Our next Author In The Zone is U.K writer, Maureen Vincent-Northam.
Maureen Vincent-Northam is based in Hereford. She writes both fiction (children’s mostly) and non-fiction. Maureen has two non-fic books published; one on genealogy tips and the other, a writers’ guide, The Writer’s ABC Checklist, which was co-written with Lorraine Mace.
Maureen's articles have appeared in print magazines and online, she won The Writers’ Advice Centre for Children’s Books 2008 competition and she’s a contributing author to the 100 Stories for Haiti book project.
When Maureen is not writing she enjoys crime-solving (strictly novels and TV) and other puzzles. She enjoys research and worked as a genealogist for many years.
Hi Maureen, welcome to Authors In The Zone.Tell us a little about your writing to date?
Thank you, Noel. Even as a child I loved writing stories. Before I’d heard of the word plagiarism, I spent many a happy hour bashing out Enid Blyton-like works on a Petite typewriter. Years later, egged on by my husband (and with a computer replacing the Petite), I began studying with a correspondence writing course. I’d already had a few things published, but learned some valuable lessons from the course.About eight years ago, I joined a writers’ resource site called WriteLink and became friends with another member, Lorraine Mace. We decided we’d like to write a book together and hit upon the ABC idea. The Writer’s ABC Checklist is the book Lorraine and I wished had been around when we first started out. We wanted to cover all the angles writers need to know in order to get their work published.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished revising my genealogy tips book; it was taken on by a new publishing house earlier this year and will hopefully be in print again soon. A novel for young adults is a few chapters in and I’m also working on several shorter books for younger children. I write articles too, mainly for the writing market.
Tell us a little about them?
The YA novel is a psychological thriller, told in first person from a teenage girl’s point of view. I have it all mapped out, though I do keep dropping other things in! The other books are aimed at the 5-8 year old age range – a group I enjoy writing for immensely as they contain humour and mad people.
Tell us about your route to publication? Who, if anyone, helped you along the way?
The ABC was written in an unusual way as Lorraine and I never met until the meeting with our publisher. We started by listing dozens of topics and then dividing them up, each of us taking the subjects in which we were competent. We wrote our chapters and sent them over by email for the other to comment on. We chatted daily on msn and did the final edits on instant messenger too. We approached a few publishers and were taken on fairly quickly, only to have our publisher go under in the credit crunch. Undaunted (for undaunted, read bloody-minded) we sent the ms to Accent Press and the lovely people there signed us up straight away.
How do you market your books?
We’re fortunate in that there are two of us to market it! We’re members of various writers’ sites and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and we both have websites. This summer I ran a workshop at a writers’ conference and of course Lorraine has a column in Writing Magazine. I also have a blog set up for writers where I post news, competitions, useful sites and advice from experts.
Tell us a little about your writing process?
I don’t have a fixed schedule and don’t aim to write a certain number of words a day – that just doesn’t work for me. I find I can write straight on to the computer when I’m doing non-fiction, perhaps because it’s factual data and therefore I’m following a certain logical path. But I often need to get away from the computer altogether for fiction and find a large writing pad and a fine ballpoint pen works much better.
What advice would you have for new writers?
Don’t forfeit your own style, but study what’s current in the areas that interest you. Keep that in mind and then offer the editor a new slant on it. Take time to learn your craft; never be precious about your writing and if an industry professional offers advice, then do take it onboard.
Thanks very much for your insight Maureen.
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