Wordy Wednesday with Miranda Dickinson

Welcome to the very first Wordy Wednesday, in a counter to all those lovely wordless Wednesday pictures here on planet Tattooed Mummy we are focusing on words, and those that write them. We begin with the bestselling author Miranda Dickinson (whose twitter handle rather appropriately is @wurdsmyth) . And I couldn't be more excited, I really enjoyed reading her answers to my questions and I hope you do too.

Miranda is the author of six Sunday Times Bestselling novels: Fairytale of New York, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss, When I Fall in Love, Take a Look at Me Now and I'll Take New York. Her books have been published in six languages and she has been a bestseller in Germany, Italy and Turkey. To date, she has sold over half a million books worldwide. (I don't think I've had that many views on the blog ...)


And so the questions begin:

When did you start writing?
I started writing stories as a little girl, never getting past Chapter One because by then another sparkly idea had appeared! (I still have problems with too many ideas to write...) As time went on writing became a hobby but I stopped writing in my late teens because a boy I fancied told me writing was childish and selfish. I didn't start again until I was 28. The moral of this story is, boys you fancy when you're a teenager who like jumping on your dreams are not worth listening to...

What 3 things (not including paper, computer, pens) would you like to facilitate a good days writing?
1. Blanket over my knees - I don't know why, but it just helps.
2. Scented candle - I choose a new one for each new book.
3. Some kind of background noise - I put together a playlist for every book I write, but also write well with the radio on in my office.

Do you write to a schedule, e.g. every day or three times a week, set times, etc or do you write as and when the mood strikes?
I would love to say yes, but this has never been the case. I do think it's good to try to write something every day, but I don't beat myself up if I don't manage it. Since having my daughter, Flo, any hope of schedules has vanished so I'm learning to write what I can, whenever I can. But I carry a notebook with me everywhere and have been known to grab twenty minutes' writing in car parks with Flo asleep in the back!

Is writing your main source of income, I read lots of articles saying writers make no money, and my readers asked this question a lot! Can you survive on book writing alone? if not, what else do you do?
I'm very fortunate to be able to write full-time now and pay my bills from my books alone. But I only went full-time in late 2013, by which time I'd written five Sunday Times Bestselling novels, all while working in a day job. I also run WriteFoxy writers' events and speak at writing conferences, which helps the bills, too. I think it's a myth that you get to write full-time as soon as you get a book deal - very few writers can. I never expected to be able to cite writing as my main income, so I feel incredibly lucky.

What are your favourite biscuits?
Aha! LOVE a biscuit question! That's a toughie... I'd have to say Happy Face biscuits (the jam and cream sandwich ones with faces on), but Malted Milk biscuits would come a close second.

Where do you do most of your writing?
At the moment I have an office in my spare bedroom, but very soon that will become Flo's room, so I'll probably end up writing on the sofa in the living room. That said, my first four books were written on an old IKEA sofa in a one-bedroom flat I was renting, so I think a sofa is probably my writing spiritual home! I'm a bit partial to writing in coffee shops, too. There's a lovely Starbucks near my mother-in-law's house where I catch a few hours' writing one day a week while she looks after Flo.

What book are you reading at the moment?
I've just read Runaway Summer, the first book in Ruth Saberton's new series, Polwenna Bay. It's like a Cornish holiday in book form! Now I'm gripped (and terrified) by Emma Kavanagh's brilliant book Hidden.

Do you use social media (facebook, twitter, instagram etc) to engage with your audience? Do you think it helps sales and do you find it fun or a chore?
I love social media, first and foremost because I'm a bit of a geek. I've been on Twitter since 2007, long before I was published, and adore it. But I use it to witter about anything and everything - it's why my Twitter name is my nickname, not my author name, because I reserve the right to be myself on there. I've never sought followers, but hopefully am entertaining enough for people to want to follow me. You absolutely have to be having fun on social media, otherwise you just become a sales channel for your books, which is a chore for you and completely boring for those reading your tweets.

I don't know if I've increased my sales because I engage on Twitter, vlog on YouTube, or post on Facebook and Instagram (I try not to plug my books too much), but to be completely honest that isn't why I'm on there. What being on these sites has enabled me to do is to be able to chat to readers and have fun with collaboration (like the #getinvolved challenges I do for each book), both of which I think have enriched my writing.

Do you own an e-reader? and do you prefer to read digital or paper copy?
I have a Kobo e-reader, which is useful for when I'm travelling, but I much prefer real books. I feel calmer if I have a paperback in my bag and I love nothing more than curling up with a physical book. Ebooks feel like work to me because most of my writing is done on computer screens. And nothing beats the smell of a real book!

Do you dream in colour?
Ooh, great question! I do - and sometimes colours are more vivid in my dreams than in real life.

If reading and writing were banned, what would you do instead?
What?? No! Um, I would tell myself stories all day and ask everyone I met to tell me a story, too.

What is your ideal holiday?
Staying in a cottage either near mountains or water (or better still, both). I love the UK and most of my holidays are taken here, but Bob and I went to San Francisco for our delayed honeymoon (and to write Take a Look at Me Now) a couple of years ago and I have a real hankering to go back there again...

A huge thank you to Miranda for being my first Wordy Wednesday guest and for answering my questions. Have you read any of her book? Lovely comments are welcomed below!

Miranda's seventh novel, A Parcel for Anna Browne, is published by PanMacmillan in September 2015.

Discover more about Miranda (if you are author stalker like I am):

Website: http://www.miranda-dickinson.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/wurdsmyth
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MirandaDickinsonAuthor
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/mirandawurdy
Instagram: https://instagram.com/wurdsmyth
Read Miranda's comedy novels-in-progress: http://www.wattpad.com/EllisParker

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