Login   Sign Up 


Collated Answers from WW interviews

And the best?
Al Hunter AshtonThe parties.
Alan WilliamsKnowing that some editor appreciates your ideas, your writing talents and the characters that youíve imbued with life. To have recognition, albeit on a small scale. To realise others might read and hopefully enjoy your work. Finally to be able to hold you head up when asked ĎWhat do you do?í and answer with pride, ďIím an author.Ē
Ali McNamaraWhen you finally get that call.
Andrew BlackmanThat wonderful feeling, every now and then, when everything feels right, the words flow and I know they are good. Itís a high that canít be beaten.
Anne BrookeOh, those rare moments when I'm rocking and can't stop typing, not even to eat. When a poem goes well and the blood starts singing, or when a scene I'm working on (usually the sex or violence scenes, I have to say Ö) just flows and my head is buzzing with it. When I can hear the character's voice in my head and know they're part of me and I of them. Oh, that's good. And when somebody says they enjoyed something of mine they've read and I choose to believe they're not simply being nice.
Ardella JonesThe excitement of the creative process. When I have done something worth reading and get to run it by my friend and mentor, Jonathan Wolfman. We have also had great fun working on comedy scripts together, as comedy is collaborative. We worked on an American project and were phoning each other up at 3 am having serious debates about whether Ďpooh poohí or Ďca caí was more American. Thank God my classical education was not wasted
Beanie BabyBeing able to pick up a pen and go to a fresh blank page, prferably in a beautiful new writing book; the very act of writing is for me the most rewarding thing in the entire world. Consequently, I write everything in longhand to begin with.
Bill SpenceThe best thing about writing is seeing the book in hardback. But also after the story has gelled seeing the first word on paper Ė a great adventure lies ahead to produce an acceptable work.
Cally Taylor
Getting exciting by an idea for a new novel, living vicariously through a characterís life and those rare occasions when the words spill out effortlessly and you actually quite like them when you read them back!
Candi MillerNot caring, because the writing is going so well.
Candy Denman Working your own hours, having a good excuse to watch daytime telly, and as I write for television, I have to say- the money.
Caroline RanceFinishing a first draft Ė the sense of achievement at having completed a book, combined with the anticipation of editing and polishing it, which is my favourite part of the process.
Cassandra ClareGetting letters from kids who say they thought they hated reading but
they loved your book.
Catherine CooperWhen you suddenly have an amazing idea which makes whatever you are writing click into place. I tend to start out with only the vaguest idea of where my books are going, which Iím not sure is a good or bad thing (probably bad.)
SkippooI just love shaping words. Like most artists, I love those moments where you feel really inspired and lost in what youíre doing. And also, itís great when someone tells you theyíve been moved in some way by something youíve written.
Catherine RichardsI find writing quite therapeutic. You can unload your brain of all the stresses and anxieties it carries around and give them to one of your characters to deal with instead. Also, unlike real life, you can play god and control how it all ends dishing out big servings of karma along the way. (Do I have megalomaniac tendencies? Ö very possibly.)
Cathy GlassSending the manuscript to my agent and publisher knowing I have done my best.

Christina CourtenayThe freedom to work whenever you want to (Iím a night owl, so used to hate getting up in the morning to go to work), meeting lots of other enthusiastic and friendly authors and being allowed to make money out of doing something so enjoyable!
Claire AllenWhen the words are flowing and you know a scene is working! On a similar level, one of the most amazing experiences I've had as a writer is to read over a scene I've written after some time has passed and feel the emotions I've created on the page sweep over me as if for the first time.
Claire MossWhen it's all going well and the work just flows Ė on a good day it can feel like I'm just transcribing a scene that is happening for real in front of me.
Clare SambrookLiving in the imagination, like a child, dreaming, playing, asking questions, making things, wrecking them, starting afresh.
Courttia NewlandFreedom
Craig BaxterMy favourite social activity is rehearsing and creating plays. I love actors. They are just attractive, outgoing versions of writers. They are needy people who need us. Hurrah.
Danny RhodesWhen the words come so fast that you canít keep up with them. I love the rush I get when an idea takes off and begins to breathe all by itself.
Dawn FinchWhen it all just rushes out in a wonderful outpouring and I can feel the imagined world grow around me. That is bliss. Times like that, when I look up and hours have sped past in the blink of an eye - that is pure heaven. Sometimes, when it all gushes out, I read back what I have written and canít believe it was me!
Deborah SwiftTo create a whole imaginary world must be one of them, and the total creative freedom a writer has. One of the best things is definitely to have readers. Even if you are not published, make an effort to get someone to read your work. It makes you feel like a writer Ė and it is such a great relief to find the characters exist in someone elseís head as well as your own, that they have started to be real for someone else.
Diane SamuelsThe solitariness, the autonomy and the opportunity to spend my days creating other worlds and whole characters.
Domenica De RosaThe chance to make a living from your hobby.
Elizabeth BuchanHandling the first proofs of the latest novel. There is something quite special about that moment. Also, I have been lucky enough to receive letters from readers all over the world who tell me they enjoy the novels and I love the connection that is made between them and me. But, above all, I feel so lucky at being able to do what I love. Writing has proved to be a fascinating journey Ė without maps and compass at times Ė but it is one where I am continually learning.
Elizabeth SpellerThe euphoria when youíre on a roll; when ideas just come from nowhere and go off in unexpected directions or connect up with themes you havenít even consciously introduced. And seeing the first published copy of every new book of course.
Emilia di Girolamo So many things - working for myself and by myself - I enjoy the isolation most of the time, the joy of having something accepted for publication, the excitement of seeking a commission, the moment when you start collaborating with actors and directors and seeing your work come to life after being alone with it for so long.
Eva SalzmanOnce started, and if inspired, the feeling is as close as Iíll probably ever get to a religious experience. As transcendent as that, or sex.
Eve AinsworthI love seeing the ideas coming together, or a piece of writing flowing beautifully. There is also nothing like the satisfaction of typing Ďthe endí on a piece of work.
Fiona RobynWhere to start? I love the way it helps me to pay attention to the world and to myself. I love the look of words on the page, and the sound of them. I love getting to know my characters, and helping them tell their story. I love the satisfaction of writing a good sentence. The feedback I get from happy readers is, as Raymond Carver might say, pure gravy.
Gary DavisonSitting writing and editing every day. I wouldnít want to be doing anything else.
George SzirtesIt is the other life, the potentially real life. Lovely to feel words moving rapidly through your fingers. Words canít really be the real world, but they pass through the real world, carrying the intelligible parts of it with them.
Gillian McClureA letter from a child; not 30 letters after a visit to a school, all of them copied from the blackboard, but one unexpected letter from a child who loved one of my books. Response to this reader and others who love my books: they make me feel that what Iím doing is worth all the struggle and sacrifice.
Gordon and WilliamsRG: When youíve finished a piece, and it just works, and you sit back with a cigarette and a fresh cup of coffee to admire it on the screen.

BW: Making things happen.
Helen BlackEverything.
I never for a moment thought Iíd see Damaged Goods in print and it still makes me smile each time I see it in a shop.
My weekly sales figures make me whoop for joy. I mean Iím not John Grisham, but Iíve sold many thousands more copies than I ever anticipated, which, if Iím honest, was about six.
I still canít quite believe I get paid to lie.
Helen CastorWhen the book or piece is finished Ė not (ever) perfect, but there, with an integrity and an existence that seems independent from me.
Helen McWilliamsThatís an exhaustive list, however Iíd say itís the journey that it takes you on, Iíd never have thought Iíd be writing articles when I was merrily penning stories and poems as a youngster. There are always different paths to take, new goals to set yourself, as well as different genres of writing to try.
Jae WatsonIt is the only time I feel totally absorbed in the moment with the sense that Iím where Iím meant to be, doing what Iím meant to do.
James BurgeWhen someone says they were moved Ė either to laughter or tears of something in between Ė by something I wrote. It is a feeling of having shared something important with a stranger.
Jane ElmorGetting a brainwave, either as an idea for a story in the first place, or during a novel when something appears like magic in your mind that you hadn't planned. Coming up with an unusual twist Ė there's one in MVS that no-one's seen coming yet, as far as I'm aware (I know I didn't!) Getting a fresh metaphor when you've only been able to think in cliches for days. Re-reading something you've written that you'd forgotten about which actually makes you laugh out loud (at least, as long as it was meant to be funny.) Being on the downhill ride to the end. In fact, writing ďThe EndĒ is always cause for celebration. I hate editing, but it's great when you do actually tighten things up and hone the story over the course of the editing process. And of course, it helps to free up the first draft because you know you can write any old thing as long as you get it down, knowing you'll go back over it and make it better.
There are many best moments on the way Ė an agent saying 'I love it!' (those three little words!), signing that publishing contract, seeing jacket designs for the first time that someone else has done (not your own ideas that you've mocked up on the computer), holding a proof copy Ė an actual book Ė in your sweaty palms for the first time.
Jane RogersThe solitude.
JemKnowing youíve just written a crackiní story, seeing your name in print, the email that pops into your inbox informing you youíve made a sale, the money (when it finally arrives), writing ďthe endĒ and chatting to other writers on WriteWords.
Jenn AshworthThe short bursts of time when I have faith in the process and stop being scared about how long it is taking me or how much I throw away. When it works out. It's the best feeling in the world.
Jenny Eclair Playing God.
Jill DawsonEverything else.
Jill McGiveringThose moments of complete engagement when I feel as if I am the characters, feeling their feelings and thinking their thoughts. It can take a lot of hard writing work for those time to happen. But when they do, itís deeply satisfying. Itís similar to the pleasure of being engrossed in a good book as a reader but the pleasure is more intense.
John MurrayThe best thing about writing is the personal responses from people who like your work. I get regular letters and emails from people enthusing about my books, occasionally saying they've had a major impact on them. About ten years ago I had an extraordinary one. Radio Activity happens to be full of Cumbrian dialect used for comic punning purposes, and I received a long fan letter from a Polish American who had read it in the States and he wrote his letter in his own version of Cumbrian dialect. It was surprisingly authentic!
John RitchieWhen people tell me I made them laugh, or cry, or I made them spit their coffee all over the keyboard, or as someone once wrote: ďIf I read that story as the opening page of a book, I would buy the book.Ē YES!
Jon HaylettThat rare moment when I sit back from a short story or a novel and know that itís done, that, as far as Iím concerned, itís as perfect as Iím likely to get it. Then, of course, thereís the moment when someone else agrees.
Jonathan WolfmanHitting a wave when writing and surprising yourself with what comes out. And obviously anyone wanting to make, direct, produce or act in what youíve written.
Josa YoungGoing down deep and letting my characters get away from me, prancing and dancing and misbehaving while my fingers fly to catch up.
Judith JohnsonManaging to get down to it.
Julia BellBeing mistress of my own universe. . . and the huge satisfaction of completion; of finishing something that pleases me.
Julia CopusBeing able to surprise yourself. Writing allows you to step outside your normal (often overly critical) self; perhaps it even demands it. And that means itís possible to write something the normal Ďyouí would never have come up with Ė never have been capable of coming up with. Thatís a great Ė if slightly weird! Ė feeling.
Kal BonnerThe absolute best thing is being able to reach people. It's amazing to think that words come out of your head, into the laptop, out again as a body of work, and into someone else's head. It's like having sex, without having to worry if you've had your bikini line waxed. In other words - it's liberating.
Kate LongThe mum half of me would say itís being at home for the children (I have two little boys) and having space and time for the family as well as for myself. But the writer side says itís the emails you get from fans that totally make your week and remind you what youíre working towards.
Kate TymIf you love it, you love it. I love constructing pieces of writing. The joy of finding just the right word. I need to motivate myself to do lots of things in life, but writing isnít one of them. And when I perform my poetry (which is mainly funny) and the audience laughs Ė that is such a kick.
Kia AbdullahGetting a positive reaction from my readers. I have had readers contact me to say that Life, Love and Assimilation made them cry or made them angry or made them yell out loud and itís such an amazing feeling to know that I can affect someone on an emotional level through my writing. It may sound like a clichť but itís true.
Kit PeelI find writing throws down a constant challenge to learn, travel, experiment, to be interested. Reading something you have written that you realise has taken you forward. Thatís a great feeling.
Laura WatsonItís amazing being able to play make-believe for a job and there are always new challenges on the horizon. Itís impossible to get bored.
Lee HenshawThereís a very small space between the page and the end of your pen Ė thatís where youíll find the best thing about writing.
Lee JacksonHearing from readers. Ideally positive things, but even serious negative criticism is good, if you think someone has given your book a good deal of time and thought.
Lola JayeSomeone telling you your book made them laugh AND cry. Priceless. Brilliant. Amazing. And makes all the writers block, lack of money, editing, rejection slips and staying in on sunny days, worthwhile.
A L BerridgeThe release.
Lucy McCarraherBeing your own boss. Being able to give your creative side free rein and seeing where it takes you. Coming back to the computer to find out where the story is going to take you next, like your own private soap opera running in the back room of your life. Being able to use words to create a world and work out a plot.
Luisa PlajaGetting completely involved in a world I've created myself. Or maybe that amazing feeling when other people 'get it' too.
Malcolm BurgessJust feeling youíve done your very best. There are few other areas where the sense of personal achievement is so overwhelming.
Maria McCarthyThe final edit Ė all the tough groundwork has been done and itís just the lightweight altering and fiddling stuff left.
Mark BoothThe buzz from creating something in my head then transcribing it in a way that I and other people enjoy reading. Recording my ideas for posterity. Receiving positive feedback
Mark Liam PiggottAcceptance
Matt LynnSeeing your book printed is a fantastic thrill. And so, of course, is seeing it the bookshops. My last book ĎFire Forceí, was in Tesco, next to the Twilight books, and something by Cheryl Cole. My kids were Ė very briefly Ė impressed.
Meg PeacockeThe absolute involvement in the writing process once a poem has got underway.
Michael RidpathWriting a scene very rapidly, usually involving an argument or some moments of tension, punching out the full stop at the end with a flourish and realising that you have written 2,000 words. It is almost as if you have spent the last couple of hours away somewhere else and have just returned to reality exhausted, but also invigorated.
Michelene WandorFinishing a piece of work; knowing it has gone as far as it can, and the times when people enjoy/like what I have written.
Michelle HarrisonKnowing that the only limit is your imagination; it can take you anywhere. Also hearing from people that have enjoyed your work is brilliant!
Milly JohnsonGetting paid and appreciated for doing what I would do as an unpaid hobby Ė and working from home too, which is ideal for a single parent like me. I donít feel like Iím at work because I enjoy what I do so much.
Neil ForsythPublication, certainly, gives some weighty validation in a pursuit never slow to chuck self-doubt at you. But for me the greatest satisfaction is sitting down each day knowing Iím doing what I would choose to be doing above anything else. And I think thatís a very fortunate and privileged position to be in.
Neil J HartWhen your writing connects with somebody and they write to tell you how much they enjoyed it. Itís quite humbling to receive great feedback and it spurs you on to create better work for yourself and your readers. I saw somebody reading my book on a train once - it was great to just sit anonymously and watch them giggle their way through an hour of my work.
Neil NixonThe occasions when the above doesnít apply. The chance to get paid for thinking things that would be a liability in real life.
Nick GriffithsForming a sentence that makes you smile or laugh. And being read by other people.
Nick StaffordThe visceral feeling that youíre on to something. Spending time with imaginary friends. Applause. Silence. I went to Paris this Xmas and my plays were stocked in Shakespeare and Co. My partner took a photo of me pointing to them. I told her about the myth(?) that writers move their books so that theyíre displayed more prominently. Mine were at knee height, spine-on, so she pulled them out and placed them front-on, eye level.
Nicky SingerIt never goes away.
Nik PerringConnecting with readers. I know itís a bit of a clichť but there really isnít anything better than seeing that what youíve written has stirred up something inside someone. It can be something as simple as people laughing in the right place, or a class all going Ďeugh!í at the same time. That for me is something quite special.
Patricia Cumper
As a playwright, sitting in the middle of an audience while they watch what youíve written and have them respond, laugh, cry so that you know theyíve heard the story youíve been trying to tell.
Patrick DillonKnowing that it is
Paul ReedThe lifestyle. I work sometimes lying in bed! I get up when I want to. Also the buzz you get after you've done a reading. It's an intense high after conquering all that fear and still doing a good job. The fact that all those people are there to see you and listen to your work. It's brilliant and I love them all!
Peter RobertsonThe sense of achievement born of the implacable pursuit of perfection. I go over what I write time and time again and may not send it off until I have given it six or seven revisions. I do believe there is something remorseless about writing. The writer who masters his trade never pampers words but hammers them relentlessly into shape.
Preethi NairThe freedom
Rebecca ConnellThe best thing is when everything just flows and I donít have to think about what Iím setting down on the page; when I read over a scene that Iíve just written and know that it doesnít need changing; when I feel so involved with my characters that I can see them clearly in my mindís eye as if they were real people. I find that I generally hit a couple of ďpurple patchesĒ when Iím writing a novel where these things happen much more frequently Ė usually around the beginning and the end, which can make the middle feel like a bit of a chore!

Rebecca StrongSeeing your characters develop as if you were documenting their lives rather than controlling them.
Ron MorgansReleasing all those people living in my head. They are bullies. I bake them like gingerbread men, expecting them to be tasty. But theyíre not, they are so demanding! ĎIím sorry old boy. I donít ride a bike.í or ĎOh, no. I wouldnít be seen dead going out with him.í My heroine fancies my villain. How wrong is that?

Donít they know Iím their ringmaster? Their Creator?

Rosy BarnesOh heck. This is the point where Iím supposed to enthuse about the amazing feeling of writing. How I live to write. How the fingers glide over the computer keys in a surge of creativity connecting me with my inner being, my deepest self, my very soul!

To be honest, I find most of the writing process quite painful and often wonder why I do it. But I do get an immense sense of satisfaction when I feel I finally nail an idea, a line, a paragraph. Then itís all worth it for the odd elated moment or two.
Rosy ThorntonJust writing really. Thatís it. I love it.
Sally NichollsThe best bit for me is when I first start writing a story and I donít have to worry about where itís going, I can just write what I want to write and enjoy it. And the last three months when people have been saying nice things about the book and things like translation deals keep happening have been the most exciting of my life.
Sally ZigmondEverything else. I love getting stuck into a new project. It doesnít happen very often but I just love it when I find Iím steaming along and several hours pass without my noticing it. But, best of all, I love rewriting. Itís so rewarding seeing a messy first draft develop from an ugly duckling into (hopefully) a swan.
Sara MaitlandPower.
Sarah SalwayThose moments when I have to keep writing so I can find out how my own story ends.
Sarah StovellItís all I want to do, and I can do it without getting dressed.
Shahrukh HusainGetting an idea commissioned. The buzz of seeing a good first reaction from my publisher or agent
Shelley WeinerThe best? When the writingís going well and thereís that wonderful sense of fullness, of words and ideas spilling out onto the page. That, for me, is happiness.
ShikaI like the magic of writing. When out of nowhere, seemingly disparate strands of story transform into a vivid painting of John and Mary's early married life where you can smell the apple juice stain in the kitchen table even though they only shared their first kiss a few hundred words ago....
Smith BrowneQuite simple really: seeing your work in print. Is there anything else?!
Sol B RiverIt will be there when I'm gone. It is something that when fully realised (on, page, stage, or screen) is a great love for me, a very great love. I've worked with people of extraordinary talent and I've had the opportunity to travel and as always widen my knowledge. I'd like to believe that the best is yet to come.
Stella DuffyThe four or five sentences in a completed piece of work that actually are as lovely as they had been in my head. I find that the best of my work is maybe 50% of the perfect idea I had before I started to write it down!
Steve FeaseyExperiencing the sheer thrill of reading back your words and realising that you might actually be quite good at this writing malarkey.
Steven HagueThe best thing about writing is the sense of achievement I get from it. Sometimes Iíll read back a passage that I wrote a few days earlier and barely even recognise the words as my own, leaving me to wonder where on earth that they came from. And of course, being your own boss has its perks!
Sue MoorcroftSuccess. Itís not just a case of money, although I have to contribute to the household budget just like other people. But if my work is good enough to be published, it validates me Ė not just my work, me! Ė and tells me that Iím good enough. Just getting published isnít enough: I want to be in bookshops in airports and high streets. I want online rankings to be high and reviews to be good.
Tania HershmanWhen a line, a phrase, a whole story comes out pretty much how it was in my head. I really only write for me, I write what I like to read, and when it comes out the way I had heard it, it is somehow miraculous.
Tara HylandBeing able to go to work in my pyjamas. And making a living out of something I love.
Tim LottThe acclaim Ė if it ever arrives.
Tony McGowanThe freedom to do what I want, both in terms of my work, and in terms of how I spend each day. That and the groupies.
Tracy BuchananDisappearing into another world.
Trilby KentThe moment when your characters start to live on the page. Getting positive feedback from readers. Seeing your ideas and imagined worlds existing out there, for real.
Vanessa CurtisBeing different. Realising that thereís no age-limit on writing. Opening the newspaper, seeing my work in print. Writing to music - I choose certain tracks that I think will suit the mood of the current book Iím writing. For instance the book I just wrote for teenagers was written to an angst-ridden raw soundtrack comprising of bands like Green Day, Razorlight, The Killers and the Arctic Monkeys. The best, rare, days are when the writing and the music seem to blend into one and spiral up out of the ordinary and into some place where the words flow out almost faster than I can write them down. One of the advantages of writing fiction, to me, is that most of itís coming from my own imagination; thereís no need for the books, photographs, footnotes and academic texts that I need to use for non-fiction. But paradoxically, I sometimes miss the structure of having all those tools around me. I love doing research, both for fiction and non-fiction, and sometimes itís good to learn something new to keep the brain ticking over. Iím currently immersed in reading about the Suffragettes, just for my own pleasure.
Vanessa GebbieFor the first time in my life I am doing something I really love doing.

William Coles
Sometimes, not very often, but sometimes, you get these really serendipitous moments, when you get an idea that just fits perfectly; or you might write a paragraph which, when you look back, makes you think, "Not too shabby". Gives you a warm glow in the evening, when you think that, for once, you've had not too bad a day at the pit-face.
William SuttonThe lack of imposed structure.
Zoe LambertEven though writing is, for me, always personal, the best thing is when I feel I have communicated an experience, someone elseís perspective Ė a teenager who is partially deaf, a Sudanese asylum seeker. And the pleasure of creating an aesthetic whole, the story.
Zoe WilliamsThis sounds awful, but I make myself laugh out loud. When I still worked in an office, the guy sitting next to me said the last person heíd worked with whoíd done that had had a nervous breakdown.