With the launch of The Flying Man (Headline) this January, Roopa Farooki has published five novels in five years – here are her tips on how she starts a novel, and how she manages to finish what she starts!
What inspires you to write?
Like many writers, I am inspired by what is closest to me – in my case, it’s family, and I’m particularly interested in writing multicultural family dramas, intimate stories of relationships which span continents and generations. I find endless inspiration in this area – there are so many stories to tell, and they are universal, as the experience of family is one shared by everyone.
What keeps you writing?
It’s been said that starting a novel is fairly easy, it’s finishing it that’s tough! I find that my stories tend to build their own momentum as I write them, and carry me along with them – I find I can’t wait to write the next page, as I want to know what happens next as much as anyone, and I want to exorcise the chattering characters out of my head and onto the page. When I’m in full flow, I become quite resentful if I have to answer the phone, or eat, or sleep, as time not spent writing feels like a waste. That said, sometimes everyone loses momentum – if I find that writing a particular scene is hard work, then I usually leave it out, as if I’m not excited about writing it, I find it hard to believe that someone would be excited about reading it. It’s a good way of pre-editing those bits of a book that someone might be tempted to skip!
Top Tip for Finishing a Book in 2012
It sounds fairly obvious, but if you’re a writer, you need to write. I write almost every day, my four kids permitting, not because it’s my job and I’ve got a deadline, and not even because it’s what I enjoy doing most. I write because I must. So my tip is to do just that – to write every day, and write something that compels you, because it’s a story you just have to tell! After all, a page a day will result in a novel at the end of the year. I’m aiming to write the first draft of my sixth novel for next year, so we’ll see if I manage to follow my own advice this time around!