Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:
I get up at about 7.00 and usually try to go to the gym for a workout or a swim. Then back home for breakfast. My working day varies – sometimes I’m writing all day and at other times I split my time between writing fiction and copywriting, which is my day job. Being a freelance copywriter and working from home, it makes it easy for me to decide how to structure my time between the two sorts of writing. As well as working at home, I inject a bit of variety by also working at the library and in a number of favourite coffee shops. I sometimes wonder what the people on the adjacent tables would think if they knew I was writing a particularly gory murder scene while they’re enjoying their coffee and cake! I usually stop working at around five or six. Living in Edinburgh, there are a huge number of book-related events such as book launches and author talks, so I try to go to these regularly or just out for a drink with fellow crime writers, who despite what you might think, are an incredibly friendly bunch!
Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?
One of the first books about writing I came across was Solutions for Novelists: Secrets of a Master Editor by Sol Stein. I think this is a brilliant book and though I’ve read many since, this is still a book I turn to when I want to remind myself about some of the basics of writing. I can thoroughly recommend it to novice writers and the more experienced alike.
Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
Bleak House – Charles Dickens
Although the latter two are not crime books, these books had a great impact on me when I read them and I think it’s down to the extraordinary characterisation these writers achieve.
Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
The Art of Fielding – Chad Harbach
I don’t think I could ever tire of Rebecca and Cold Comfort Farm always makes me laugh. The Art of Fielding is an extraordinary and moving coming-of-age novel.
Any words of writing wisdom?
I think the last thing any writer needs is words of wisdom from me! There’s a mountain of advice out there for novice writers, with plenty of contradiction – so all I would say is find your own way and your own voice. The more you write, the better you’ll become, but there’s no right way or wrong way – just do it the way that feels right to you. Perseverance is what you need most.
Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:
The Tattoo Thief – the title says it all!
Social media contacts:
Twitter - @AlisonBelsham
Facebook – @AlisonBelshamWriter
Instagram - alisonbelsham
Book URL: mybook.to/TattooThiefpaperback
Thanks very much to Alison for playing along!
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