Thursday, 8 March 2012

Interview with Lorraine Mace


A huge welcome to my very good friend and co-author of The Writer’s ABC Checklist, Lorraine Mace.

Known to many for her humour column in Writing Magazine, she’s also a tutor for Writers Bureau, is the deputy editor of Words with JAM and is a writing competition judge for Writers’ Forum magazine.

Now Lorraine, who’s a much-published writer in both fiction and non-fiction and a winner of an international poetry award, has added yet another string to her bow (this woman is so talented and successful I’m surprised I’m still friends with her).

Under the pen name, Frances di Plino, Lorraine’s new crime novel, Bad Moon Rising, published by Crooked {Cat} Publishing, will launch on 9 March 2012.

Frances de Plino website
Lorraine’s website
Flash 500 website

Bad Moon Rising on Amazon

Tell us the story behind your pseudonym, Frances di Plino.
I write novels for children which I hope one day to find a home for. The last thing I would want is for a young fan sometime in the future to pick up Bad Moon Rising, or the next in the series, thinking it was a children’s book. To quote Patrick Forsyth who has reviewed the book for The Woman Writer: For this police thriller Lorraine Mace writes under a pseudonym and the opening page makes it clear why she might want to differentiate this from her other writing; it is gritty stuff. My pen name is the feminine version of my Italian great-grandfather’s name.

How difficult is it to switch from writing humour to serious crime?
I’m very comfortable writing in various genres. I’ve never felt as if I was just a crime writer, or just a children’s writer, or just a columnist, or any other category. Having said that, I do need to spend a bit of time away from the keyboard after writing crime before I can get into the right mindset for my humour column in Writing Magazine. I find something else to do for half an hour or so.

What do you feel are your writing strengths and weaknesses?
Funnily enough, I think it is one and the same thing. As mentioned above, I don’t write only in one genre. This makes me versatile, but at the same time difficult to put under a marketing heading. In the current publishing climate, where marketing is king, it’s hard to fit someone who writes across so many fields into a neat marketing box. I think I cover just about every category in my writing life – I even have a literary fiction work in progress.

Do you have a writing routine or any odd writing quirks?
I would love to say I’m very organised. Actually, I can say that, but only because my long-suffering husband organises me. My working week is split between writing novels, writing features and columns, critiquing fiction for private clients and Writers’ Forum competition entrants, tutoring Writers Bureau students and running a flash fiction competition, Flash 500. What I do is say to Derek, this is what I have to do and he goes off and writes a programme for me to follow each day for the month. Without his organisational skills I’d end up in a padded cell.

Writing quirks? Not really, except to do with music. I have different play lists depending on what I’m doing, but if I’m working on a novel I have to have complete silence so I can listen to the voices in my head.

Is there a special place you like to write?
I’m lucky enough to have an office at home. It’s a separate room in the garage so when I go to work, I actually leave the house. When I used to write in the spare bedroom is was too easy to get distracted.

How important is it to you to plot your novels?
I never used to plot. In fact, the first novel I ever completed came straight from my head to the page. I wrote a chapter a day, but had no idea when I finished one day what would happen the next. That book needed so many rewrites that if I added them all together it would make War and Peace look like a notebook. Now I plot the full storyline and break it down into chapters so that I know what has to go into each section. Planning is particularly important when writing crime because you have to know when and where to plant the clues.

Are your characters ever based on people you know?
I do take character traits and use them to flesh out my players, but I’ve never (knowingly) based a complete character on anyone.

How do you handle rejections?
I showed this question to my husband and he said I have to be honest. How do I handle rejections? Badly.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m finishing another children’s book that an agent has expressed an interest in and, as I mentioned earlier, I have a part completed lit-fic novel on the go, but Crooked {Cat} Publishers have asked to see the next in the Paolo Storey series, so I think that has to come before the lit-fic. I have mapped out the storyline for that one and given it a working title of Someday Never Comes.

What advice would you give to an aspiring novelist?
I’d like to give a two part answer to this one.

Learn to accept criticism. Join a good writing group, either online or in real life, and allow people to be honest with your work. The only way to improve is to take constructive criticism and learn from it.

Never give up. No matter how many times you want to throw in the towel, don’t! Writing is hard work, but the thrill of getting your novel published is simply unbelievable. I’ve been published as a non-fiction author of two books, had short stories in many weekly magazines and anthologies, and been a columnist and features writer since 2003, but the pleasure I got from all that combined doesn’t come close to the way I felt when I read some of the reviews of Bad Moon Rising.

Lorraine Mace was talking to Maureen Vincent-Northam, co-author of The Writer's ABC Checklist (Secrets to Success)


Lorraine Mace said...

Thanks so much, Maureen, for giving me space on your blog to talk about Bad Moon Rising and my writing life.

Maureen said...

You're very welcome, Lo. :)

DW96 said...

Another fascinating glimpse into the writing life.

And it's nice to know that there are other writers who deal with rejection the way I do. Take it out on the rest of the world.

Great post, Lo, Mo

suzy doodling said...

Loved reading this Lo and Mo. Your Derek sounds a really great chap. I bet he brings you tea and cake as well?