Lola Jaye

Posted on July 9, 2010
London-born Lola Jaye is the author of two novels – By The Time You Read This… and While You Were Dreaming…, and one non-fiction Quick Read called Reaching for The Stars – How To Make Your Dreams Come True.

She says of her career, ‘My passion for writing began around aged ten, when I used to sit in my room, crafting my own weekly series of stories written in the solitude of a top floor bedroom (i.e., I had no mates!). After I completed a BSc Degree in Psychology, I went on to complete a Masters in Psychotherapy and Counseling. It was after completing a really long research thesis for the MA that I realised I could actually write more than a thousand words! My first novel came out in 2008, then, in 2009 I wrote a self-help Quick Read as well as my second novel. I currently work part time for the NHS as a counsellor whilst I write my blockbusters.’ Lola took some time out of her busy schedule to share with us her top 5 writing tips and essential reads.

1. Read… a lot. Read novels written for the market you want to write for. So, for example, if you write romantic fiction, read books in that genre. Now with the risk of contradicting myself, it’s also a good idea to read books in other genres too. The broader the range the better (although I can’t talk, as I have yet to read a single murder mystery book). When you read, do so as a writer – meaning, look at how sentences are constructed, characterization and plotting. Of course, try to enjoy it too, but the best thing about reading a book you dislike is the bit afterwards when you think: ‘I could do better…’

2. Edit. So you’ve written your masterpiece. Spell checked it, proof read it a million times? Now, leave it for a couple of weeks, go on holiday to the Maldives or disappear under your duvet – then return to the manuscript with a fresh pair of eyes to re-edit. And then re-edit again.

3. Listen to constructive criticism …and not just to someone whose main aim is to put you off becoming an author (there may be a few). It’s important to understand where you may be going wrong so you can make the necessary steps to improve. If you have a writer buddy, they can look at a chapter and give you an opinion. If you have some spare cash, a reputable ‘book doctor’ is a great investment, as they will look at the manuscript for you and give you an appraisal. I know of a good one – visit the links page on my website for more info. I’ve had three books published and I am still learning and honing my skills.

4. Write, write, write! Need I say more?

5. Never give up! You have a dream to be a writer – never give up on it. Just be prepared to put in the hard work and to keep that determination and self-belief at its peak (which won’t always be easy). Read my book Reaching for the Stars – How to Make Your Dreams Come True! Shameless self-promotion aside, this book describes how I ‘did it’ and may give you some ideas. I always go back to one of my favorite quotes: ‘Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.’ Good luck!

Find out more about Lola on her website

Lola’s Essential Reads

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

One word to describe this beautiful, moving and thought-provoking book: wow. Wow. Wow. Okay that’s three, but I can’t help it!

I had this on my bookshelf, unread, for about five years because I couldn’t bring myself to open it up. I’d decided it was one of those books that needed me to be in a certain ‘place’ before I could tackle it (because of the subject matter) and I’m so glad I waited. It turned out to be one of the most beautifully written, thought-provoking and moving novels I’d ever read. Absolutely stunning – even though the subject matter was beyond harrowing. I didn’t want the book to end and found myself going over certain sentences more than once, just… because. A particular scene involved the lead character coming face to face with an old family pet, called Holiday, for the first time in years. Still, to this day, I can’t get that lovely image and the feeling it gave me, out of my head. Amazing.

The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

It’s the OK, I will not start by admitting ANY similarities between myself and the main character, Becky. Oh but I do like fashion, and have been known to drool over a handbag… anyway, back to the book. And WHAT A FUNNY, FUNNY NOVEL! I read this book years ago, before the credit crunch and before this book became a movie and it was hila-rious! The scene when Becky pretends to be, I think, Scandinavian, (I read this a few years back now) made me laugh out loud so much my fellow tube passengers began edging away in fear. I couldn’t wait to see what she got up to next. A definite page-turner and although very funny at times, I also found myself wanting to give Becky a good telling off. But that didn’t last because she was an endearingly funny character with the ability to rock a great pair of heels!

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

This book is exquisite. From its wonderful descriptions of a geisha’s obi and kimono to how the book evoked a sense of place and time – everything was just right. Every page. I felt as if I was there too, living and breathing the life of a Japanese geisha and not in my South London flat eating a bag of cold chips. I saw the film version twice, which I really enjoyed. Nevertheless, nothing beats a good read whilst snuggled up warm in bed on a sunny morning. This beautiful book will stay in my mind forever.

A Day Late, a Dollar Short by Terri McMillan

This book deals with the rawness of a modern and I suppose dysfunctional family. I love those families! What I mean is, I enjoy writing about such characters and you’ll rarely read about a ‘normal’ family in one of my books! It was especially good, reading from the perspective of so many people, which instead of confusing the life out of me, just allowed me to enjoy all their different views and how at times this led to conflict and misunderstanding. Plus some of the voices were so funny too, especially the lead Viola. Something (and I wont spoil the plot by saying, what) happens to Viola three quarters into the book which shocked me to the core, as it seemed Terri McMillan had totally shattered the ‘secret writing rules’ I thought were set in stone. But it worked. Brilliant book.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The original story of star-crossed lovers. OK, I’ll be honest, at school I found the olde English writing quite annoying and – much to the irritation of our poor English teacher – hilariously funny. But as a fully paid up member of the adult brigade, I’m now able to truly appreciate the beauty of this book and its simple message about love that seems to transcend time, race and language.

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