"Where do you find the time?"

Yesterday I told my work colleagues (because I have a real job too, I don't just write books) that I'm having a total of five books published this year. They all said the same thing: "Wherever do you find the time to write all these books!" (I suspect they were wondering whether I'm secretly working on chapter 11 when I'm supposed to be organising volunteer rotas or typing up minutes.) That's a question almost every writer struggles with. I have three children, a part-time job, and a calling. Until last week I was also an Avon rep. I have a house to keep clean, laundry to do, and meals to prepare. I'm trying to lose weight, so I try to get to the gym three times a week. Writing is right down at the bottom of my list of priorities, just above sleeping. The simple answer to where I find the time to write these books is, "several years ago". I'll explain, book by book:

  • Honeymoon Heist, which was published in February, was started in 1996. Around the scene where they hide in plain sight on the beach I got into some major writer's block and didn't write any more for several years. I completed it, finally, in 2009.

  • Landscape in Oils (title will change) which is due to be published in the Summer, was inspired by the idea of a friend (Debbie from Llangoed) I worked with in an Estate Agent's office next door to Bangor police station. I left that job in 1995 and I think most of the story had been written by then. Three years ago I took it out, dusted it off and started sending it to publishers.

  • Haven is being republished (in slightly revised and updated form) this year, ten years after its original release date. My publishers, Walnut Springs, felt that readers of Christmas at Haven should have the opportunity to read the others in the series. (Unfortunately I don't have the manuscript any more, and so I am having to scan in the whole book.)

  • A World Away, ditto.

  • Christmas at Haven is the third in the Haven trilogy. I wrote it in 2001 and 2002, intending it to be published right after the first two, but it was rejected and has been on the back burner since then.

I spent all of last year writing a fantasy novel called Emon and the Emperor. It's currently doing the rounds of UK agents. It may be several years before it gets published, and then, again, my work colleagues can ask, "Where did you find the time?" and I'll say "2010".

Seriously, though, I find I write better in the evenings when my body slows down and my brain speeds up. Tonight I am taking my daughter to Mutual (our church youth group) and since it's a long drive home again just to turn around and go back to pick her up, I'll be shutting myself in a room in the church with my laptop enjoying some blissful peace and quiet to revise Emon.

Where do you find the time to write?


  1. Anna, that is absolutely awesome that you'll have five books released next year!

    I think people not in the industry sometimes assume we write a book and it quickly shows up on bookstore shelves. Not so--that "new" book might have been written ages ago, and we've long since been working on something different.


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