1. Please tell readers about your current book.Coffee at Little Angels is not so much my first book as it is the first book I ever finished. I think perhaps it might be because the subject matter niggled at me for such a long time that the book itself would not be denied. The story is about eight high school friends who meet up again in their adulthood after one of them dies in a car accident. The book explores each one’s response to the death, as well as takes you through how each character deals with a couple of previously ignored demons. I do admit that it is a sad book, and that it makes even me cry sometimes, but I also like to think that it has a heart to it, as well as a sense of humour. It covers an incredibly sad topic, but I do like to think that it has a bit of an emotional magic to it as well.
2. Who or what inspires your writing?I have always found this question so complicated to answer. The strangest things can be inspiring sometimes. You kind of want to think that there must be some sort of formula. Like perhaps you might like to know that baking chocolate chip cookies at midnight on a weekday will ensure that your next plot is resolved - but it doesn’t always work like that. While many little things inspire me daily, I think people in general inspire me the most. There is always something to learn from the things people say, from the things they care about, from body language and from how people respond to both trials and triumphs. As long as I am paying attention, there is plenty to be inspired about.
3. When did you know you would be a writer?I think I always was a writer, I just didn’t know it because I never gave it much thought. I used to write short stories and poetry all the time as a kid and as a teenager – but the idea of being a writer seemed about as far-fetched as the idea of being an astronaut. When I did finally admit to myself that I might like to call myself a writer it took a long time to even be able to say it out loud. Now I announce it proudly (and try very hard not to giggle at the disclosure!) but it took almost thirty years to get there! So when did I know? Probably when I was about nine. When did I do something about it? Just the other day...
4. How long did it take you to write your first novel?The first draft took three months. Then I went through a divorce. And then I got pregnant. And then I went through one of those we’re-not-married-but-it-still-feels-like-a-divorce breakups. I finally started working on it again as a single-and-feeling-ok-again person. From start to finish this book has taken about four years. It should really not have taken more than a year though!
5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?Letting myself do it! Not making excuses is hard – but I think that is more about being human than it is about being a writer. Having a house full of kids (I now have two step children as well as a three year old son!) can be taxing on the creative juices. For a loner I certainly find myself surrounded by far too many people these days! I probably need to find that part of myself that feels like it’s ok to shut the family out and demand a little peace and quiet. I struggle with that though. I struggle to say “no” for the sake of my writing. I will get better at it though. I am starting to learn that often people take you a lot more seriously than you take yourself, and while it may not be acceptable to me to take my own time and invest it in my writing, it is certainly acceptable to the people around me.
6. Do you have any writing rituals?Not really (Bad! Bad writer!) I tend to work until I slip into a coma if I am working on something specific, but am more lenient on myself if I don’t. In a perfect world, I write from 9am until 1pm. In the real world, I keep telling myself that I will get back into that routine once all this bringing out a book stuff is behind me.
7. Have you written anything else?I’m currently working on my second book and dying to start the third. If writing wasn’t so time-consuming I’d possibly have about five books under my belt by now (hehe!) but alas this whole being a grown up thing keeps getting in the way. I run a writers blog which I write on from time to time as well as a poetry blog. which has a lot of my poetry on as well.
8. Any advice to aspiring writers?Yes! Get advice from other writers. From other successful people. From other artists. Learn. Grow. Practice. All of that wonderful stuff. But don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that it’s not ok to just write like you! All those glorious authors that you love and admire and aspire to be? They’re all just being themselves. It’s kind of like cheating. It’s exactly like taking the easy way out! Why? Because as trite and after-school-special as it sounds, you really are the only person who can do you properly!
9. Who are your favorite Authors?Oh a nice easy one. Tony Parsons and Nick Hornby are my absolute favorites. This is the kind of writing that I wish I could write! The kind of writing that makes you nod along and go yes yes YES that’s exactly how it is! I treasure these boys so much it’s ridiculous. After them, Anne Tyler is amazing, and John Irving is...well...untouchable! But Tony and Nick are like marshmallows. Unpretentious. Uncomplicated. And a great go-to snack!
10. What are your favorite books, or which book has impacted you the most?One for my Baby – Tony Parsons (I knew this would be a favorite after about three sentences!)
How to be Good – Nick Hornby (Wow! Who knew a man could write women better than women do!)
The Accidental Tourist – Anne Tyler (My first ever favorite book)
The Hotel New Hampshire – John Irving (Seth Green played “Egg” in the movie when he was teeny tiny. Egg is also one of my favorite characters from a book.)
11. What are you currently reading?Can I rush out and find something wonderful and get back to you on this one? I don’t know. Something brilliantly intelligent like The Bell Jar? No no... At the moment I am busy reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, IAli Shaw’s IThe Girl with Glass Feet as well as The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I tend to read far too many books at once. I don’t generally stick to only one genre so I might pick up one book while I’m already in the middle of another one just because I might feel like something lighter or simply something different. I think I possibly have a rather fickle disposition....
12. How do readers find out more about you?My writing life - as well as the rest of my life - is pretty well documented on my personal blog, Passing the Open Windows. My ideas on writing, reading and creative inspirations can be found in The Katalina Playroom. Otherwise I run and contribute to both The Writer’s Club blog and The Poetry Project blog.
Follow me on twitter: @Nayes1982 & @KatalinaBooks
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Coffee at Little Angels follows how each character deals with the death of a childhood friend while at the same time dealing with their own ignored demons after years of separation. Events unfold as the group tries to rekindle the friendship they once shared to honor the memory of a friend they will never see again.
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