Tell us a little about your debut novel, Souper Mum, published by Accent Press on 16th June – love the cover by the way.
Thank you for having me! Souper Mum is the story of mum-of-four Jools Campbell and her misadventures in motherhood and minor celebrity after she becomes embroiled in a feud with TV chef, Tommy McCoy. I hope it's an honest modern look on family, life and love. With her name being Campbell....that's pretty much how the title and the cover came to be... thank you for the comments on the cover art, I love it too!
You have a fabulous blog full of interesting posts. Can you tell us a little about your inspiration behind this book?
Like my blog posts, my novels always try to capture aspects of modern day family life and run some humour through them. I really wanted Souper Mum to be based around the current preoccupation with celebrity foodie culture as well. As an extraordinarily bad chef, I do find there is often little out there for us non-foodie/bad cook types to relate to!
There’s so little free time for a mum, do you have a daily writing routine and if so, can you tell us a little about it?
I never write in the day – the kids are far too much of a distraction! So I spend the day plotting, scribbling down notes and rearranging chapters in my head. Walking the dog is a good way for me to clear my head and sort out my ideas. Then when everyone is in bed and the house is quiet, I usually pop on some headphones and can write solidly for four-five hours of an evening.
Can you tell us about your route to publication?
Souper Mum has taken about six years to get to print. It had been bouncing around agents and editors but it never found a real home and in between having babies and real life, I did neglect her thinking in the back of my mind that maybe she wasn't meant to be. But then one day, I entered her into the Accent Writing Competition run in association with Woman Magazine. To my delight, it placed second and they asked to see the full manuscript. A few months later, they agreed to sign it – I was over the moon! They will also publish its sequel later in the year.
Start small. Trying to write a novel can feel like an epic task so if you’re new to writing, perhaps give short stories a go? I started out writing these and it was probably the best education I could have as a writer. I learnt so much about brevity, dialogue and how to edit my work judiciously. I submitted these to competitions with varying levels of success but it really set me up for novel writing and gave me a good insight into how to submit my work professionally and working to deadlines.
Which is your favourite book?
It is and always has been Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I just remember it being the first book that really spoke to me as a child. It was just overloaded with imagination; lyrical, inventive and completely insane. I read it over and over again.
What temptation do you wish you could resist?
Probably all the ones that prevent me from writing in the evenings! So that'd be Jaffa Cakes, a nice gin and tonic and box sets on Netflix. I'm a terrible binge watcher whether it be Game of Thrones, House of Cards or Orange is the New Black, I'm very impatient so need to watch everything in one go!
What is your philosophy on life?
I'm an eternal optimist so I have to go Monty Python here....always look on the bright side of life. Publishing, motherhood: they can be especially tough lines of work so it’s always important to smile and keep going J
To buy Souper Mum, click on this link: Amazon UK
Mother-of-four, gin-drinker, binge-watcher, receipt hoarder, hapless dog owner, enthusiastic but terrible cook. Kristen lives in Fleet, Hampshire and has had short fiction published in several publications.
She writes a weekly blog about being a modern mother. That and more can be found at her website: www.kristenbaileywrites.com
You can also find her on:
Twitter @baileyforce6 and Facebook www.facebook.com/kristenbaileywrites