Clubhouse Chat Guest: Collette McCormick

Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those who are not aware the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.

Today I’m chatting to Colette. Welcome to the clubhouse tearoom and let’s start by ordering our refreshments, what would you like?

Thank you so much for the chance to chat to you. My chosen tipple would be a cup of Yorkshire tea please. Black but not too strong.

Now we have our drinks can I begin by asking you what writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?

I think that my strength lies in character creation. It has been said that my characters feel ‘real’ and that people can identify with them. As my books are character driven, I’m pleased about that. The one thing that I would like to do better is plan my books. My system works pretty well for me but I am always envious of people that plan their books – they seem so much more professional. I might not do it but if I learned how to I could make the choice.

Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?

This is a tricky question because my latest writing project in terms of a new book is something that I started a couple of months ago and is only about 15,000 words long so far so just a baby. It is basically about a woman and the choices she makes. We all have a path through life and when we come to a crossroads, which path do we choose?

A writing project that I have running alongside this is the republication of the three books that I have had published by Accent Press and the fourth on published by Headline/Accent. I recently re- acquired the rights to these books and I am looking for a new home for them.

How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?

Off the top of my head I am going to say three major ones. I have the one I am working on at the moment, another that I started for Accent before they were bought by Headline and a third that has sort of been on the back burner for a long time. I also have at least three ideas for books that I haven’t started and a raft of unfinished short stories

Collette McCormick

Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter? Do you plan your story, or let the characters lead you?

No. I start of with a character or two and a vague idea of where the journey will end. I see the story in my head and write what I see.

Were any of your characters inspired by real people?

Not intentionally although my mother was obsessively house-proud and made the best mashed potato in the world just like the mother in RIBBONS IN HER HAIR. That was where the similarity ended.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

It’s ridiculous. I work full time so I don’t get as much time as I would like to write. Before my husband retired, he worked nights so I would write when he went to work but I don’t do that now. These days I fit it in whenever I can.

How many hours in a day do you write?

I’m almost ashamed to say that I don’t write every day. My full-time job gets in the way of it I’m afraid. Sometimes, if I can get even 100 words down, I see that as an achievement. I do better on my days off when I will try to get at least a couple of hours writing time.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Yes. I have already done this for some short stories and its great because you can become a different person. I would one day like to publish some children’s stories that I have written and I would use a pseudonym for that as well.

How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?

I have to be honest and say that when I’m choosing names I usually look into space and call them the first thing that comes into my head. I use Thomas a lot (and I mean A LOT) and when I started to trace my family tree, I realised that there are literally dozens of Thomas’ there so maybe that has something to do with it. Oddly enough I have just named a character today and I chose it without thinking but then realised that it was perfect because the meaning of the name ties in with the character. A happy accident.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

My first book took about three years from start to being accepted by Accent and when I was under contract, I had to write a book a year so if you had to average it out, I’d say something like a year and a half, maybe a little less. I like writing to a deadline because it focuses the mind. I started my current WIP in June so I would want to have it finished by the end of June 2021.

Thank you so much for joining me today, Collette and when you’re ready to leave Brutus our driver with take you home.
If you would like to find out more about Colette’s writing and books check out her blog.
Here’s a link to her book: Not My Brother’s Keeper

If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops .

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