I’m delighted to be interviewing fellow WMWP blogger, Natalie Kleinman about her rise from the New Writers’ Scheme and what comes next.
All my fellow bloggers are talented writers. I can see there being a flurry of novels hitting the bookshelves in the next year.
Natalie lives with her husband, Louis, in Blackheath, southeast London. She discovered a love of writing when searching for something less time-consuming than an Open University degree course. It was one of the biggest mistakes she ever made – not the writing but her assessment of how much time it would take.
We often hear how difficult it can be to get onto the Romantic Novelist Associations’ New Writers’ Scheme due to the number of applicants. Did you find it hard and how long were you a member?
I was incredibly lucky on both counts. With finger poised late one night/early morning in January 2013, I punched the key – rather hard actually due to an excess of enthusiasm – and was accepted first time of applying. Then panic set it. Would I be able to get my book finished in time? I did and had a most encouraging review from my reader to whom I will be forever grateful. After working on her suggestions I submitted the edited manuscript and was accepted for publication in early November of the same year.
How and when did you graduate?
In November 2013, though my book, Voyage of Desire (Safkhet) wasn’t published until June 2014. I’m one of contenders for the Joan Hessayon Award in 2015 due to my book not being published until after the 2014 event.
How did it feel to become a full member of the RNA and did it affect the way you work as a novelist?
Very grown up and more than a little daunting. The New Writers’ Scheme is not only a wonderful opportunity for aspiring writers but also a cushion against the outside world. I’ve always been self-motivated but graduation brought with it an added responsibility. To those who had helped me on my way and to prove to myself I wasn’t a one hit wonder.
Tell us something about your writing day.
I write full time and have a huge admiration for those who hold down other jobs and still manage to produce a massive word count. I’m unfortunate in that I need at least eight hours sleep so I need to be disciplined during the time I have available. My laptop lid opens with my breakfast and closes when I go to bed. I don’t give myself a designated number of hours to write and I have no particular routine. Impossible though not to feel guilty if I move away from the table and look back to see my empty chair and my open laptop.
Do you write anything other than novels?
Indeed I do. I began by writing short stories and the love of that form has never left me. I’ve sold over twenty short stories to the international womens’ magazine market. To have an idea, to work on it and produce, in a couple of hours, something that didn’t exist before – magic!
You have that magical second book about to be published. How does it differ from your first novel?
There was less external pressure because I didn’t have the deadline of the NWS submission date but the genre of After All These Years (DC Thomson) is the same. I am comfortable with contemporary romance which also forms the foundation for many of my short stories, though I have written sci-fi and mild horror, if there is such a thing as mild horror.
Do you have a secret yearning to write something different to your first two books?
A good thriller is my reading of choice but I know it’s something I could never write because I am a ‘panster’ and I suspect writing a thriller would need a lot more plotting than my natural tendency is capable of. I consider myself very lucky in that I can ‘escape’ to other genres in my short stories.
What’s next for author, Natalie Kleinman?
I have returned to my ‘bottom drawer’ novel, the first I wrote, but I like the theme and the setting. Not much has changed; not much that is except the point of view and the hero, not the original guy but another character who demanded the role. Sometimes they don’t give us a choice, do they? Certainly it’s a complete rewrite. I’m 16,000 words in at the time of writing. It’s still a contemporary romance though.
Thank you, Natalie. I look forward to reading After All These Years when it’s published next week.