Well hello there and welcome to the first Meet the Author post – Orenda Books edition. I’ve done a few of these over the last couple of months, just a handful here and there but this month, to celebrate the wonderful month we call Orentober I’ve reached out to four cracking authors to take part in a Q&A.
Today’s interviewee is the wonder that is Louise Beech, the author of six published novels and the Queen of the Genre Fluid reads – each book she writes is special and if you haven’t got on the Beech train yet, you really should! Orenda Books has published six of Louise’s books, including Call Me Star Girl, The Lion Tamer Who Lost and the most recent I Am Dust.
Thanks Louise for taking the time to answer these questions!
So without further ado, lets jump in to it shall we?
Just for fun, let’s have a quick game of either – or.
Tea or Coffee?
Morning bird or Night owl?
Bookmark or corner folder?
Both, depending what is to hand or not!
I love this answer, if I can’t find a receipt etc., I will corner fold and i’m not even ashamed!
Tidily organised or Organised mayhem?
Tidily organised, always.
Tidy desk, tidy mind I suppose.
What makes you happy? Could you share a photo?
This was at the Romantic Novel Awards in 2019 when The Lion Tamer Who Lost shortlisted.
You look so happy, also The Lion Tamer Who Lost is phenomenal – I read it last year after Kelly constantly nudged me to do so. If you haven’t read it, you should!
What is your favourite childhood book?
Heidi by Joanna Spyri. I read it while we lived at my grandma’s house, when my mother was in hospital for a long time, and it got me through.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Was it always an author?
It really always was a writer. I wrote stories as soon as I could pick up a pen. Writing has been my lifelong friend. I briefly though I’d like to be a nun, but can you imagine THAT?
I can imagine it was an escape! A NUN?! Really? I’m sure they may have thrown you out of the convent eventually!
If you could choose only one season to last forever, what one would it be?
I absolutely adore Autumn, the orangey crisp leaves, boots over tights and a pumpkin spiced latte! I’m so glad we are living in our favourite season again.
What is your current read?
Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty.
I love the sound of that, I hope that you’re enjoying!
What do you enjoy doing outside of writing?
I adore walking, especially in woods. I love the theatre, though as I write this we are in lockdown…
You can’t beat a good wood / forest walk! I’m hoping as the readers are reading this that we are all safety out of lockdown *fingers crossed*
How many books have you written? Do you have a personal favourite? What is it and why?
At this point I have written eight and am about to start number nine. It is sooo hard to pick a favourite. Like picking a favourite child. How to be Brave, being my first one published, will always be special.
I’m evil aren’t I?!
When researching for a novel, do you always have all the research before beginning or do you research as you go? What is the process?
A lot of my books have been inspired by things that actually happened to me, so I don’t need to read up on much. But those where I need to research, I do it as I go. If I get to a certain chapter that has scenes with something I’m not knowledgeable about, I’ll do my checking then.
Describe your typical writing day.
Early. I think and write best first thing. I usually get up by 7.15am, take an hour walk and am at my desk writing no later than 9.30am. I finish by about 3pm, mainly because I used to have to then go to work at the theatre, though lockdown has changed that….
Gosh, I haven’t been able to manage anything before 9am during lockdown (or before I’ve had a coffee)but I bet it’s great that you’ve got a writing routine to follow (whether it’s been changed by lockdown or not)
Describe your publishing journey in 3 words.
It took forever.
Do you have any writing quirks / needs? What are they?
Oh, not really. I’m just super strict with myself. Very critical. A perfectionist.
If it gives no spoilers, what is the hardest scene you’ve had to write?
My memoir, which I finished a month or two ago, was the hardest thing I’ve ever written. Every single scene. But empowering too.
What do you find the most enjoyable / difficult thing about writing?
I love every bit. I really do. I’m a pain, aren’t I? But I do. It’s my joy. My escape. My lifelong friend.
Not a pain at all, I’m so glad that you’re head over heals with writing! I suppose it is escapism and who dislikes a bit of that?!
What is a publishing highlight for you?
When I first hold the actual physical copy in my hands. Every single time.
Can you give a one sentence teaser for anything you’re working on if you’re allowed?
OK, this line is from what might be my next novel: ‘This is how we are human. We learn from one another.’ – Sebastian
That’s intriguing and powerful, I can’t wait to see where that may go!
Any question you wished I’d asked but haven’t?
No, you’ve been a star!
*Waves away a blush* you’ve also been a star, thank-you again for taking the time out to answer these questions and allow us a peek at the person behind the books!
So there you have it, our first Q&A from me for the month of Orentober – next week we have an author who published her third book in a series September last year, who was longlisted for the CWA Translated Fiction prize this year and who is just a pure delight! Can you guess who they are?