Today I’m pleased to welcome Louise Walters to the blog. Louise is the author of Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase and her latest novel A Life Between Us was published on 28 March 2017.
Louise kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about A Life Between Us.
It’s about a middle-aged woman, Tina, seeking the truth about her twin sister’s childhood death. It’s mini-saga, spanning several decades.
2. What inspired the book?
There wasn’t one single source of inspiration. I just wanted to write my second novel (actually, my third written, as my first written is unpublished).
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you? How long does the process take you from first line to completed novel?
I plan quite a lot in my head before I start writing. I like to know my beginning and my ending, but some of the stuff that happens in the middle is subject to change! From first line to completed novel varies. With Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase it was about 8 years. A Life Between Us was about two years. But so far it’s years rather than months.
4. Having gone through the process is there anything about creating a novel that surprised you?
The process of being published was the most surprising aspect. When I got my book deal with Hodder for my first novel I went through a steep learning curve. I had no idea how collaborative it was going to be, nor did I foresee the amount of editing involved. It was an amazing experience, and it taught me so much.
5. Your first novel, Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase, was traditionally published with Hodder and Stoughton. You decided to self publish A Life Between Us. What did you learn about the process of self publishing and would you do it again?
I learned that self-publishing is a worthwhile and rewarding way of publishing my novels. It was hard work, there is no denying that, and the marketing is very difficult, as essentially you are on your own. I would do it again, but perhaps a bit differently next time. The learning curve was equally steep! But the rewards are immense, and being able to make so many decisions by myself was liberating.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I hang out with my family; go for walks; watch films; do a bit of pottering about in the garden. And I read a lot!
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
It would have to be my favourite novel, Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively.
7. I like to end my Q&A’s with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
Well, often people ask me Where do you get your ideas from? It’s kind of looking at novel writing the wrong way round. Ideas are easy; turning them into a readable, publishable novel is the hard part. So if somebody asked How do you turn your ideas into publishable novels, I would reply that for me, the most important thing is character. I have to get to know my characters well, before I can start writing. Which probably explains why it takes me years to see a novel through to completion rather than months…!
About the book:
Tina Thornton’s twin sister Meg died in a childhood accident, but for almost forty years Tina has secretly blamed herself for her sister’s death. During a visit to her aging Uncle Edward and his sister Lucia, who both harbour dark secrets of their own, Tina makes a discovery that forces her to finally question her memories of the day her sister died. Who, if anyone, did kill Meg? As Tina finds the courage to face the past, she unravels the tangled family mysteries of her estranged parents, her beautiful French Aunt Simone, the fading, compassionate Uncle Edward, and above all, the cold, bitter Aunt Lucia, whose spectral presence casts a long shadow over them all. A Life Between Us is a beautifully evocative story of a family torn apart at the seams, which will appeal to readers who enjoy family sagas and modern-day mysteries. (synopsis from Amazon)