Thursday, 5 March 2009

Quickfire Questions with...Phillipa Ashley


Phillipa Ashley is a freelance copywriter/journalist and talented author of contemporary romantic fiction. Her first novel won the Romantic Novelist Association’s Joan Hessayon New Writers Award, and The Little Black Dress imprint will publish her latest book, ‘It Should Have Been Me’, today!



Which 3 writers, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?
Jane Austen, Ian Rankin and Bill Bryson

Favourite desktop snack?
My daughter’s home made cakes or a Snickers flapjack.

Longhand first or straight to computer?
Straight to computer unless I’m on holiday. Otherwise longhand.

A writer should never…
Let other people’s prejudices prevent them from writing the kind of books they want to.

Independent bookshop or Amazon?
Depends on who has my books in stock. There’s a place for both.

You really must read…
Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Philips
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Heaven Sent by Christina Jones
Anything and everything by Jane Austen

My biggest tip for success is…
Write from the heart and embrace supportive criticism from those you trust.

Email or phone?
Depends on what you want to say. I prefer to phone my agent and ed.

The writing achievement I am most proud of is…
Starting at the age of 41 – that’s also my biggest regret.

Tabloid or broadsheet?
All. I read them free at the gym!

If I were to try writing in another genre it would be…
Dark erotic fantasy. Under a different name, without my mum finding out.

The best thing about being a published author is…
Sharing my stories with real people and getting paid for doing that. Working with talented agent and editors. Meeting other authors.

Sophie Kinsella or Marian Keyes?
Um. Sorry but neither. I haven’t read any Sophie Kinsella so I can’t compare. I prefer Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde and Christina Jones.

If I could go back and do it all again I would…
Not worry about the destination so much and enjoy the journey more.

14 comments:

Samantha Tonge said...

Some inspiring answers there, Phillipa, thanks!

Er, shouldn't you be working out in the gym, instead of reading?:)

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Very true, about not letting other people's prejudices influence what you write. And as someone who wrote her first completed novel at 54, I know what you mean about late-starters!
Susiex

Gillian McDade said...

Thanks for your contribution Phillipa. I've also discovered the joys of Kate Atkinson's books!

CarolineG said...

Ah, me too....

Thanks for the post and congratulations on publication day, Phillipa!

Geraldine Ryan said...

Great answers, Phillipa! I heard Christina Jones speaking once at a Woman's Weekly writers' conference. She was hilarious and so natural. She had us all rolling in the aisles!

Happy Publication Day!

sarah fox said...

Thanks Phillipa - as yet another late starter, that's also my biggest regret - though I probably didn't have the skills, the time - or the computer - to come to it any sooner.

Julie P said...

Great post Phillipa. I only started writing at the grand 'old' age of 37! It's comforting that there are writers out there who started at a similar age or older than me. I tend to censor what I write (especially any rude bits!) for fear my family and friends might read it if I ever get into print. I think I may have blown my 'wholesome' image by submitting work to the 'Is Someone Chewing Toffees anthology!!! My family and friends must never know!

Rosy T said...

Great interview, Phillipa. And best of luck with the new book.

I've been lucky enough to have an early copy and have read it - so can say authoritativey here that's it's a wonderful read!

(41 - the same age that I began to write. A great age for it!)

Samantha Tonge said...

I began at 38 - ooh, it's like we're members of some underground club:)

That Chewing Toffees reference reminds me of a really bad joke i once heard - i wonder if it's connected:)

Phillipa said...

Thank you for asking such interesting questions. I used to write things when I was little and in fact I won a runners up prize in the Daily Mirror Literary Contest when I was nine. (Oh the giddy heights - and yes -the DM did stuff like that then!)

But I always liked writing non-fiction - anything I wrote was descriptive. Them after studing literature and writing copy all my life, the idea of letting myself write *stories* seemed inconceivable. It took the most unexpected and bizarre catalyst of North & South to get me started on fiction. Or a mid life crisis. :) I expect Rosy might agree - that's how we met.

Perhaps SW would do a blog on starting late, one day.

My advice is Don't wait, Ever.

Samantha Tonge said...

I think one reason people might start later is a realisation that it is now or never to achieve certain things - i suppose that might come under a mid-life crisis!.

One thing that pushes me to write book after book is a sense that time is running out. If i was in my 20s i might be more happy to shelve my writing for a year or two, if i kept getting rejected - who knows.

Hope yesterday went well, Phillipa:)

Phillipa said...

"I think one reason people might start later is a realisation that it is now or never to achieve certain things - i suppose that might come under a mid-life crisis!.

One thing that pushes me to write book after book is a sense that time is running out. If i was in my 20s i might be more happy to shelve my writing for a year or two, if i kept getting rejected - who knows."


All of this rins so true, Sam. Yesterday was a nice day - see the latest post on SW! And it's not over yet as we have a launch at Mertry Hill Waterstones tomorrow. Launches are what you make of them, I feel.

Samantha Tonge said...

Well, i hope you enjoy it, Phillipa - and make a few sales:)

Lydia said...

I think we're all the same. (I started at 44, but had been writing all my life). I think for most of us the business of making money and paying bills takes over until something happens. In my case it was a serious back injury(which I wouldn't recommend!) which gave me plenty of time to lie around and think about what I wanted the rest of my life to be like.It's maybe a coincidence that I was also mid-life crisis material at the time. I still haven't had that first novel published, but have had success with women's magazines and wouldn't be without writing now. Best of luck with the launch, Phillipa -sorry I can't be there.