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A Chat with Writer Rebecca Howie

RebeccaHowie

Welcome, everyone, to the first ever interview on Cookie Break! ^-^

Is this exciting or what! 😀

The writer I’m introducing to you this month has just released her début novel, The Game Begins, earlier this year in February! I’ve started reading her book this week, and while I’m not very far into it (and despite it not being my usual kind of book) I’m enjoying it so far. There’ll be a review coming up, too, but why not head to Goodreads and take a look for yourself in the meantime? All important links are at the bottom of this page 🙂

Hi Rebecca, and welcome to Cookie Break! Congratulations on publishing The Game Begins. Releasing your first novel into the world is a huge achievement!

Could you tell us a little about your book? No spoilers, please! 😉

RebeccaHowie CoverThank you. I’m just glad I finished editing! The book is about a teenage girl who is struggling to come to terms with her father’s death and so when her friend suggests she gets closure by taking a PI course, she decides to do it. When she gets her first case and starts to look into it, she realises that there’s more to her father than she first thought.

Would you mind sharing an excerpt with us, or a favourite quote? 

“You can buy me a box of chocolates and we’ll call it quits.”

Do you remember what sparked the idea for The Game Begins?
There wasn’t really a eureka moment for it, because I always used to just sit and write stuff whenever I had the time and then one day I was writing about a female version of Sherlock Holmes and it got me thinking about what could push someone to that, what could make someone so withdrawn and calculating and untrusting. So I started to write about a teenager who’d had a lot of bad things happen to her and everything else just followed on from there.

What are you working on right now?
I’m going between two novellas at the moment. One is a sequel, which I definitely hadn’t planned on, and the other is a sort of prequel/ alternate version of The Game Begins which gives some more details to Marshall and what his deal is.

What draws you to the genre you write in? Have you always been drawn to it?
I guess I have always been drawn to crime and mystery novels, because I was never really interested in the typical teenage books, the ones filled with love triangles and whether the protagonist will get invited to the dance or not and I was trying to find the right genre. I can’t remember the first mystery novel I read but you can’t find a book in my room which isn’t about a murder or crime now.

Who/what is your writing inspiration?
That’d probably be JK Rowling, because I admire that she didn’t let her unemployment and lack of money stop her from doing what she wanted.

What do you do if inspiration just won’t come?
If it doesn’t come, I look through the notepads I have with old prompts and stuff in. Any time I get an idea which I could write about, I’ll make a note of it so I have books filled with them for when I have one of those days. And if those don’t help, I listen to music or look at one of the TV shows I’m emotionally invested in and try writing something with those characters in to try and get myself over my lack of inspiration.

Which part of the writing process is your favourite, and which part do you dread?
My favourite part would definitely be plotting, because I like coming up with ways to push my characters and seeing how they deal with those hurdles. Writing about situations I wouldn’t want to be in or horrible things I wouldn’t want to happen, are the things I like writing about most. They’re interesting to pick apart and analyse and create a reasonable reaction to.

The part I dread is the editing. I remember getting the first formatted version of The Game Begins back and just wanting to cry at the thought of having to go back over it to make sure there was nothing I wanted to change, because it took me months to come up with 70 thousand words and string them all together in the right way to get Sam’s story across the way I wanted.

What is your number one distraction?
The internet. That’s an easy one. I always get to a part of the story and I’m convinced I need to do research and then four hours later, I’m doing a quiz on what my writing says about me or reading about why Scotland Yard moved buildings. Sometimes it is genuine research, though, but most of the time, I’m reading completely unrelated stuff that has nothing to do with what I’m writing about.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’d be lying if I said I was one or the other, because I’m a bit of both. If I’m writing just for something to do, I’ll make it up as a I go along, but if that story becomes something I think I can write an ending for, I’ll start to plan it out.

Tea or coffee?
Tea if I feel sophisticated, or else it’d be hot chocolate.

What are the most important three things you’ve learned about writing, editing or publishing (or all of the above!) since you started your journey?
I’ve learned so much since I decided to make writing a career rather than a hobby, but I think the most important thing would be that it isn’t as solitary as people suggest. There are publishers and editors and cover designers to talk to, as well as the people you ask to help with research and the obscure little things you can’t find on the internet.

Another is that editing is tough, because you’ve got to be brutal. You spend months writing these scenes and exchanges and then you have to decide what ones to cut out because they’re irrelevant to the thing or don’t fit the story. And because you’ve got to reread stuff you’ve looked at a thousand times.

What’s your favourite quote on writing?
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.”

-Ernest Hemingway

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Write something you want to read.

Where else can we connect with you?
My blog at WordPress and Twitter or my Facebook page

You can find The Game Begins on Goodreads here.

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5 Comments

  1. A fantastic interview ladies 🙂
    I’ll definitely be checking out this book!
    Keep writing <3

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