Nina Croft has joined us today for a bit of Straight Talk!
When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do?
Before I write anything at all, I tend to spend a lot of time just thinking (this might appear to the outside world as though I’m not doing anything, but thinking is actually hard work.) I think about the characters and what they want and why, where they live, what could happen to them, where I want them to end up, how they get there, and who will try and stop them. At some point, during all this thinking, they’ll come alive and start talking in my head. My writing nearly always begins with snippets of dialogue, and I’ll find myself jotting them down everywhere and anywhere, especially in the middle of the night (it really annoys my other half).
Once they start chatting away, then I can start the serious process of plotting.
How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?
At the moment—by starting another one. I’m a little obsessive right now. But I might take some time out, drink a bottle of Cava (Spanish champagne), read a couple of books…
If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go?
I’d like to have dinner, coffee, and drinks, several times with Dr. Who (preferably in his David Tennant incarnation). For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be Dr. Who’s assistant. And I’d like to go everywhere: to the ends of the universe, and then back again in a few different times zones and maybe even a few different dimensions as well.
Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?
It varies. It can start with anything, an idea, a character, a theme. But I’ve been writing a number of sequels recently, and with them, I tend to start with a character from the previous book. Which makes things much easier.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?
I sort of collect animals. Right now, I have four dogs (we always swore we would never have more than two—so I’m really not sure how this happened), a cat, a three-legged Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, two goats, a horse and four chickens.
How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?
It’s not difficult, but it does take time and concentration. I have to play about with different combinations until something comes along that just sounds right.
Who would play your hero/heroine in the tv or film version of your book?
Can I have Richard Armitage please? He’d be perfect for Luc, but he’d be pretty good for a most of my heroes, so maybe we can get a discount for a block booking!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Persevere and don’t give up!
Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with your writing. There are so many articles and books that tell us how we should write, but the only way to know what works best for you is to try different techniques until something clicks.
What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?
Long ago and in a faraway place, I was a chartered accountant. I didn’t like it very much—I like being a writer much more.
Who are your favorite authors? What authors have influenced your book?
There are so many, but right now—contemporary—I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Pamela Clare, Jennifer Cruisie, Janet Evanovitch, Jilly Cooper….
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I’m a total plotter. I like to get everything sorted out before I actually start writing and then I tend to write quite fast because I don’t have to stop to think too much, I can just get lost in the story. I also find plotting gives me time to get to know the characters, which also makes writing easier.
Aside from writing, what do you do in your free time?
Reading, of course. And I have a horse called Gencianna, so most days I go riding. I also have a number of dogs, so I walk a lot. And in the summer, I love to lie in the sun with a cold drink and a good book.
Do you prefer print books or eBooks?
I like both.
I’ve had my kindle for a year now and I’m truly coming to love ebooks. One of the things I love best is that I can finish a book in the middle of the night, and thirty seconds later, I can be reading the next book in the series. How amazing is that?
But print books still have their place—like in the bath or floating on the pool.
About Nina Croft
Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.
Nina’s writing mixes romance with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.
Connect with Nina at her website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Great interview, Nina! You must be very disciplined, managing to write such fab books with all the gorgeous distractions you have in Spain. I’m loving your Italian Billionaire btw. :0)
Thanks Rachel – but you’ve got to remember that there’s no shops here, no bars, restaurants or cinemas so the distractions are pretty limited!
Glad you’re loving Luc!
Great interview, Nicola. I admire your writing and perseverance so much!
The new Jilly Cooper is next on my reading list.
I should try that thinking thing… it really works!