The Thirteenth Series

Rants of a writer and information about her new YA book series - The Thirteenth

Georgia is a winner of Top 25 Book Author Moms - 2012

What tips would you give a mom who wants to write a book?

Be fearless and stop procrastinating.
I start here because this is what kept me from writing a book for so many years.

Procrastination: your own worst enemy.
My daughter was seven when I started writing my first novel The Thirteenth and it was the summer vacations. So I would pack her and a friend into the car and go to a play barn. They would play and I would scribble notes. Then, when she went back to school, I wrote whilst she was out. You can always find time, now I have three books and school visits and my daughter is nearly twelve I find myself sitting in car parks in my spare twenty minutes, tapping away on my iPad or scribbling on the odd scrap of paper if necessary.

What is there to be afraid of?
The fear of criticism and lack of skills keeps so many books locked inside women's heads - books that so many other moms would benefit from reading.

Find out what's stopping you then address it.
My greatest fear was the red-pen. Someone coming along and red-penning all of my writing and that feeling you get in school as an under-achiever. But with time, and choosing positive and honest people to share my work with, I overcame it.

We all have time to write.
Consider Stephanie Meyers, writing at one-am whilst her children slept, or J. K. Rowling, single mom writing whilst her baby napped in coffee shops. You can find a way.

It looks like so much hard work.
Don't let the thought of 300 pages or 100,000 words overwhelm you. Break it down into smaller pieces and work on them. Think: sentences, then paragraphs, then pages, and finally, chapters.

Stop thinking I can’t do what they do.
Remember that authors don't just pour a book onto the pages word perfect first time. They have re-writes, editors, copy editors and proof readers! So lighten up, yes an editor is advisable once you’re ready. But a trusted relative or two will do when you first start.

How much is enough?
Don't give your trusted preview readers a 400 page autobiography and ask for feedback - give them a chapter or two. They can give you constructive advice from there. If they like it, they will ask for more.

How often do I need to write?
Write everyday if you can make time. To be a writer you need to practice. Let words flow naturally onto a page. Whether it’s a rant, a poem, a blog, a song, a diary, or a book, let it out. Be fearless, stop telling yourself ‘why not’ and start with a 'this is it' mentality.

How do you balance writing and motherhood?

When I first started, I knew in my mind that I wouldn't do anything that meant my daughter would suffer. Due to personal circumstances, I’ve been a working mom since she was a year old, but I was extremely lucky to work from home for a very flexible company.

My pre-published writing time never encroached onto my time as a mom. However, once the first book was published, the dynamics changed. I started to have signings on Saturday mornings and school visits that ran over pick-up time. That's when my family, friends and I sat down and made a decision that we would somehow make it work. Plus my daughter, who was nine at the time, thought it was all very cool.

It’s not always ice cream and unicorns in our house and there have been times when we've sat down and she's told me that I give them (the readers) more time than her. But it normally ends with "So I think you should buy me..."

If I hadn't become a writer and I had taken on a different job to support us, she would probably have seen a lot less of me. I don't think that in the society we live in you can spend your life beating yourself up. Most families need two incomes, so my advice is do the best you can, whatever you’re doing. It's really that simple.

Now I have three books out, I visit school on a weekly basis and have a lot more demands, but it’s been an organic growth, so she’s used to it and now that she's nearly 12 the cool factor has worn off. So I don't think unless I became Justin Beiber’s hairdresser or One Directions makeup artist she would think any differently of my career choice, whatever I did.

I not sure how you feel, but I think that children just accept what we do. They don’t sit down and question how many quality hours we spend with them, just as long as the ones we are together are quality. The biggest judges of what we do are ourselves, and I’m sure like myself, you have people in your life who take great pleasure in informing you if you aren’t meeting your obligations as a parent – funnily enough, that has never been my daughter.

I’m quite confident that I’m doing the best I can – surely it’s better to have a happy mom who’s fulfilling her dreams of telling her story to the world? When you have a passion, if you don’t live it, it can stop you living.

Where do you find writing inspiration?

I would love to say under a bush in my garden but that would be a lie!

As a writer I find inspiration from my life, my friends and the world in general. My best friend still argues with me that Delta, one of my main characters, is nothing like her, which makes me laugh, because they are one in the same - the only difference is their hair color.

You have to write what you know. I realize that sounds crazy as I write about superheroes from other galaxies for young adult readers, but actually it's exactly what I know all about. I was five years old when I went to see Star Wars and it inspired me. I never wanted anything more than to live in a galaxy far, far away. I loved Flash Gordon, Spider-Man, Batman and the Hulk. But when I had my daughter, I found myself wondering: who she would look up to? There seemed to be so many male role models, but no females who were being portrayed the way I wanted them to be represented.

I was inspired to create a girl with super powers who didn't depend on some boy saving her on every dark street corner. Who wasn't clumsy or reliant on love to make it to the next morning! So Val Saunders was born - then I didn't want to kills her parent off. I had great parents, so I couldn't do it. It was easier to imagine being a hero with, rather than without, the complications that Mom and Dad bring. I wanted her to have a normal family, a time to get home, and a job, the same as I did.

The story, as I wrote it, is inspired by many aspects of my life experiences: love, bullying, prejudice and lots or whacky British humor. It also has some of my deepest sadness in its leaves. When I was finishing the first book, my Grandmother was suffering with Alzheimer’s and on certain pages my feeling just seemed to pour out. To the reader, it's just an emotional paragraph or two. To me at the time, it was every fear, pain and heartache I was experiencing bleeding onto the computer screen in front of me.

So for inspiration, look at and write about what you love. Write what you know about and understand. Write things that make your heart proud. There are readers out there for everyone. Don’t worry if you don't fit into a category; create a new one. I was told not to mix Aliens and Witches so I said thanks for your advice, but this is what makes me happy.