Writing, Work and Wine With … Christine Stovell

Romantic Novelist Christine was born in Epsom, Surrey and now lives in Wales. Winning a tin of chocolate in a national essay competition at primary school inspired her to become a writer, an ambition she neglected for far too long thinking she had to have a proper job. After graduating from UEA, she took various jobs in the public sector writing research papers and policy notes by day and filling up her spare drawers with embryonic novels by night.

Losing her dad to cancer made her realise that if she was ever going to get a
novel published she had to put her writing first. Her latest release Move Over Darling is out now.

Q. Hi Christine, delighted to have another fantastic Choc Lit author join us. Please tell us about your writing.

A. I write what’s generally categorised as ‘women’s fiction’, but I would describe them as ‘relationship’ novels.  I enjoy working with a cast of characters and sending each of them off on a personal journey. Locations are important to me too, I try to create a strong sense of place.

My second contemporary novel, Move Over Darling, set in west Wales and New York, (90,000 words) is about to be published by Choc Lit.  Opening my box of books to see that shiny new cover winking up at me was every bit as exciting as the first time round.  It really is like having another baby – you forget all the tears, hard work and pain the minute you set eyes on it.

In other writing, I’ve contributed work to Strange Days Indeed an anthology about motherhood, published by Honno Welsh Women’s Press.  I’ve also had short stories and poetry published.

Q. And what was your most memorable writing success? Tell us about it.

A. Oh, opening that email from Lyn Vernham, Director of Choc Lit and seeing the words, ‘We would like to discuss offering you a publishing contract,’ (for Turning the Tide).  It still brings me up in goose-bumps thinking about it now!

Q. It must have been a fantastic moment. Not to bring a downer on things, but what was your most memorable rejection? 

A. Turning the Tide was my first full length novel. I sent it to be professionally appraised by Hilary Johnson (Hilary Johnson’s Authors’ Advisory Service) who liked it and sent it to an agent. After an agonisingly slow wait, the agent said she was turning it down with ‘the greatest reluctance’ – on the basis that the market it was aimed at was already overcrowded with established names. Aaaargh!

However, The Good Luck Fairy stepped in very soon after when I read about a new independent publisher, Choc Lit. I dusted myself off and sent them an email that same day… I’m so glad I did!

 Q. I’m sure you are … so can you describe your writing journey to date in circa 50 words?

A. My writing journey was one of false starts, procrastination and giving up too soon.  Then my dad died of pancreatic cancer and it hit me that if I didn’t take my writing seriously, I could run out of time too.

Q. And what about your top three tips for writers?

1)    FINISH THE BOOK! My most important tip! Yes, there will be moments (at 20,000 words, at 45000 words and so on) where you will think your manuscript is a pile of manure.  This can be cleared up when you have finished the first draft. Keep going until you reach The End.

2)    Don’t let one rejection end your career; all published writers are unpublished writers who kept picking themselves up and resubmitting their work.

3)    Know your characters;  get your characters right and the plot will look after itself. If the plot’s not working, I’m willing to bet it’s because there’s something I’ve overlooked about my main character.

Q. Some great tips, especially the first. It’s something I’ve wrestled with in the past but I’ve finally learnt to stick to one WIP at a time. Tell us about your work. What do you love or hate about it?

A. Whatever I’m doing, the default mode in my head is always thinking about the WIP or something related to writing; I think that’s what I love and hate about it!

Q. I think I live in my own writing world a lot of the time too! So, lastly tell us what your favourite wine is.

I’m a big fan of fizz and any excuse for a celebration.  In more reflective moments, I like a glass of peaty malt whisky, preferably Talisker.

Sounds posh. I’m afraid I’ve only ever been able to drink whisky if some coke is thrown in! Thanks for stopping in Chris and all the best as you continue your journey.

To find out more about Christine you can go to her website at http://www.christinestovell.com where you can also find her Blog ‘Home  Thoughts Weekly,’ friend her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/chris.stovell.9 and she’s on Twitter too @chrisstovell

Move Over Darling is available to buy for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Move-Over-Darling-Choc-ebook/dp/B0094J06YI/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1346482766&sr=1-8 and don’t forget Turning the Tide http://www.amazon.co.uk/Turning-The-Tide-ebook/dp/B003Y8XQOC/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=A3TVV12T0I6NSM

Drop in next week for a guest appearance by author Louise Allen who writes (mainly regency) romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon.

Until then, happy writing, Nikki


5 thoughts on “Writing, Work and Wine With … Christine Stovell

  1. Edith says:

    Great interview. I love reading the stories of women who make it in writing! Will pay particular attention to your advice about looking ones characters…maybe that’s where I’ve gone wrong…..

    • Chris Stovell says:

      I was sure I left a reply earlier, Edith – but it seems to have vanished in cyberspace. Thanks for your comment. The point I wanted to make about characters was that it’s one I’ve learned through bitter experience! It can sometimes take several false starts before I really know my characters – it’s like getting to know any stranger. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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