In the last interview in our series, author Celia J Anderson is interviewed by Francesca Capaldi Burgess
Celia lives in South Derbyshire with her husband and deranged cats. Over the years she’s had a variety of occupations. She believes she’s found her perfect job in teaching, which she now does part time to accommodate her writing. Her first novel, Sweet Proposal, is published by Piatkus.
When did you first start writing and what made you decide to take it further?
I’ve always loved writing but it was in 1995 when I took an Access for Learning course prior to going to university to train as a teacher that I really got the bug. The creative writing module was a shot in the arm – we had to write the first part of a novel for one of the assessments and I carried on with it for the next few years, just as a hobby. The finished article, Moondancing, is definitely not publishable as it stands, but maybe one day … after a heavy slash and burn session …
You graduated from the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme this year with Sweet Proposal. How did you find your publisher?
I read online about a competition with Piatkus Entice for a one-book contract – they wanted the full MS and by that time I had a better one ready. The book was called The Chocolate Project initially but the name was changed during the editing process. The prize was awarded at The Festival of Romance in Bedford, 2012. It was an amazing night, what I can remember of it!
As someone who teaches, has a family and runs a children’s drama group, how do you fit writing into your busy day?
It’s getting harder and harder, as I’ve just been appointed assistant headteacher, but still working Monday to Thursday. I hope to keep Fridays free although sometimes pressing school problems have to come first but I often write in the early mornings – I wake about 5am and that’s when the words flow best.
Tell us about the Romaniacs. How did you get together?
Most of us met at the very first Festival of Romance in November 2011. We started a private Facebook page so that we could get to know each other better and gradually the plans for a group blog were formed. We are sounding boards for each other, shoulders to cry on, extra family, and most of all writing gurus. I would be completely lost without them.
What have you got planned next in the romance genre, and do you have any other writing goals?
I have my next book, Little Boxes, out with publishers on submission right now, and the following one is partly written – waiting for the school holidays to make some decent headway though. I’ve just finished writing our Year Six play with the children and am also editing my first children’s book which I would love to get published. There’s no time to be bored these days!
Thank you for finding time in your hectic schedule to talk to us, Celia. The best of luck with Sweet Proposal and all your future projects.
Sweet Proposal by Celia J Anderson
Books, chocolate and a Jacuzzi: could there be a better combination? Gorgeous Geordie Leo arrives in Clayton-on-the-Bream with a mission to make his mark. When he reveals his ideas for a bespoke bookshop and chocolate-themed cafe, struggling writer Mab can’t resist his plea for help.
However, Leo’s timing is disastrous. Engaged to flighty, super-thin Sophie and knowing that Mab is up to her neck in a mysterious scheme of her own, Leo fights hard to ignore the warm, sensual friendship that is growing between them. When their eclectic mix of family and friends weigh in to help, the dream seems almost possible, but can Leo ignore Mab’s shady past? As they battle with sabotage, jealousy, vindictive neighbours and unpredictable relationships, Mab and Leo find that even chocolate can’t always make miracles happen . . .
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