Miranda Sherry debuted with her delightful novel Black Dog Summer and we can’t wait to read her latest work Bone Meal for Roses…
Where did you find the inspiration for your new book?
As always, I drew a lot on my own experiences and my own passions – I’ve found that a novel is often an extension of oneself, even if the link is heavily disguised. This book is a coming-of-age story about a girl on that difficult brink between childhood and womanhood. Growing up, the garden was my sanctuary, and the main character, Poppy, feels much the same. I’ve always loved gardening, and that developed into a central theme throughout the text – the idea of nurturing something, be it yourself, and watching it grow and bloom is an ongoing metaphor. The story is utter fiction and imagination, and is by no means autobiographical, but there’s definitely a little of myself in all my characters.
What books are you currently reading?
I read all the time, it’s one of my absolute favourite pastimes, and it never feels like work. I’ve just started reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari – I prefer reading non-fiction when I’m in the depths of writing a novel, as I’m less likely to get distracted from the made-up world I’m trying to create. Even though it’s jammed with fascinating facts, Sapiens reads like a darn good story, and it makes the incredible tale of humankind’s development accessible to the ordinary reader.
One of my favourite books of all time is Barbara Kingsolver’s brilliant Prodigal Summer. It’s set in the woods and farmlands of Appalachia, and is written so beautifully that the reader is transported right into that world. The vivid characters, with their flaws and hopes, draw you into their stories and pull you along on a powerful journey. I’m drawn to re-read it, again and again.
What are your top three writing tips?
Tip 1: Write it, don’t speak it
I agree with Stephen King, who in his book, On Writing, advises that you should never tell anyone the story you want to write. If you talk about it, you no longer need to write it, and because it’s so hard to do so, you most likely won’t finish.
Tip 2: Don’t start editing until it’s finished
Finishing your work is vital, because without something complete, you’ve got nothing to craft, edit and improve. Finish it, and then rework it. I find that a piece is seldom ‘great’ unless a whole lot of editing and crafting has gone into it.
Tip 3: Commit to writing every day
Even if it’s a half hour before getting up in the morning, or fifteen minutes in your car during your lunch break – this is what I did – spend some time on your writing each day, as much as you can squeeze in. Over time, your consistency and attention to the craft can’t help but make you a better writer.
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