Misha Herwin – Q&A

Misha Herwin’s novel, Freecycling for Beginners, was published by Penkhull Press on 16 September 2021.

Misha kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about Freecycling for Beginners.

“Freecycling for Beginners” is a feel good novel, all about paying it forward and how a community comes together to help each other.

The time has come for Jane to sell the family home. Downsizing to a flat means everything must go, but her late husband’s favourite chair is far too precious for the tip.

Meanwhile Robyn, balancing her precarious career as a portrait artist with raising an autistic son, is searching for a chair with panache that will allow her sitters to pose in comfort.

Elsewhere in the city Tracey is clearing out her wardrobe at the same moment that divorced and cash-strapped Debbie is frantically seeking a prom dress for her daughter.

None of these women have ever met until Freecycle brings them together and their lives are about to be changed in ways they could never have imagined.

2. What inspired the book?

“Freecycling for Beginners” was inspired by a post I read on my local freecycling site. A mum was looking for a prom dress for her daughter and since it was almost at the end of the summer term, I thought there must be reason why she had left it so late. Had something happened to the original dress? Had her daughter had a sudden invite? Or were they too poor to afford one and had pinned all their hopes on a last minute freebie? Once my mind started whirling with possibilities the bones of the story began to form.

3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?

I’m definitely a planner. For all my novels, even though I know the basic story, I have to have a chapter by chapter synopsis before I can start writing. This doesn’t mean that things don’t change. They do, but the basics stay the same.

4. Having been through the publishing process a few times, is there anything about the process of publishing a book that still surprises you?

Nothing about the process of publishing a book surprises me anymore. What I still find strange though is the fact that once the book is out in the world, it doesn’t feel like mine anymore. It’s rather like seeing your child leave home and grow into an independent adult.

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

When I’m not writing, I read, do the garden, go for walks and spend as much time as possible with family and friends. Having said that, it is very rare for me not to have a writing project on the go, because as soon as one story is told, another one pops into my head.

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?

This is the most difficult question I’ve ever been asked and I honestly don’t know how to answer it, because what I read depends on how I am feeling. Sometimes I need a feel good book, sometimes a thriller, or something that makes me think. Since life changes all the time, to find one book that would cater for all situations would be impossible.

7. I like to end my Q&As 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?

The question I wish I’d been asked is “what keeps you going when your work is rejected?” I think it’s important to admit that things don’t always go to plan and that setbacks can be really depressing. My answer to the question would be, that after feeling very sorry for myself and declaring that I’ll never write another word, my need to tell stories creeps out from wherever it has hidden itself and I take out the laptop. Sheer determination not to be put down also plays its part.

About the Book

The time has come for Jane to sell the family home. Downsizing to a flat means everything must go, but her late husband’s favourite chair is far too precious for the tip. Meanwhile Robyn, balancing her precarious career as a portrait artist with raising an autistic son, is searching for a chair with panache that will allow her sitters to pose in comfort. Elsewhere in the city, Tracey is clearing out her wardrobe at the same moment that divorced and cash-strapped Debbie is frantically seeking a prom dress for her daughter. None of these women have ever met until Freecycle brings them together — and their lives are about to be changed in ways they could never have imagined.

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