Josie Metcalfe, Romantic Novels

A Day in the Life

I'm an owl married to a lark and we often joke that we only really communicate in the middle of the day but it works for us because that means I get the nit-picky stuff like housework done and cooking and freezing batches of meals while I wait for my ‘writing brain’ to wake up for the day. Somehow I just can't get properly started if the bed isn't made and the dishes aren't washed and the kitchen tidied.

The room that I work in is in the furthest corner of the house and has no internet connection so I can't get distracted. Having said that, there are notepads all around the house for those unexpected ‘lightbulb’ moments – I’ve learned to my cost that they need to be written down straight away no matter whether I'm making the bed, putting together a patchwork quilt or shaping one of my bonsai, or they can disappear as quickly as they arrived.

When I first started writing I had to wait until the children had finished their homework before it was my turn to use the computer but once I got my own… well, I don't have to write into the wee small hours of the night any more to get to my target word count.

I always know how my books are going to end because I construct a skeleton of the story. I know where the story starts but I plan it from the end, working out the points at which certain events have to happen to make the story-line hold together properly (apparently, that's officially called critical path analysis).

Research trips are one of the perks of my life, especially as I live in the middle of one of the most beautiful parts of Britain, and the display board in my ‘office’ always has some lovely photos of houses and scenery relevant to the current story, including images of people - especially a selection of handsome heroes.

I've worked out that I need to stop working before I reach the end of a scene so that when I return to the computer the next day, it's easy to jump straight into what’s happening. Ever since I adopted this method I haven't had to worry about the curse of writer's block.

My writing day always ends with reading and there’s always a sizeable TBR pile beside the bed waiting to whisk me away into someone else's imagination before I go to sleep.