The Tales of a Contemporary Romance Writer

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Talkin' Tuesday with Sara Jayne Townsend!

By Sara Jayne Townsend

Writing is a strange business.  Lots of people seem to think it’s easy.  Lots of people seem to think anyone can do it.  No one assumes that just because you can pick up a paintbrush, you can be an artist.  Just because you sing in the shower, you don’t assume you’ve got a voice good enough to win record contracts.  But because we can all form words and put together sentences, some people think this makes everyone a writer.

You know the type of person I mean.  You generally run into them at rather dreary parties – the sort you go to out of obligation, rather than because they’re fun.  When they find out you’re a writer, they give you that smug sort of look and say something like, “oh, I always thought I could write a book.  I just never have the time.”

There are a lot of things wrong in that short declaration, but I’m just going to focus on just one of them.  The time factor.  None of us has enough time to do all the things we want to do in life.  We all have the same number of hours in every day.  There are essential things that take up a great deal of time.  Eating, sleeping, working the day job, feeding the pets, looking after the children, whatever.  Then there are the other things that perhaps aren’t quite so urgent but make demands on our time.  Visiting sick relatives.  Paying the bills.  Grocery shopping.  Answering emails.  Phoning that friend you haven’t seen in months.  Exercise – whether you enjoy it or not.

On top of all this, we writers must find time to write.  And if we are lucky enough to have published work out there, promotion becomes crucial too.  Maintaining an online presence.  Answering interview questions.  Doing guest blog posts.

And before we even get to the question of the things we do for fun, suddenly we already need more than 24 hours in a day to do everything.  And therein lies the problem.  No time.  And yet, it’s not an excuse not to write.  That person who manages to churn out a novel a year has no more time at her disposal than the unpublished writer who’s spent ten years working on her first book.

This is where discipline comes in, and it doesn’t always come naturally.  Sometimes it has to be learned.  My first published novel, SUFFER THE CHILDREN, took me ten years to write.  DEATH SCENE, the second, took two years to write.  What changed?  Mostly I spent more time with my bum in the chair, actually writing.  I also made some lifestyle changes.  For many years I did amateur theatre, something I really enjoy but when I was doing it, I had no time to write.  It had to go.  I also watch a lot less TV than I used to. 

Nowadays I make time to write.  Since I’m not in a position to give up the day job, and said day job involves a long commute into London, it’s sometimes difficult to get motivated in the evenings when I get home from work.  So now I get up early.  By early I mean, being in time for the 6:40am train into London.  I sit in Starbucks for an hour with my NetBook, a soya latte and a ginger muffin and do some writing before going to work.  It works for me.  Even though I get a lot less sleep than I prefer.  If you really struggle to be an early bird (and I speak as someone who at one point in life never thought she could be one), then maybe staying up late and writing when the rest of the household has gone to bed might work for you.  Or spending half an hour less on the Internet, or in front of the TV every evening.  If you are a mother with a particularly demanding family, perhaps you need to introduce a new rule – one day a week, Mummy locks herself away and writes, and no one can disturb her, no matter what.

Making time to write is a well-explored subject, but I think it’s worth making the point again.  If you want to be a successful writer, you need to make time to write.  This might mean making a few life adjustments.  So be it – life doesn’t always let us have what we want.  We all have the same 24 hours at our disposal.  Make them work for you.

Poking around in family closets produces skeletons…

British-born, Toronto-based, actress Shara Summers turns amateur sleuth when her sister is stricken with a mysterious illness. Summoned back to England to be with her family during a time of crisis, Shara discovers doctors are at a loss as to what's causing Astrid’s debilitating sickness.
After her aunt is found dead at the bottom of the stairs the death is deemed an accident. Shara suspects otherwise. Her investigation unearths shocking family secrets and a chilling realization that could have far-reaching and tragic consequences that affect not only her own future, but Astrid’s as well.

 "Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based author of crime and horror.  She
has two novels - SUFFER THE CHILDREN and DEATH SCENE - published as e-books by Lyrical Press, Inc (  Her first collection of short horror stories, SOUL SCREAMS, will be published by Stuar Press ( later this year.  She is the founder and Chair of the T Party Writers' Group, the only London-based 'real space' writing group for genre writers.

You can learn more about Sara Jayne and her writing at her website
( and her blog

Thanks for visiting Sara and Have a Sparkling Day!
Rebecca Rose

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