Tips From Author Catherine Walsh on How to Become a Good Writer
Hi friends! I'm back. This has been a tiring week. Instagram had the nerve to lock me out of my account for a day and a half. I was stressed. I'm finally able to back in just in time to post the second part of the Catherine Walsh interview.
That's right! Hang on to your butts. I know you're excited. Because you should be. Catherine has 2 books already out (please direct your eyes to the picture on the left that I have provided) and her third one, Holiday Romance, comes out in about 11 days. A few weeks ago, Catherine graciously sat down with The Booky Babe and gave the inside scoop.
But before I do that, you know I have to get the pleasantries out of the way first. (insert collective groan here). Hang on for a second, it won't take long I promise. After I have fought my hardest battle to regain access to my Instagram account, I need literally everyone to go follow it. Right now. If you don't I will make sure the Christmas elves skip over you this year. Don't underestimate my reach. Join by clicking this handy dandy button right here
Once you're done with that, make the trip over to Facebook and Like our page over there! No one really pays much attention to the Facebook page, but that's fine. We still love them anyway. You can like the page by clicking this handy dandy button right here:
Okay. Now we got that out of the way. See? It didn't take long at all. You made it. I'm proud of you. Anyway, without further ado, let's get into the real reason why you're here.
What made you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I know the exact moment! I won an award in school when I was 14 for a short
story/poetry prize. As a happily average person in all regards, it was the first time
someone had ever singled me out and said ‘you are the best at this.’ I had always
been a reader and therefore naturally a good writer, but it gave me huge confidence
and a sudden belief that if I kept working at it, I could be a published author one day.
In your opinion, what is the best way to improve your writing skills?
Write. Write. Write. The more you write the better you will become.
What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?
The flow of words. I hate clunky dialogue and prose whether it be in the pulpiest of genre fiction or the most serious of literary. Writing should flow and be easy to read. This doesn’t mean it has to be simplistic or dumbed down, but when I read a book, I want to forget that I am reading. I want to be in the world that the author is creating and nothing takes me out faster than writing that feels forced.
Write, Write. Write. The more you write the better you'll become.
What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?
I publish two books a year and for my first three novels, I was working a full-time job while writing. It was extremely hard. I was only able to do it because I gave up almost everything else in my life besides my 9-5 and my writing. This year, I’ve been fortunate to be able to write full time and the difference in my mental and physical health is enormous. The vast majority of published authors are not able to make a
living full-time from their writing (even those many consider to be successful). I think if my first two books had not done as well as they did, I either would not have continued or would have taken a considerate break.
What are your favorite blogs or websites for writers?
I think if you’re a writer with a view to becoming published, it’s important to start
learning about the publishing industry as soon as possible. There’s a lot of focus on
the journey to get published, and not a whole lot on what comes after. Take a look at
industry sites such as Publishers Weekly or The Bookseller. Read about the authors
getting deals and what the market is like. Learn about the different publishers, get to
know the lingo, and what to expect. Once you sign your first contract, you are
entering into the business of publishing, and like with any new job, it's important to
know the world you’re stepping into. It will hopefully save you a lot of confusion and
worry in the future.
What are 3 of your most favorite books? And why?
These are three books that I have revisited over and over again in my life.
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. I must have read this book dozens of times since it was given to me when I was around 12. I was too young to fully understand it the first time I read it, but I revisited it at 15 and fell in love. A historical fantasy novel based on an Irish Legend, it is beautifully written with a sense of adventure and a wonderful romance. I’d love to write something like it someday, but don’t think I’ll ever be able to top it!
Under The Hawthorn Tree by Marita Conlon-McKenna. I think every child growing up in Ireland will have encountered this book. It is the story of three young orphans during the Irish potato famine in the 1840s and it is the greatest example of how to bring history to life. I still revisit it as an adult and find it just as harrowing, well-written and unforgettable as I did as a child.
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. A book I could fall into over and over again.
To me, this is the epitome of compulsive reading and I go back to it every year.
So there you have it folks. Should we summarize? I think we should.
Catherine knew in her heart follicles that she wanted to be a writer since she was a tiny human
Write, Write, and when you're done? Write more.
Make sure your word flow is smooth. No one likes chunky words.
Finding the time to write can be difficult, especially when you have a full time job.
Learn about the publishing industry so you are not bamboozled early on.
Every author has at least 3 books that changed their lives.
This was a fun interview. Full disclosure, I have never even heard of the books she said were her favorites. I guess that means I need to take another trip to the bookstore! Make sure you grab Holiday Romance when it comes out on October 4th. Be sure to find me on social media to let me know what you thought of this interview, and tell me what you've been reading lately. I'd love to hear from you!
Happy Reading Babes! ❤