Susanna Kearsley's writing tips

Susanna Kearsley, 43, always knew she wanted to be an author – and even swapped her job as a curator in a museum to be a waitress so she would have more time to write.

It wasn’t until she entered the Transworld Publishers’ Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize competition in 1993 – and won! – that she realized her hobby could actually make her a living.

Since then, Susanna has published eight books, including The Splendour Falls, The Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms, and, despite being a busy mum, still finds time to write new material.

One of her first novels, Mariana, will be re-released in March, published by Allison & Busby.

Susanna also writes under the name of Emma Cole.

Susanna Kearsley's tips for writing a novel
1 Enter competitions. It means someone has to read your work and if you’re lucky, like I was, you could find yourself an agent.
2 Read writing guides – by other writers. Stephen King’s On Writing (New English Library, £8.99) is particularly good because it’s written by an author who’s been where you are but has managed to succeed.
3 Don’t give up halfway through. I know I’ve hit the middle of the book when I start to question what I’ve been writing but I’ve learnt to keep going until the end and then start editing from the start.
4 Perservere. Flaubert once said “Talent is nothing but long patience” – keep trying and you can get there.
5 Just do it! I’ve been writing since childhood but I never got beyond the first chapter until my sister dared me to finish a book when I was in my twenties.

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