If you could give advice to a new writer starting out, what would that be?
The main advice I’d give to a new writer would be to write as often as you can, as this will keep your story flowing and fresh in your mind. Don’t worry about editing – just get the words down on paper. Also read as much as possible, not just in your chosen genre if you have one, but in other genres also, as well as mainstream books, classics and literary fiction – seeing what ‘works’ in other author’s books will help you with your own writing. And if your dream is for your writing to be published, never give up, because dreams can come true.
Excerpt from my debut novel, ‘French Kissing:’
I went to the windows and looked out over the roof-tops of Paris, just as the sun was setting, streaking the sky with red and golden light.
‘I can see the Eiffel Tower,’ I said. ‘This view is amazing. The whole apartment’s lovely. Not at all what I imagined.’
‘What were you expecting?’ Alex said.
‘You did write that you lived in an attic. I was thinking of peeling paint and threadbare carpets.’
‘It really was an attic once, but about twenty years ago, the whole building was completely renovated. I still like to think that it was some impoverished nineteenth century artist’s shabby garret. And that he – back then it would have been a he not a she – set out each morning with his charcoal and his sketchbook to make drawings of Paris – just as I go out with my camera. Or maybe he painted the dancers at the Moulin Rouge or the Opera.’
‘You’ve thought a lot about the artist that used to live in your flat, haven’t you?’
Alex shrugged. ‘If I’d been born in the nineteenth century I’d have been a painter not a photographer.’ His gaze travelled round the room. ‘My home isn’t large, but then I’m away so much, and I’ve accumulated so few possessions, that I don’t need a bigger apartment – everything I own, including my clothes, fits into those cupboards in the hall. Anyway, now that you’ve seen my humble abode, shall we go out to eat or would you prefer it if I cook us something?’
‘We should definitely go out,’ I said. ‘I can’t possibly stay in – it’s my first night in Paris.’
Strolling along the banks of the Seine, Anna Mitchel thinks that Paris is a city where it would be very easy to fall in love. Even if the Frenchman at her side still has feelings for his ex, and regards her only as his English friend.
For the last fifteen years Anna has been writing letters to her French penfriend, Alexandre Tourville, but hasn’t seen him since they met as young teenagers on a school exchange trip. When Paris-based Alex, now a successful photographer, comes to work in London, Anna discovers to her surprise, that the shy, gawky boy she remembers is now an extraordinarily attractive man. Anna’s female friends are soon swooning over Alex’s Gallic charm, while her steady boyfriend Nick is becoming extremely jealous of their friendship.
Then Alex has to return to Paris to oversee the hanging of his photographs in an exhibition, and invites Anna to accompany him so that he can show his amie Anglaise the city he adores…
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