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Feng shui expert, astrologist, journalist and brilliant author of Carole King is an Alien and the forthcoming All The Rage, Yasmin Boland gives us the lowdown on her own writing methods.

What inspires you to write?
They say "writers write" and I have to agree. I've been writing fact and fiction since I was old enough to hold a pen, basically, and I just can't seem to stop! So what inspires me to write would have to be - everything. Regarding fiction plots, I am fascinated by different things at different times.

* For my first novel Carole King Is An Alien, I was inspired by the nuttiness of the new age movement and by bits which I also actually agreed with ...

* With my short story Mr Charisma in Girls' Night In I, which is about a papparazzi photographer girl in London, I was inspired by that shot of Prince Edward's wife Sophie, flashing her bazooka to a camera, in a photo which was taken privately but ended up on the front page of The Sun!

* In my new novel All The Rage, which is about jealousy and infidelity, I just wanted to deal with the themes of jealousy and infidelity ... I honestly couldn't tell you why. I thought of the theme first and kept writing opening chapters to go with it. Finally, after writing about 10 or 15 totally different chapter ones, which all had 100% different characters in 100% different places, I wrote one which I liked, and went from there. (That chapter is now about Chapter 7 in All The Rage, but it was the one which inspired me most ... I guess I liked the characters I created in it the most ...)

How long does it take you to write a novel?
I would estimate about 9 months of thinking and 9 months of writing. I would rather have two years to write one in, but so far have done each in about 18 months.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what is it?
Yep - I try and write 1000 words a day, every week day, preferably but not always between 9am and 5pm. If I actually did that, of course, it would only take about 100 days to write a 100,000 word novel but then you have to rewrite everything at least once, in my experience. I find once you have decided on the characters, the rest unfolds (usually!).

Has your life changed since you became a novelist?
Sure! I have found this amazing creative outlet which gives me great pleasure and yet is considered 'work'. I've also met lots of other writers, been asked to speak at Writing conferences etc and also met LOADS of people
who approached me just because we share a love of writing. I actually call my love of writing my Fiction Addiction!

How do you cure writer's block?
I just do that 1000 words a day thing. I make myself do that and it gets me through. I think I get blocked mostly when I just haven't though my plot through properly, so it's a matter of being disciplined about that and
thinking through where I want to go with the plot. I think I also get blocked if I am tooooooo joyously happy or terribly sad to think straight! Extreme emotions seem to cut my writing circuit most obviously!

Who is your all-time favourite author?
Right now I would say it would be between Will Self and Patrick White ... both so different and yet so amaaaaazing ... I find them inspiring and daunting at the same time.

What are you reading at the moment?
Veronica Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho. Just read How To Lose Friends And Alienate People by Toby Young.

What's the biggest myth about being a writer?
I honestly couldn't tell you - what are the myths?! That we are all really rich or really poor? That we are in any way the same? We all seem to have such different circumstances. Maybe the myth is that it's not too hard - I
think it's very hard and you have to be prepared to work and rework. I have yet to hear of a writer who churns out word perfect prose without a lot of sweat and toil!

What advice would you give budding authors?
Writers write. Write every day. Open your file for at least half an hour or more ... add at least 500 words or more. At least something. And - the most important advice of all - finish your work! Just finish it!!! And then ...?
Seriously, then you have to rewrite it! I would also suggest that you don't just show it to friends or your Mum or whoever. Find a freelance editor who will read your work for you and give you an honest appraisal and ideas. One great person is jane@meditation.net.au - she does it freelance and is excellent. She doesn't charge the earth - though, of course, she does charge.

What can readers expect from you in the future?
My new novel All The Rage comes out in July. It's about two half-sisters, one of whom lives in Sydney, the other in London, and what happens when they meet up.