This week I am joined by Hazel Osmond . She writes contemporary romantic comedies with heart- wrenching bits and her first book ‘Who’s Afraid of Mr Wolfe? was shortlisted for Romantic Comedy of the year 2012 by the Romantic Novelists’ Association in the UK. She also writes short stories, not always on a romantic theme and in 2008 won the Woman & Home short story competition sponsored by Costa.
She has worked for many years as an advertising copywriter, both in an agency and as a freelancer, and the spark to write stories came after watching the actor Richard Armitage in the BBC adaptation of ‘North & South’ and being moved enough to write some fan fiction.
Q. Welcome Hazel, glad you could pop in. Brilliant intro, can you tell us more about your writing?
A. My publisher is Quercus Books and I have an agent – the wise and witty Broo Doherty. My books vary in length but are around the 120,000 words mark.
‘Who’s Afraid of Mr Wolfe?’ was published in April 2011 and ‘The First Time I Saw Your Face’ is published in paperback on August 16th 2012. The ebook was released on June 21st. I have a contract for another two books after that.
I like to write with humour and I’m particularly interested in how it can take the sharp edges off painful experiences… being able to laugh at fate, or even yourself, is a huge plus in life. I also believe that love, the good kind (and there are others!) can drag people back from all kinds of pits into which they have fallen and I’m eagerly exploring that in my books.
Q. Lucky you – on both the Quercus and the Broo front. I think you’re right about the transformative power of love. I particularly like reading books where the damaged protagonist is healed or at least made better by knowing their love interest; a bit like Jack in Who’s Afraid of Mr. Wolfe? So, what have been your most memorable writing successes?
A. Winning my first short story competition. Writing is a funny pastime and although you’d happily do it without recognition or reward there is that other part of you that needs someone to pat you on the back and say, ‘No, you’re not a deluded ego maniac, you can write and people will enjoy reading it.’ Winning gave me that.
Q. And I’m glad it did. What about your most memorable writing rejection?
A. Argh. One I got for Mr Wolfe which said Jack reminded the reader of David Brent in the Office. I was crushed for about ten minutes – there is no way you want your sexy, strong hero to be compared to him (no offence to Ricky Gervais). Luckily my humour gene kicked in after that. Eventually.
Q. Hmm… not sure what that reader was thinking… So can you share your top three tips for writers?
- Write every day if you can and stop hemming your creativity in by thinking everything has to be perfect first time. Writing is actually re-writing.
- Read as much as you can…good stuff, bad stuff, your genre, outside your comfort zone – you’ll find what works, what doesn’t.
- Do not show your work in progress to every man and his dog… only to someone who is objective, kind and reads in your genre. And then listen to what they say.
Q. Some good advice. What about your work/job? What do you do and what is a typical day?
A. Nowadays, writing books and short stories has largely taken over from my advertising work, but the pattern of a typical weekday has stayed the same for years even though what I’m writing is different. I drop the girls at school, dabble in a bit of housework, write until lunch and then do another stint after lunch until picking up time. I grab short sections of time in the evenings and weekends sometimes too… depends how obsessed I am with a story!!
Q. What do you love and what do you hate about writing full time?
A. I love being able to immerse myself totally in writing with no distractions – no office politics, no cooking meals, no seeing anyone else if I don’t want to. Selfish I know but I love it.
I’m really, really sorry to sound smug, but there is nothing at all I hate about it. I know just how lucky I am to have this time (and space) and I’m doing the best job I’ve ever done… in a comfy chair and near a kettle.
Q. Sounds fabulous. Okay, so lastly tell us about your favourite wine?
A. I would hate you to think I’m forever drinking it, but I’d have to say a glass of cold, straw-dry champagne or Prosecco. I think it’s because my brain is hardwired to think bubbles = celebration. See, I am deeply shallow.
Nothing shallow about it at all, nothing wrong with a bit of champers! Thanks so much for talking to us and good luck with the The First Time I Saw Your Face. Thank you to Liz McAulay and Woman & Home magazine for the author photograph of Hazel.
‘Who’s Afraid of Mr Wolfe?’ and ‘The First Time I Saw Your Face’ are available to buy on https://www.amazon.co.uk/ and other websites in both ebook and paperback format. Hazel would also like to point you towards two fantastic bookshops if you’re ever in Northumberland. Forum Books & Crafts www.forumbooks.co.uk in Corbridge and Cogito Books in Hexham www.cogitobooksonline.co.uk.
You can contact Hazel via her very pretty website at http://www.hazelosmond.co.uk/ and read her blog there as well. You can also follow her on Twitter at @hosmond
For now, happy writing everyone, Nikki