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Listen to Confessions of a Debut Novelist, hosted by author Chloe Timms, to hear from new and up-and-coming writers about their debut novel. We talk writing journeys, tips and advice and what it's like to be new to the world of publishing. Each episode features a writer about to have their debut novel published, covering adult, YA and children's in a range of genres. We'll hear about rejections and setbacks, how writers signed with their agent and whether their book deal was with an indie pu ...
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Amy Twigg about her literary novel Spoilt Creatures. We discuss creating a charismatic cult leader, why she deleted the first 90k words and the importance of voicing your publishing worries. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* Buy Spoilt Creatures: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/10…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Nathan Newman about their literary novel How to Leave the House. We discuss setting a novel in a 24 hour period, how Nathan found their comedic voice by setting out to write something to make their friends laugh and what it’s like to write to impress your mentor, when your mentor is…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling Kaliane Bradley about her literary novel The Ministry of Time. We discuss how her novel was inspired by writing fanfiction about a real Victorian polar explorer, creating a near-future world with time-travel and how her success with short …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Aimée Walsh about her literary novel Exile. We discuss how she creates characters by observing strangers in real life, writing about sexual assault without showing the scene and how she connected with an agent by sliding into their DMs. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* Buy …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Ashani Lewis about her literary novel Winter Animals. We discuss transforming a short story idea into a novel, researching a novel setting when you can’t travel there and how she blocks out scenes in stage directions in early drafts when she’s not in the mood to write beautiful sent…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Rob Perry about his contemporary novel Dog. We discuss how Rob created his teenage main character by amplifying the fears he had when he was a teen, using his phone to keep notes on life’s funny observations and the challenge every writer faces – accepting your novel will be flawed.…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Samuel Burr about his commercial novel The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers. We discuss why his novel was inspired by an appreciation of the stories told by older people, how his hook comes first when coming up with ideas and how he deals with the buzz and hype surrounding his novel, whil…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Elizabeth O'Connor about her literary novel Whale Fall. We discuss how she created a fictitious island community, her technique for overcoming problems with plotting and how she signed with an agent before she even had an idea for a novel. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* B…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Emily Howes about her historical novel The Painter’s Daughters. We discuss discuss using present tense in historical fiction, trying to sustain tension in the saggy middle of a novel and what theatre class taught her about writing through the body. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bo…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Olivia Ford about her commercial novel Mrs. Quinn's Rise to Fame. We discuss using real people as a starting point for creating characters, her tips for finishing a novel when you work full time and the challenge of writing an uplifting novel and including sadder and serious subject…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Kristen Perrin about her mystery novel How to Solve Your Own Murder. We discuss playing fair with your readers when writing crime, how she used flash fiction character sketches to help flesh out her side characters and her surprise but successful move to withdraw her full manuscript…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Alice McIlroy about her psychological suspense novel The Glass Woman. We discuss her world-building in a novel where the technology is slightly more advanced than our own, writing about AI before it had hit public consciousness and the impact this had on trying to sell the novel and…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Musih Tedji Xaviere about her contemporary novel These Letters End in Tears. We discuss how she was inspired by a courageous gay couple in Cameroon who stayed together despite the laws forbidding their love, the challenges of using second person and why she made the tough decision t…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Miranda Pountney about her contemporary novel How to Be Somebody Else. We discuss her “un”-coming of age story, why poetry encouraged her to be experimental and why it’s important not to rush the writing process. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* Buy How to Be Somebody Else:…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Toby Lloyd about his literary novel Fervour. We discuss we discuss taking inspiration from Bible stories, how he tried to represent a variety of Jewish experiences and why having your work critiqued is one of the most valuable things you can do when starting out. Confessions of a De…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Jodie Matthews about her contemporary novel Meet Me at the Surface. We discuss writing the weird and creepy but keeping the world grounded, researching the Cornish folklore of where Jodie grew up and why she loves Bookstagram and thinks finding a community of readers is just as impo…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Madeleine Grey about her literary novel Green Dot. We discuss writing the "other woman" in an affair with empathy, how Madeleine's work as a critic gave her an understanding of how novels work and the importance of keeping note of overheard conversations and funny observations. Conf…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Emma Hinds about her historical novel The Knowing. We discuss giving her female characters agency in a Victorian era, her brilliant tips to find an agent, how she uses fanfiction as a playground and the long and difficult submission process she went through. Confessions of a Debut N…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Jennie Godfrey about her commercial novel The List of Suspicious Things. We discuss what it means to be a super lead and how it feels emotionally to know your book is primed for success but also what it's like to carry that pressure on your shoulders, how Jennie developed her charac…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Sarah Marsh about her historical novel A Sign of Her Own. We discuss how her novel was inspired by a part of history that’s not well known, putting a deaf woman at the heart of her novel and her career-changing prize success. TRANSCRIPT: download Confessions of a Debut Novelist Book…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Jessica Bull about her crime novel Miss Austen Investigates. We discuss why Jane Austen makes the perfect detective, how Jessica knew the time was right to query her dream agent and what it's like writing a novel that went onto sell in 18 territories. Confessions of a Debut Novelist…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Georgia Summers about her fantasy novel The City of Stardust. We discuss how she was inspired by stories from her childhood describing portals to another world, using real places to inspire her fantastical world building and her insight as a former editor and whether she writes with…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Fiona Williams about her contemporary novel The House of Broken Bricks. We discuss discuss using nature writing to reflect the story's mood, reading work aloud to find rhythm and melody in a sentence, and how exposing the publishing process is for introverts. Confessions of a Debut …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Hester Musson about her historical novel The Beholders. We discuss the challenges of writing in a diary form, how to transform one dimensional characters and the crushing story of how Hester thought she was going to be published with a different novel, but it sold only to Italian pu…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Lottie Hazell about her contemporary novel Piglet. We discuss how Lottie does what she calls “playful method writing” by cooking along with Piglet to connect with her character’s headspace, why food is a great way for writers to explore characters and after working in marketing at a…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Emma-Claire Wilson about her commercial novel This Child of Mine. We discuss why she uses first person perspective to help readers live through her character’s light and dark, how she chose to transform her novel into a commercial style and building a writing platform before she had…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Lizzie Huxley-Jones about their festive rom-com Make You Mine This Christmas. We discuss character creation with mood boards and playlists, writing a disabled love interest and what ‘write for hire is’ and how this gave Lizzie their route into publishing. Confessions of a Debut Nove…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Lucy Barker about her historical novel The Other Side of Mrs Wood. We discuss her interest in Victorian seances and the true story that inspired her novel, how she created a warm and witty voice and how Lucy’s lack of faith in herself meant things didn’t work out with an agent in he…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Stacey Thomas about her historical novel The Revels. We discuss adding a touch of fantasy to historical fiction, her advice for making a historical setting feel lived in and what happens when other books come out that sound similar to yours? Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop*…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Mira V Shah about her psychological suspense novel Her. We discuss subverting stereotypes of British Asian women in fiction, how she added pace to her novel and after Mira’s blog on the realities of being a debut gained traction online, she talks about how to manage expectations and…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Lynsey May about her contemporary novel Weak Teeth. We discuss why Lynsey wanted to write about teeth, how her inspiration began with just one striking sentence and why she chose to write an open ending. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* Buy Weak Teeth: https://uk.bookshop.o…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Rajasree Variyar about her contemporary novel The Daughters of Madurai. We discuss how she was inspired by a shocking news story about infanticide which she remembered from her childhood, why her intense research trip to India made her complex characters more authentic, and finding …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Jenny Mustard about her contemporary novel Okay Days. This is a really interesting episode because I asked Jenny if she thinks her large following had any impact on her sales and we talk a lot about social media and whether writers should worry about the size of their following. We …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Claire Daverley about her contemporary novel Talking at Night. We discuss how the characters of her novel lived in her head for years before she found a way to put them on the page, why she made the contentious decision not to use speech marks and why this novel was third time lucky…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Sarah Jost about her contemporary novel One Last Chance. We discuss writing as a non-native speaker, the challenges of writing a time loop love story and how Sarah tries to practise what she calls “writers’ mindfulness” to cope with the challenges of being published. Confessions of …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Alex Hay about his historical novel The Housekeepers. We discuss creating an ensemble cast of characters, how it took a clear idea and a story that felt fun and more “him” to attract an agent and how this novel turned him into a mega planner. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Jenna Clake about her literary novel Disturbance. We discuss using witchcraft to write about female agency, the challenges of novel writing vs poetry and how Jenna Whatsapps herself notes on the go to keep her ideas alive. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* Buy Disturbance: h…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Margaret Meyer about her historical novel The Witching Tide. We discuss why she was inspired by women who had been wiped from the history books, writing a non-verbal character and how working in male prisons taught her the power of story. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* Bu…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Pim Wangtechawat about her literary novel The Moon Represents My Heart. We discuss how she set up the rules for time travel in her novel, the challenges of writing in her second language and what it’s like when your book’s optioned by Hollywood star Gemma Chan. Confessions of a Debu…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Alice Bell about her crime novel Grave Expectations. We discuss how she created her crime solving duo of a medium and a teenage ghost, how she works out whodunnit and why then works backwards and why now that she's published bookshops have become a place of fear. Confessions of a De…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Aoife Fitzpatrick about her historical novel The Red Bird Sings. We discuss the unbelievable true story that inspired her gothic novel, how her research trip to West Virginia helped her get the tone and the voice right and why she applied for arts council funding. Confessions of a D…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Bridget Walsh about her historical crime novel The Tumbling Girl. We discuss writing a historical working class character who pushes against the constraints of the era, working with a great indie press and Bridget’s advice to anyone who think it’s too late to write their novel. Conf…
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Jericho Writers are offering listeners of this podcast a very special discount. Use the code PODCAST15 for 15% off annual membership. In this special episode I’m talking to Rose Wilding about her psychological suspense novel Speak of the Devil. We discuss why a writing workshop made her want to behead a fictional man, breaking all the writing rules…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Senta Rich about her commercial novel Hotel 21. We discuss the differences between writing a screenplay and a novel, why a first person voice was so appealing to her and creating hooks in your story. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* Buy Hotel 21: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/1…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Katie Bishop about her psychological suspense novel The Girls of Summer. We discuss how the #MeToo movement inspired her teenage character’s troubling first romance, how she used the present tense to let the reader experience events alongside her character and how she structures her…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to to Santanu Bhattacharya about his literary novel One Small Voice. We discuss how he wanted to explore the experience of millennial Indians in a rapidly changing world, using the structure of his novel to add intrigue and suspense and the advice from Max Porter that transformed his w…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Katie Lumsden about her historical novel The Secrets of Hartwood Hall. This episode is a fascinating one. Katie had an agent for seven years, wrote several books that went on submission and unfortunately failed to get a book deal and she's also been a fiction editor for a Big 5 publ…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Alison Stockham about her psychological suspense novel The Cuckoo Sister. We discuss how her novel’s sisters represent two sides of motherhood, when she realised she was writing in a way that wasn’t working for her and creating a divisive ending. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Book…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Jo Leevers about her commercial novel Tell Me How This Ends. In this episode we discuss how personal loss inspired her story, why adding a mystery element gave the book momentum and why asking questions during the publishing process is important. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Book…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow about her literary novel All the Little Bird-Hearts. In this episode we discuss writing from the perspective of an autistic woman as an autistic author; how she left school without qualifications before studying for a PhD in later life; and her advice for neuro…
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