had a separate list for non-writing tasks I’d definitely lose one of the lists. I used to have a good brain before menopause, but now I’ve got the memory of a goldfish.
I’m trying to juggle a lot at the moment. As well as preparing articles for the Blog Tour for Gangster School 2, I’m finalising the first in a new series for my German publisher. It’s called Movie Mavericks and it’s completely bonkers. I’m also polishing up a standalone novel about women’s roles in the First World War and trying to prepare another new series that I’d better not talk about yet. Then there are school visits to get ready for and I’m doing my first literary festival at the end of October (at Moulton, Northampton on the 27th.)I want to make sure that it’s a success. I’m also talking at a Getting Published event in Liverpool around that time, so I have lots to do.
I could easily be daunted by everything on my plate, but I’m only human and as long as I spend time each day moving forward, I think I’m doing OK. It helps that I’m quite a fast writer. I’ve written three books this year – Gangster School 3 and 4 and the first in the Movie Mavericks series.
I think that writing books in a series makes my task easier because I know the world of Blaggard’s and my characters very well. To keep things fresh, I’m setting some of the Gangster School books outside of Blaggard’s. So, number 3 is set in Crumley’s School for Career Criminals. Crumley’s are Blaggard’s bitter rivals and Milly, Charlie and Gruffles have their work cut out to keep one step ahead of some very dastardly goings on there. And in number 5, which is in synopsis form but isn’t written yet, my protagonists are sent to a Dependable (non-Criminal) summer school by the sea, to learn to blend better with honest folk. Needless to say, they discover that the Dependable world isn’t as straightforward as they’d thought.
In terms of a daily word target, if I’ve produced 1,000 I’m happy. Less than that and I need to work harder. More than that is a bonus. The most I’ve produced in a single day was 5,000 and I thought my brain was going to shrivel and die.
If I get stuck while I’m writing, I get up and walk away. It doesn’t have to be a long break – just a few minutes to make a cup of tea or sort the washing out while my brain clears. That’s normally enough to get me going again. I aim to write until lunch time. After lunch I’ll often have a half hour nap and then see what else needs to be done. It’s rare for me to be writing all day. If I try this, I can see a dip in the quality of my writing, so it’s not just an excuse to stop!
I spend some time doing book-related social media stuff every day too, and this has served me well. My Dutch publisher, Uitgeverij Holland, learned about Gangster School from my social media activity. They contacted me via LinkedIn, which I find to be a very useful tool for connecting with people in publishing and related industries. I have numerous contacts in the film and animation industries, for instance! It’s definitely worth giving this a go.
My first book was published less than a year ago and I’ve learned so much since then. The most important thing I’ve discovered is that by being professional in my attitude to writing, I can increase my chances of continued success. So, I meet deadlines, keep up my presence on social media and say ‘yes’ to publishers, PR departments and events organisers whenever possible. Sometimes this takes me way out of my comfort zone. I’m quite shy beneath all my bravado. But it’s helping them and it’s helping me, too.
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