Saturday, July 29, 2006

A room with a view...

I managed not to update last week, mainly because I was buried under freelance commissions that had to be in for Monday morning. Being a writer is one of those jobs where inevitably you always have to hand something in on Monday morning and can never shake that 'back to school' feeling on a Sunday night.

I've started the second book in my four book sequential series and that's ticking along in a fun way. I love having a character mapped, the plot all figured out and then when you start writing, the girl you've created decides that she's in charge and does and says things you never imagined. So I'm busy with that and while it's early days with the second book, I am doing quite a few pieces for various magazines, mostly British ELLE because we have a mutal love thing going on.

So, I've also been looking at the comments you've left and I feel the need for some numbered points:

1. There is NEVER going to be a fourth Diary Of A Crush book. I've explained the reasons why in a couple of posts and I'm sorry but I have nothing new to add! The last book ended where it was meant to end, and I honestly believe that I left Edie and Dylan in a good place. I will add that it was left wide open for Grace to pick up the Diary torch but that's because DOAC started as a column in a teen magazine and for the last year or so, Grace actually took over the Diary Of A Crush column. But that doesn't mean that there's going to be a Grace DOAC book. I have so many other stories that I want to tell!

2. Lots of people are asking for writing help and tips.

I have made a few posts on this topic but I think this one is probably the most helpful.

What I plan to do over the next month or so is compile a writing FAQ and post it at my official microsite, so I'll let you know when it goes up.

3. I'm afraid that I no longer put my email address in books and don't personally answer emails anymore. What you will get is a very long, very detailed email answering the most common questions I get and advising you to visit either my blogspot page or myspace. I just don't have the time to answer letters any more and have had so many bad experiences, from people being very abusive about not getting a personalised reply to being added to address books and getting tons of junk email and spam email.
I also don't ever use IM in any shape or form. I don't belong to BeBo or any of the other network sites, apart from MySpace so please don't send me invites to join them.

Christ, I sound like such a curmudgeon! Time for a change of pace so I thought it might be fun to post pictures of my study so you can see the room where I write my books and spend most of my time.

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The Place Where The Clutter Lives

The library, the study, the office - call it what you will; this is the messiest room in the house and also where I probably spend the most time. I like being surrounded by over three decades worth of books, records, magazines, videos and huge amounts of paper. You can just see my polka dot Marc Jacobs bag by my chair!

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Starfleet Command

The very desk that I'm sitting at now. Note the heaps of stuff on the printer and scanner, which have never been operational. Plus the pink Post-It notes liberally scattered everywhere so I don't forget those occasional flashes of inspiration.
The actual desk is a 50's kitchen table I found in a junk shop and over the chair is my favourite cardigan. There is now a picture on the wall (The Great Bear by Simon Patterson) but this is pretty much it.

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Music And Bags

This is the CD part of the room, plus a mound of bags on the floor; you can just make out an Orla Kiely nestling on top. Plus loads of mess piled on the filing cabinet. That's my favourite red cardigan. It exactly matches my lippy!

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Ladder Of Success

Videos in the foreground and to the left, my DVDs, plus a general melange of folders, medicines and crap I don't know what to do with. Oh, yes and a ladder, How else do you think I reach the very top shelves?

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Books, Books And More Books

Most of the study is covered in these purpose built shelves I had a posh lady carpenter make to my specific requirements. This is part of the book section with a stoopid cardboard vampire standing watch over them.

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And There's More...

Even more books. Plus my collection of metal lunchboxes and cocktail accoutrements.

So, don't believe anyone when they tell you that mess gets in the way of the creative process. It just isn't true!

Anyway, I'm off to watch Big Brother now...

Live on

Sarra x

(Crossposted to

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Praise be!

Hello pop tarts

I emailed off the final draft of my book on Thursday night. Apart from a bit of line editing, i do believe that it's done. Of course, if the Powers That Be demand another draft, then I may well cry real tears. So, I did what any other writer in my situation would do and yesterday I started book two. (I'm writing a sequential series of four books and, no, I'm still not allowed to divulge any details.)

I know myself well enough that if I do take a break, then it can be weeks before I get my writer thing going again, so I'm busy polishing off my very detailed chapter-by-chapter synopsis and doing lots of research. Research that involves watching DVDs of The Simple Life, Olsen twin movies and watching Tiara Girls (I am so obsessed with that show. I love that the girls they feature never win any of the pageants that they enter!) and Australia's Next Top Model and Canada's Next Top Model. Yup, my love affair with the Next Top Model franchise knows no geographical boundaries. It's a sickness, I tell you!

One of the reasons for my writerly dedication is that it would be quite nice to actually have a holiday at some point in the next few months. Maybe Majorca for a week and definitely a trip to NYC which is my second favourite place on earth. Obviously London can never be bettered. And now that deadlines are a bit more relaxed, I can have a social life again. I see lots of hanging out with my friends and cinema going in my immediate future. Tomorrow, I'm seeing the new Pirates Of The Caribbean movie - though I'm more of a Johnny Depp girl than an Orlando admirer.

And right now, the sun is shining and it seems a pity to be stuck indoors so I'm off to make the most of it.

Live on

Sarra x

Saturday, July 08, 2006

These dark days of the soul...

Oh dear. I overslept big-time this morning. Until 11.30. And I can't really say that I'm raring to go and ready to take on the world. In fact, I'd rather just go back to bed.

You see, I'm at that stage with my new book where the finishing line is clearly in sight but my legs have turned into two unwieldy things that won't keep me upright. I'm fixing my plotholes, amping up my emotional tipping points, changing the order that things occur and then changing them back again and trying to do something, anything with my limp, final chapter. At the same time, I feel like I can hardly bear to open up Microsoft Word and get to work. These are dark days, people.

So, before I get back to the coalface of teen fiction, I'll say thanks for all your messages and comments. I know I'm being very lame at the moment and not posting any fun stuff or getting it together to reply to many comments but normal service will be resumed on that happy day that I email off my final doc to my editor!

(Cross-posted to