christina jones
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Christina Jones, author of Tickled Pink and numerous other novels, talks, among other things, about how she can't write anything before she comes up with the title.

What inspires you to write?
I honestly haven't got a clue! I've written all my life (literally! I was writing stories before I started school) and as I always seem to have all these people living inside my head, letting them out into print is just what I do... However, I can't write ANYTHING at all without first having a title... So, I suppose catchy one-liner titles inspire me to write...

How long does it take you to write a novel?
About 8 weeks on average. I only do one draft, editing it as I go along. I'm very lazy and the thought of writing and rewriting over and over again fills me with horror. As I make it up as I go along, I like telling myself the story as it unfolds - once it's over I lose interest...

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what is it?
I'm very chaotic in my life - so being organised into a writing routine isn't easy - but yes, I write from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. and then again from 10 p.m. to midnight-ish on the days when I'm not at work. (I work in a pub/restaurant as a barmaid and waitress on weird shifts). I work in the pub most weekends, so rarely write on Saturdays and Sundays.

Has your life changed since you became a novelist?
Yes - loads. I do lots of television and radio work now, and get asked to open things, and speak at writing conferences and stuff like that - really weird as I'm painfully shy. I've been to some amazing places and functions since being a novelist, met people I've previously only admired from afar, and generally had a lovely time. However, my lifestyle may have changed dramatically - but I haven't changed at all. I'm still the fat girl from the prefabs...

How do you cure writer's block?
I've never really had the dreaded WB - at least not for more than a hour or so. (Fingers crossed and wood being touched as we speak). As writing is the thing I love doing (almost) more than anything else in the world I seem to have more ideas than I have time. BUT if I do ever get stuck on a bit of the current book/story/article for any reason I don't worry about it, I just leave it and start writing something else, then go back to it later. Works for me.

Who is your all-time favourite author?
Dickens, Dickens, Dickens.

What are you reading at the moment?
All R.D. Wingfield's backlist (The Frost crime novels). I love British crime novels. I'd LOVE to be clever enough to write crime.

What's the biggest myth about being a writer?
The amount of money you earn! That you'll be as rich as Croesus the minute you sign your first contract. That the royalties will roll in allowing you to become a tax exile. That you can afford to give up the day job. All baloney! Unless of course you're already a celeb or happen to be JK Rowling or Jilly Cooper...

What advice would you give budding authors?
Enjoy it! Have fun! Don't worry about breaking the rules. Write because you love it. Write what you like reading - write for yourself as well as for your public. If you love your characters and your story then it'll show and your readers will love them/it too. ALWAYS be professional when dealing with agents and publishers, never think you know best. You don't. Take every bit of advice you can. Take your writing very seriously indeed - don't take yourself seriously at all.

What can readers expect from you in the future?
More of the same... More Christina Jones Bucolic Frolics... Madness and mayhem in rural settings... I also write short stories for most of the women's weekly mags - so more of those too. I'd like to write a tv comedy series (since my novel Nothing To Lose was bought for telly I've been a bit hooked on the idea of "seeing" what I write) - AND I've also just started writing the outlines to a series of novels based in the 1960s because it's an era that changed everything - AND one day, one day, if there's time and when I'm a proper grown-up I hope to achieve my next ambition an
d write The Crime Novel. So many plans - so little time....