The Writing Life of: Lucy V Hay
Lucy V Hay
This week on ‘The Writing Life of:‘ I am thrilled to be interviewing author Lucy V Hay. Lucy will be sharing with us detail of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘Do No Harm‘, which was released on 20th July 2018, and answering a few fun questions too.
So without further ado I’ll hand you over to Lucy V Hay
Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer.
Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017.
She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.
1) As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a writer and I wanted to be involved in filmmaking – so lucky me, I get to do BOTH!
2) Who were your favourite childhood authors?
Enid Blyton, Anne Digby, Lois Lowry, Robert Swindells and Robert Westall. I loved all these guys for their big ideas, effortless prose, lean and focused plots and nuanced characterisation.
3) At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
4) How did you go about following that dream?
I wrote stories every day in my notebook – if the stuff like Wattpad and Kindle had been around back then (I’m old), I would have been one of those kids writing fanfic about One Direction and the killing them all off in Final Destination-style accidents. I drew pictures and made more stories out of plasticine. I never stopped creating, it’s what I am born to do.
5) What is your writing day like? Do you aim for a certain amount of pages or words before you stop for the day?
I try and write 4000 words per week on my novel. Sometimes I do that in one day, or two. Most days I try and do 500 a day so I can fit other stuff in too, like my marketing, working with my ‘Bang2writers’ and so on.
6) Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
No, I am too vain. I like it when people I’ve gone to school with contact me and say, ‘I read your book!’.
7) Do you have any strange habits before starting, or whilst in the midst of writing?
Yes, I clean the cat litter trays. For one thing, I have five which means the house stinks otherwise which outs me off my writing for the day. Secondly, I try and put writing off as long as possible because I have the whole love/hate thing going on with it!
8) Do you write longhand, typewriter, or on a computer?
Always at the computer. Though I do all my research notes long-hand.
9) How many books have you written? Do you have any unpublished work?
I have published 3 non-fiction books about writing; 1 YA title in my Intersection series (so far!); 1 post-apocalyptic novella and this will be the second crime title. So that’s 7. I have a second YA title coming next year, plus I am outlining a full-length post-apocalyptic title right now. I also have a million things I started and never finished!
10) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Total; plotter. I am from the screenwriting world, plus crime fiction is plot-led (no story without the crime!!), so it’s a double whammy for me. I can’t imagine how novelists write without an outline or whatever, but they obviously do, some of them very successfully. Good for them, but it would stress me out far too much!
11) Do you read all the reviews left for your book(s)?
Yes, I read most reviews and I am grateful for every last one, even the bad ones! The worst thing is when no one is talking about your book. **Thoughtful** negative reviews are always welcome as far as I am concerned. As for the rest, I never worry. Haters gotta hate!
Concerning your latest book:
Publisher – Orenda
Pages – 300
Release Date – 20th July 2018
ISBN 13 – 978-1912374212
Format – ebook, paperback
Till death do us part…
After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.
12) How long did it take you to get from the idea’s stage to your date of publication?
I think it was about a year to fifteen months. I started outlining Do No Harm when The Other Twin was out on submission.
13) How did you come up with the names for your characters?
I love to pick names for my characters and they always have meaning, so it’s cool you asked this question. In Do No Harm, Our main characters are Sebastian, Lily and Maxwell:
Sebastian means ‘revered’, plus he comes from a privileged background. He understands life is hard for people for poorer people, but he doesn’t always ‘get’ it. I wanted his name to reflect this, because life has always gone his way before now. And it certainly won’t in Do No Harm!
Lily is my favourite flower. It’s my daughter’s name too (and I promised her I would name a character after her!). Lilies are associated with both purity and death. In the book, Lily is a pure spirit, who works hard to maintain her goodness. There are times she lashes out in the book and then feels shame; she is the type to apologise and try and make things right, rather than be too prideful. The death thing is because her life will be in danger!
Maxwell I named after the actor Maxwell Caulfield. He was gorgeous in the 80s flop sequel Grease 2, which I watched a lot as a child. I even describe him as looking rather like him, because he does in my mind’s eye! In the movie he has two sides – nerdy boffin and cool motorcycle chick magnet. Maxwell in Do No Harm has two sides as well.
14) Can you give us an insight into your main character(s) life?, What makes them tick?
As above ☺
15) Which was your hardest scene to write?
There is a fire in Do No Harm. Though I have watched several houses ON fire, I’ve never been in a fire myself, so I had to do a lot of research. I spoke to people I know who have been victims of arson and to firemen. It sounds as terrifying as I have always assumed, waiting outside trying to help. I think that was the most difficult – capturing the mayhem and fear, as well as the literal happenings.
16) How did you come up with the title of your book?
I can’t take any credit for the title! That was Team Orenda – specifically Karen Sullivan and West Camel, the editor.
17) Did you get a family member/friend to read your work before sending to the publishers?
Orenda are very collaborative, so no AND yes. I always have my own people beta read for me too. There will always be opportunities missed, or things that are not clear. I am lucky to have a team of people behind me willing to do this, especially my fabulous agent Hattie Grunewald at Blake Friedmann.
18) What process did you go through to get your book published?
This is the second book of a two book contract, so I signed with Orenda for The Other Twin ‘and Book 2’! This felt strange, knowing I was writing a book for the first time that was definitely going to be published … but I was very grateful!
19) What did you do once you had written the final word in your book?
I drank a huge gin and tonic and watched Forged In Fire with my husband. It’s like Bake Off, only with blacksmithery and they make swords. Awesome!
20) What’s next for you, writing-wise?
Oooooh goodness! Well I have plenty on the go with my film stuff, plus I am currently doing some professional development on various book marketing skills. I have a new YA title, Tag-Along, out in January 2019. I’m also outlining at the moment, so watch this space!
1) What’s your favourite food?
Depends on the day. But I can usually don’t need to be persuaded to eat chocolate!
2) If you had a box of crayons and you could only choose one, which colour would you choose?
A nice deep pink.
3) What movie could you watch over and over again?
ALIEN. My absolute fave.
4) What would be the top song on your playlist?
Anything by Prince. Never get sick of that guy.
5) If you won millions, what would be your first purchase?
I love clothes, so probably a whole new wardrobe!
6) A talking duck walks into your room wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, whats the first thing he says to you?
“Got any grapes?’
You can find out more about Lucy V Hay by visiting the website/social media sites below.
I would like to say a big thank you to Lucy V Hay for sharing with us details of her writing life, and for a wonderful interview.