As author Eva Woods releases her latest novel, The Man I Can’t Forget, we catch up with her as she shares her tips for aspiring writers and reveals where she finds her inspiration
‘Adam’ is found wandering down the central reservation of the M25. He has no memory of how he came to be there and no clue who he is.
Eve knows what her colleagues had for lunch last April. She remembers everyone who has stayed at the care home where she works, long after they’ve gone. Her life is small and meticulously managed.
As Eve works with Adam to help him discover who he once was, her world begins to open up – beyond the care home, beyond her memories.
But as Adam finally beings to remember his past, will there be room for Eve in his future?
Q & A
When did you first start writing fiction?
I started writing a few years after I started reading really – I was writing little stories and drawing pictures to illustrate them from the age of eight or nine. I spent most of teenage years reading books and then writing thinly-veiled imitations of them myself. There wasn’t a huge amount to do in rural Northern Ireland where I grew up!
Tell me a bit about your journey to getting your first novel published?
I was quite lucky with getting published because a friend sent me a link to a competition for new writers, on the very same day I just finished writing my first novel. The competition closed the next day so I very quickly sent it in – I ended up coming second, being invited to a big ceremony with Cerys Matthews as one of the judges, and getting an agent then a publisher off the back of it. It just goes to show it can really be worth entering competitions.
What inspired the idea for your first novel?
I actually had the idea for my very first book in a dream – I quite often have vivid dreams and wake up thinking they would make a good story. Sometimes I can dream the entire plot. Sadly I usually forget most of it as soon as I wake up!
How did you feel when you heard the news that your first novel had been accepted for publication?
It really was a dream come true – I had been working full-time while writing it and had a meeting with my boss to discuss going part-time when I got the phone call from my agent. I walked in and handed in my notice instead! And just like that became a full-time writer.
Tell me about authors who inspire you and books which have made a particular impression on you…
I also write crime fiction and really love well-written thrillers such as those by Erin Kelly, Sabine Durrant, Donna Tartt etc. I also love a really sad love story along the lines of The Time Traveller’s Wife, and I read a lot of a non-fiction too. Strangely I am very fond of military history! I’m definitely not the target market for that but I find it fascinating .
What tips would you give to aspiring novelists?
My biggest tip is to finish your first draft! So often people get trapped rewriting the start of the book and trying to get it perfect. There’s no point doing that as it will most likely change as you go on, so my advice is just get the first draft down without any editing, perhaps without ever using the delete button at all! After all, no one has to see it until you’re happy. I also tell people to set goals based on word counts rather than writing time – as otherwise you can just sit at your desk for hours and never actually do anything!
What’s next? Are you working on another book?
I’m always working on something else. The Heartbreak Club is coming out soon, and also another thriller as my alter ego. Typically I write two to three books a year.