Part 2 of our chat with Daisy Waugh. If you missed the first installment, where were you? OK, follow this link to it. Enjoy
How long did it take to write your books?
Some take longer than others. Last Dance With Valentino took many years. But that was partly because I wrote several chick novels in between, also had several babies. Also I was learning about a new period in history. Melting the Snow on Hester Street, also set in early 20th Century America took me a year to write.
What about the editing process, does this take longer than getting the first draft down? Does the story change much during this time or have you got it pretty much planned out before starting?
The editing process is by far the longest bit. Also the most enjoyable. The first draft is fast and pretty agonising. I always have a skeleton structure but I have no idea if what I’m writing is drivel, and a lot of it is- But I have to force myself to keep writing and not look back. Otherwise I can – and have – spent months and months and MONTHS fiddling with the opening scenes of a book. It doesn’t necessarily improve them. Once you have something on paper, the editing, cutting, honing and improving is a joy – at least I think so.
How do you feel about the current state of the publishing world and book’s in general, is there still a market for writing? How about the reading format, do you prefer books or e-reader devices like Kindle?
There will always be market for good story telling! Look how the thriller market thrives. I think the Richard and Judy book club does a great a service to non pretentious fiction writing, by promoting good, intelligent well written novels which are a generally a pleasure to read.
I get a bit depressed watching people on the tube fiddling vacuously with their bloody smart phones – I WISH they were reading novels. Because I think people forget what a joy it is to be lost in a good novel. I also get frustrated by the weight we give to ‘literary’ fiction. Reading novels – intelligent and well written – is meant to be a pleasure, not an exercise in self improvement.
Don’t like Kindles. Spend all day looking at a screen – and anyway I like the smell of books.
We’ve noticed that unlike a lot of writers, you don’t have a personal website and have only recently joined Twitter. Is this a deliberate move, or do you feel that all modern writers need an online presence?
Oh god – it’s just because I haven’t got around it … There are so many other things to do. Like writing the books! And painting my children’s bedrooms. But I must I must I must ….
I Don’t Know Why She Bothers (Guilt Free Motherhood for Thoroughly Modern Women) is out June 4th – This book is incredibly provocative and I think I’m going to get letter bombs as a result. Not looking forward to that at all. But there’s so much sentimental, repressive bullshit surrounding modern motherhood – and as a libertarian and a feminist – there’s a lot of stuff, I think, which badly needs to be said.
And yes – it is wonderful to see the book for sale. Usually though, you wind up feeling neurotic because – either it’s displayed in the wrong place/or it’s impossible to find… etc etc. The best part is when you first get hold of a finished book. Am watching the post daily for first editions of Melting the Snow on Hester Street — due any time now