Its always exciting to be able to meet a fellow author and I was sad to miss the launch of Lisa Wolstenholme’s book The Sunrise Girl which was held on December 7th at Katharine Sussanah Pritchard Writers Centre. By all accounts, it was a lively fun event Luckily Lisa has kindly answered some questions from me about the book and her writing process.
The Book is on my To Be Read List. When you read the description you can see why!
The Sunrise Girl By Lisa Wolstenholme
Lisa, can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m from the UK and grew up travelling a fair bit due to my dad being in the Royal Air Force. I gained a degree in computing and spent a good ten years in the industry, but always felt drawn to healing modalities so studied counselling. I ended up working in a crisis service in Leeds, which I loved, but when I came to Perth, I found I couldn’t use my qualifications to work here as a counsellor. I twiddled my thumbs for several years as my daughter went through primary school, and finally joined KSP Writers’ Centre back in 2014.
Have you always wanted to write?
Absolutely. I’ve always loved reading and have a very active imagination, so writing was the outlet I needed to tie those things together.
You have just released a book, tell us a bit about that.
It’s my debut novel, The Sunrise Girl, about Lucy Fraser, a thirty-something woman who, along with her best friend Em, has spent her twenties partying hard. When she eventually gets married to Joe Morris, she soon realises that settling down is not what she wants. Joe dies, and it’s Lucy’s fault, and the desire to escape her woes is so strong that when Em suggests they go on holiday to the party island of Ibiza, Lucy can’t resist. But Ibiza fuels her hedonistic desires further, so Lucy must figure out what makes her tick and what she truly wants. The key themes in the story are conquering guilt, escapism, addiction, authenticity, and doing what we ‘want rather than what we ‘should’ do.
What inspired it?
I’ve supported many people who struggled with a variety of issues such as addiction and escapist tendencies, so I wanted a character who was heavily flawed and struggling with things that people could relate to. I’ve also witnessed several of my friends go through rocky relationships and marriage breakdowns, so I wondered what made the relationships fail, and how much each person gives up being part of a couple. I wanted to write something relatable in terms of everyday issue and vices, such as drinking heavily and smoking, and what purposes those addictions fulfilled, to make the characters more authentic.
How long did it take to write?
The ideas and ‘scenes’ have been floating around in my head since around 2011, but I didn’t start writing it until 2014. By that time, it was like a movie playing in my mind, so writing it was pretty quick. The rewriting, on the other hand, well-thank God I joined a writing group and learnt how to write properly! And here we are, eight years later!
How do you capture your ideas?
I’m a visual person, so I’ll see something that then sets off a chain of events in my head and images start popping left, right and centre. It can take a while to get them organised, but once an idea comes, it takes hold until I’ve got it out of my system.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished going through the second round of edits on my Paw Prints of Love anthology story for Gumnut Press, and after a short writing break over the summer, I plan to get back into writing The Sunset Girl to tell Em’s story.
Do you work on more than one thing at once?
For sure. I’m easily distracted! What is the best and worst advice you received as a writer?
The best advice is to just write regardless of your level of expertise. Chloe Higgins held a workshop at KSP entitled, ‘How to Vomit a Novella’. It was basically telling us to get over ourselves and our hang-ups and just get stuff written. It doesn’t matter how badly written it is-rewrites and edits can help with that-it’s vital to get those creative ideas down on paper.
The worst advice I’ve been given is to ‘show don’t tell’ all the time. I agree with showing not telling in general, but too much of it can stifle the pace of a story and make it way too descriptive, leaving little room for the reader’s imagination to come into play.
Comment by Sonia- that kind of advice re-show don’t tell can leave a beginner quite baffled!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write as often as you can, and it doesn’t matter if you think it’s shit. Join a writing group to meet like-minded souls. Read. Read. Read.
Paulo Coehlo, Gillian Flynn and Elizabeth Gilbert are a few.
Thank you and congratulations on your book
Thank you for interviewing me. 😊
I hope that I asked Lisa the questions that you would have asked .
You can find her on Facebook Lisa Wolstenholme Author.