Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories ever since she could speak; as soon as she could pick up a pen she started writing them down. No surprise she wanted to be a journalist, ideally the editor of a glossy magazine where she could meet and marry a rock star! Today she runs a busy PR practice writing novels, poems and short stories in her spare time. Adrienne was brought up in Dublin and now lives in rural Leicestershire with her husband, two cockers spaniels and a retired dressage horse called Marco. The latest addition to the menagerie is a rescue cat, Agatha Christie. She has now published two novels, The Hollow Heart – shortlisted for a reader award at last year’s Festival of Romance and her latest, A Change of Heart. Adrienne still harbours the secret ambition to one day be a Bond Girl!
1.What got you into writing? So long ago Sophia, I can hardly remember! As very young children my sister Reta had difficulty sleeping, so I started telling her stories to help her drift off. She was a tough audience however, and would never allow me to repeat a plot or character and always knew exactly where to take up the story again the next night. Wonder if that’s why my first foray into publishing is a series?
2.What is a usual writing day like for you? There’s no usual writing day for me, I’m not a routine person at all. I currently balance two careers, my career as a busy PR professional specialising in property and construction and my fledgling career as a novelist. So for my creative work, I set the alarm for very early in the morning and try to write in bed before getting up to start my day. When I’m not at work, my time is spent writing. If we’re on holiday I write all the time, stopping for lunch, trips, dinner, swimming, it works really well for me, although while staying at a fabulous hotel in Majorca – Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas were there – sitting by the pool writing, I was actually in Downtown New York (in my head). I write long hand with a fountain pen – my husband has just bought me a jewel of a pen for Christmas as my last one, bought at JFK Airport and now over ten years old, gave up the ghost. My first edit is when I type up my handwritten work, well that’s the plan!
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I don’t think I’m long enough at this author-lark to suffer writer’s block but being a commercial writer certainly helps, as I have no choice but get something written otherwise I would be jobless. However, I did get stuck trying to come with the final twist for The Hollow Heart. So I pulled on my wellies and took our spaniels Winston and Wellington on a punishing walk. The twist came to me halfway across a field and I ran all the way back to my desk – still in wellies – in case I forgot it. I do suffer from the other extreme though …disgorging huge amounts of drivel onto the page, ask anyone who has read my early drafts!
4.Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? I come up with a rough outline of vaguely what’s in each chapter then run with it. I read somewhere authors should trust their characters, so I try to do that. In my latest novel, A Change of Heart, one of my characters made a surprise appearance. I tried to change that aspect of the story, but the story and the character refused to be altered. I am happy to say, that particular twist has been applauded by lots of readers so far …so my character was right.
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors? Like many aspiring authors I did the synopsis, three chapters, Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook trawl for years and achieved little beyond a few encouraging letters. Then two momentuous things happened; I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association (New Writers’ Scheme) and had my manuscript appraised by someone I can only describe as an Earth Angel. I also met Lizzie Lamb, June Kearns and Mags Cullingford, forming the New Romantics Press and together we decided to author publish. (My husband had been telling me to do this for some time, after all, he said, that’s what Charles Dickens did!). The publishing process was exasperating, exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time, as well as the best fun ever. Definitely a life-changing experience and my advice is never, never, never give up. If you are denied the traditional route to publishing, try another way. If you believe in yourself and your work you will find readers but if you have not published, they cannot find you. Spend time with other authors, invest in learning your craft, take criticism on the chin and work to improve.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Every email, review or handwritten note from a reader is a high point. It’s thrilling and humbling at the same time and this, together with the book launches we hosted locally, was without doubt a high point, nerve racking and at times, hilarious too. My debut also helped me reconnect with old friend flung across the globe, when people hear you’ve written a book, they’re really supportive and many chums use it as an opportunity to get back in touch. Then to cap it all, The Hollow Heart was shortlisted for a reader award at the Festival of Romance last November, amazing.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? With pleasure. (To read a FREE excerpt of Adrienne’s book – ‘A change of heart’, go to the ‘Book News’ page of this blog.
8.If you could be a superhero, what powers would you possess? My favourite superhero is Batman, I love his sexy, troubled, darkness, however Superman’s ability to spin the globe backwards and turn back time really appeals, as I would love to write some historical novels but haven’t time to fit in the research at the moment. I could do it really quickly just by pinging back to my chosen period and then quickly nip back again.
9.If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be & why? Definitely Queen Elizabeth I – I love the Tudors, and to experience a week of her life would be amazing – the power, the intrigue, the clothes and the jewels. I would make sure I went sailing with Sir Francis Drake, took a carriage ride with Sir Walter Raleigh while puffing on a small cheroot and had dinner with the dashing Earl of Leicester. The Virgin Queen? She knew a thing or two about branding!
10.Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers? Apart from a huge, heartfelt thank you, I would ask ALL readers, not just mine, if you have enjoyed a book, please take five minutes to thank the author. It is almost as if my readers know when I am filled with self-doubt, up pops a positive review and I push on again. Amazon’s facility to publish reviews is so easy, it really does make a difference.