Once again, I’m so happy to be partnering with Avon books to bring you this guest post from Ingrid Alexandra, author of The New Girl on her writing space and schedule. I hope you enjoy!
I need my surroundings to be fairly quiet when I’m writing. No television, no music (unless it’s instrumental or very quiet), no interruptions. I like to be able to look out a window with a view, so our home office is perfect for that, although really I can write staring at a blank wall if I have to. I need to remember to make myself comfortable as I’ve spent hours, days, weeks hunched over a laptop in the past and ended up making my chiropractor very rich!
I tried the whole ‘sit and write in a café or pub’ idea but more the most part that just didn’t work out – too many distractions. I have to be able to get inside my own head, tune everything else out and really focus. So that’s been rather challenging this past year with a new baby, now almost one-year old, who is NEVER quiet! Even as I write this there is some screechy children’s song playing in the background and my son saying ‘Mama’ every five minutes! I’ve definitely had to learn to adapt. But my preferred environment for writing is total silence, or some sort of non-intrusive classical music playing very softly in the background.
I drink lots of tea while I’m writing and I swing between forgetting to eat when I’m really in the zone, or binge-snacking when inspiration isn’t forthcoming. If I was writing in the evening, I used to enjoy a glass of wine to help relax and lose myself in a chapter or two, but I find that’s fairly counter-productive these days as I’m too tired and it makes me want to curl up on the couch and zone-out!
My writing schedule for this novel differed quite a lot from my usual approach. I used to write as inspiration came and without thinking much about where it was going as the ideas poured out of me. The stories weren’t terrible, but that approach tended to ensure I made a mess of the plot and was unsure of the core of the story. Writing came naturally, but plotting didn’t. After completing several writing courses and refining my plotting skills, I now plan everything in detail before I put pen to paper.
The timeline for this novel is quite odd, too and certainly not how I have written a story before or since. There was a lot going on in my life between the novel’s conception and it’s completion! I came up with the idea in 2012 but I didn’t start writing until the following year. I focused on other projects during 2014, finished the first draft in 2015, re-drafted in 2016, then completed the final draft in early 2017 at which stage I was pregnant with my son. I was actually in the hospital for a scheduled induction when several agents offered representation – I was literally fielding offers from my hospital bed! Of course I chose my wonderful agent Lorella and shortly afterwards I received an offer of publication from Avon.
You’ve only just met. But she already knows you so well.
And when Rachel starts sleepwalking, everyone’s fears grow. But there’s something about the new girl that Mary can’t help but trust, and having recently escaped a toxic relationship, she needs the support.
Rachel becomes a friend and an ally, and Mary soon discovers that they have more in common than she ever could have imagined.
In fact, Rachel seems to know more about Mary than she knows about herself…