Romantic novelist Katie Fforde is the author of more than 16 novels including Love Letters and A Perfect Proposal. Katie is married with three children and lives in Gloucestershire. Here, she shares how she writes her bestselling books.
‘I always start with a theme, a subject, I want to explore. It could be based on an advert for a job, a course I’ve seen advertised, a television programme, or just a snatch of conversation. Once the antennae start twitching, I know I’m hooked.
I try to have several ideas or themes to ensure I have enough plot, but once I’ve got my ideas picked out (I always have several that haven’t quite found their niche yet) I think about my characters. What sort of woman would do that? How old would she be? Then the supporting characters, and then, my favourite part, the love interest.
Making the love story different, or even slightly different, is hard when you’ve written as many books as I have. I’m bound to start repeating myself soon and I don’t think this matters too much as long as the book isn’t similar in any other way. Then I have to decide exactly when the book starts. This for me is crucial. Only when I have picked the point of change for my heroine can I start writing her story.
I don’t plan enough really, but if I get stuck, I’ll write a little synopsis for the next few chapters and set off again. Sometimes I’ll write a backwards synopsis, working back from the happy ending to now, thinking of all that must happen to get us there. I don’t need to this often, but it’s a tool I might use.
I never like my books when I’ve written them. I love my characters but see them as swimming about in a very muddled sort of sea. It’s only when someone completely unknown to me or my family says something nice that I’ll let myself like a book. My publishers don’t count – it’s their job to say they like it.
My top tip to writers is to read a lot, allow yourself to write badly in the beginning and stick at it. Practice really does help!’