Cathryn’s top writing tip: My book had taken a long time and I was only up to chapter eight. Admittedly, I started when I had a newborn baby and needed to go back to full-time work when he was eight months old. When the time came that I really wanted to get it finished, I had to make a plan. I decided I would write seven days a week, for at least 15 minutes, regardless of how tired I was. It didn’t matter if I only wrote for 15 minutes and then walked away – at least I had done something. Often, those 15 minutes would turn into two or three hours and thousands of words.
I had a great writing period during the annual writing project, NaNoWriMo. I did writing sprints with groups on Twitter and found it really motivating. Writing can be an isolating business!
If your book is inspired by real life (like mine), my mentor advised me to draw inspiration, but then forget about the real story and write a great book. Real life doesn’t always make great writing. Work hard to structure the story well and know your characters.
Cathryn Chapman nearly gave up her writing career when her eighth grade English teacher refused to believe her sensual poem could have been written by somebody so young. Two years later, when Cathryn was 14, that same English teacher declared she should start writing for Mills & Boon, and a women’s fiction writer was born.
Cathryn graduated from university with a Business Degree and spent seven years travelling the world – working on cruise ships, and living in London, New York, Paris and South America.
In her thirties, she left a successful marketing and public relations career to pursue her dream of gracing the stages in London’s West End. When this failed dismally, Cathryn settled down in Brisbane with a husband and baby boy, and stayed in one place long enough to finally write her first novel, Sex, Lies, and Cruising.
Why do you write? I worked in an office job and wanted to break out to do something more creative. I always enjoyed writing at school and my English teacher had suggested I should be an author. Back in those days, I never felt it was a ‘serious’ career, so it wasn’t until a few years ago that I really considered it. I like the idea of telling stories for enjoyment. I’ve always been a big reader, and I would love for readers to get engrossed in my stories the way I do with books I’m reading.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’ve worked in marketing on and off for many years, so if I had a backup plan, it would be to work as a self-employed marketing consultant, rather than working for an employer.
I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Television production, and aspire to write for TV in the future. I plan to use Sex, Lies, and Cruising as the inspiration for a TV series and would like to write the pilot over Christmas or early next year.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? I had tried to get an agent but I didn’t want to keep pursuing the traditional publishing road. I know of wonderful writers who spent years sending queries to agents, only to be met with constant rejection. I sent out queries earlier this year, but it wasn’t long until the voice in my head said “YOU NEED TO SELF PUBLISH!” It’s going well so far!
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The days when your writing flows, and you think, “This IS what I’m supposed to do with my life.” Those days are great! I also like working from home. I have a lovely, cosy, dedicated writing room, filled with some of my favourite things. It’s good being near my family. I can pop out and see them whenever I need a break.
—the worst? The days where I doubt my writing abilities. My biggest fear with writing this series is that people won’t like the book, OR they’ll love the first book and think the second one is boring.
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I still consider myself to be starting out. Looking back on my experience so far, I would have spent more time developing my characters and doing creative in-depth character maps. I’ve spent a lot of time in the editing process going back to expand my main character’s reactions to situations. It has been a massive learning curve and I can’t imagine a time where I’ll feel like I know everything!
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? If you want to sell books, the promotional period will be exhausting and likely to cost you a lot of money! It’s not a matter of hitting ‘publish’ on Amazon and suddenly becoming successful.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? There’s been a few which have helped a lot… they’ve become my mantras.
– Don’t wait until you feel inspired to write – or you will never write a book!
– Writing is more about discipline than talent. You need to treat it like a job and write every day, regardless of how you feel.
– Don’t get it right, get it written.
– Don’t edit as you go, or you’ll have a perfect chapter one and no chapter twenty.
They’re all true!
When Ellie’s fiancé cheats on her with a younger, slimmer, blonde from the office, she boots him out of her life and finds solace in a fabulous photography job aboard a Caribbean cruise ship. Twenty-four hours on board and she’s already shagged her sexy Texan colleague, who happens to love her muffin-top. Unfortunately he’s leaving in a week, and his ex-girlfriend, a hot-headed Brazilian with stripper moves right out of the ’90s and a talent for stealing boyfriends, is still on board and out for revenge.
Ellie must work out how to deal with the loco ex, sort the lying scumbags from the good guys, and figure out how many crew members in a cabin it takes before officially becoming group sex. Who the hell knows? (It’s five, actually.) It’s a world completely unlike the one she left behind, but as she tries to find her place on board, Ellie discovers laughter and tears in equal measure. And in the midst of the craziness, she realises the greatest thing this lifestyle change has given her is the chance to rediscover herself.
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