‘Grit your teeth and keep going’ – Kerry Barrett shares her writing tips with Author Advice

Kerry Barrett

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Kerry Barrett is a self-confessed bookaholic who has always loved words, writing and reading. As a child she was very bookish and read all the time. She even remember’s challenging herself to read all the Famous Five books by her seventh birthday. From growing up on a diet of Enid Blyton, Noel Streatfeild, and Sweet Valley High, she moved on to Jackie Collins and her all-time favourite Jilly Cooper. She studied English at university, then trained as a journalist and worked on various newspapers and magazines as a writer and editor. In her spare time, she wrote and rewrote what became her first novel, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, which was published in 2013.

She has published six books with Carina UK, which is now part of Harper Collins, and her most recent book is called A Step In Time. It features a soapstar heroine, a mystery from the Second World War, and a very sparkly dancing competition called Strictly Stars Dancing…

Her next book, which is currently untitled, takes place in the offices of a glossy magazine. It’s partly set in the present day and partly in 1966, when the magazine in the story (which is called Mode) is being launched.

Of her latest book, which is due out in September, she said: “I’m really enjoying researching the 1960s and find myself disappearing down wormholes of 60s playlists, fashion pics, and ringing my mum to ask one question like what colour lipstick did she wear in 1966 and chatting for two hours. I work on a magazine myself so I’m lucky enough to have access to our company library where I can happily lose myself in early issues of Cosmo and Vanity Fair. It’s a lot of fun!”

Originally from Edinburgh, Kerry now lives in South London with her husband and their two sons. She is also features editor on All About Soap magazine and spends her days watching EastEnders and Hollyoaks. She likes to think of herself as the Kate Adie of the soap world.

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My Three Top Tips for Writers

1. Read
Everyone says this, don’t they? But it’s true. I genuinely think you can’t be a good writer if you don’t read. Read everything you can. Read widely, read things you might not necessarily think are ‘your thing’, read contemporary books and read classics. Read as a reader, for the story and the sheer pleasure of the words, and read as a writer, paying attention to pace and plot and characterisation.

2. Write

It’s another obvious one! I know everyone’s different and some writers swear by detailed plans, notes on characters, flow charts, venn diagrams, and all sorts. But while I am a great believer in an outline, I really think the only time you really get to grips with your story is when you start writing it. It can be quite frightening to sit in front of that blank screen and put the first words down – but until you do, you don’t really know what’s going to happen.

3. Just keep swimming
I love writing and I’m very grateful that it’s my job. But it’s hard. Sometimes it’s hard to start, sometimes it’s hard to keep going, and sometimes it’s hard to finish. Often I’ll read what I’ve written and think it’s absolutely dreadful and I need to give up writing immediately. I regularly get up at 5am to write, before my children wake up and before I have to go to work, and that’s hard too. But when times are tough I call on an inspirational mentor to keep me going – Dory from Finding Nemo. She may be a fictional fish but she knows what she’s doing. ‘Just keep swimming’ is her mantra and it works for me too. I’ve even been known to mutter it under my breath when I’m editing! Grit your teeth and keep going – it’ll be worth it in the end.


 

You can find out more about Kerry via her blog at kerrybarrettwriter.wordpress.com, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Her ebooks can be found on Amazon by clicking here.

 

 

 

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About Donna-Louise Bishop

I'm a writer, freelance reporter, creative writing tutor, and blogger, living in the beautiful county of Norfolk UK. In my spare time I am also a wife, a mother to three boys, and a human washing machine.
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