I’ve got another amazing HQDigitalUK author on the blog today and it’s the lovely Victoria Cooke! Welcome, Victoria!
Tell me a bit about you and your latest work.
It Started With A Note is a romantic comedy about, Cath, a single parent of a grown-up son who steps outside of her comfort zone by heading off to France to retrace her war-hero great-grandfather’s WWI journey. She meets some wonderful characters along the way, including some fun octogenarians, and handsome French tour guide, Olivier.
It Started With A Note is out in ebook on the 2nd of December and paperback on the 21st of February.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Happy, light-hearted, dreamer.
How would you Twitter pitch your novel?
A warm cosy hug of a book, with a sprinkle of history and a dollop of armchair travel.
What are your top 3 tips for aspiring writers?
Set manageable daily wordcount targets.
Don’t get too hung up on wording in your first draft – just get your ideas down.
Join one of the many online support groups for writers – don’t isolate yourself.
Are you a panster or plotter?
I usually have a one- or two-page outline in a notebook, with some key themes jotted down somewhere else and a few quotes that I think of which I store in my phone. I basically have bits of planning everywhere so I suppose I’m really a pantser.
What does success look like to you?
In the book world, having people I don’t know contact me to tell me they’ve enjoyed my books is the best measure because that’s what I’ve set out to achieve.
How do you choose your character names?
I usually look at top 100 lists from the year they were born and depending on their background, look at common or less common names from that year and pick one that I think will suit their nature.
Do you ever Google yourself?
I did once, but it turned out that there’s a much more well-known Victoria Cooke who had a slightly different career than I. She was once ‘Playmate of the month’.
What do you do when you get stuck with your writing?
Put my phone on ‘flight mode’, get snacks and coffee at the ready and go for it! I tend to aim for bursts of an hour with breaks in-between.
How long does it take you to write a book?
The quicker I write a book, the longer it takes to edit. I had just a few months to write The Holiday Cruise and it took a good few months to edit. Ideally, about four or five months for a first draft is comfortable.
What’s your main weakness as a writer eg.SPaG, continuity etc?
Spotting my own typo mistakes is by far is my weakness. I’ve taken to using the speech function in MS Word so I’m relying on sight and sound to find errors rather than just sight. I’m not too bad with most SPAG, however, there are slightly different ‘house rules’ that I can’t always keep track of.
What do you find hardest/easiest about writing?
Structural edits are the hardest part for me. The implications of just a small tweak can be huge and require changes throughout the entire manuscript. I love tweaking dialogue once I’ve finished the draft and know my characters better.
Describe your writing process in 3 words.
Procrastinate, write, delete
If your book/one of your books got made into a film, who would play the main roles?
I’d love Emily Blunt to play Mel in The Secret to Falling in Love and if Ryan Gosling could pull off a British accent, he’d be my first choice for Scott.
What’s been your biggest learning curve?
Personal time management and setting my own goals. Taking part in NaNoWriMo has helped massively with that.
Do you prefer pen and paper, or is everything on the computer?
I’m a ‘grass is always greener’ kind of girl. Whichever method I’m using, you can guarantee I’m sat there thinking I’d be better off doing it the other way.
Who’s your favourite author and why?
I really don’t have one. I enjoy so many different genres and styles that it wouldn’t truly reflect my reading style to pick one. I love Liane Moriarty, Sophie Kinsella, JoJo Moyes, Stephen King, Gillian Flynn and Shari Lapena to name a few.
What’s your favourite book?
Again, there are so many to choose from. Probably something that really gripped me like ‘The Hungar Games’.
How do you relax?
Usually by either reading a book or watching TV with a glass of wine and some chocolate.
And now for some silly questions just for fun…
Tea or coffee?
Beer or wine?
Chips or curly fries?
I love both but if it was one or the other for the rest of time, I’d choose good old chips.
Puppies or kittens?
Summer or winter?
I love both if the seasons are true enough (snowy winters and warm summers).
One lost letter. A chance to change her life!
Superhero single mum Cath always puts other people first. But now that she’s seen her son safely off to university (phew!), life seems a little, well…empty.
So when Cath unexpectedly discovers some letters written by her great-grandfather during the First World War, she decides to take herself on an adventure to France to retrace his footsteps.
Cath expects to spend her holiday visiting famous battlefields and testing out her French phrase book. What she doesn’t anticipate is that her tour guide, the handsome Olivier, will be quite so charming! Soon Cath isn’t simply unearthing the stories of the past – she’s writing a brand new one of her own, which might end up taking her in a very unexpected direction…
Bestselling author Victoria Cooke is back with another hilarious, romantic, and heart-warming read, perfect for fans of Lucy Coleman, Sue Moorcroft and Jo Watson.
Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016
Thank you so much for joining me Victoria, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed finding out about her and her writing process! Make sure you head over to Amazon and get your copy now! https://amzn.to/2P03dNK