Today’s post is a little different. Because we’re talking with Elle about her debut novel, her book deal, and what it’s like to be a published author. Oh yeah, in case you didn’t know, Elle wrote her first book, The Guilty Wife. She’s got not just one, but two of her books under contract, and they’re impressively high on the Kindle sales charts.
Elle has been a regular contributor to The Travel Hack for years, and we’ve taken many great trips together. I’m so proud right now, so happy, so in awe of the woman who wrote The Guilty Wife. Elle is a great inspiration for anyone who dreams of becoming a published author. But in reality, she is a source of inspiration for anyone with her dreams.
I also love the fact that Elle doesn’t pretend this journey was easy and that it took a lot of effort to achieve this dream. She’s just like a poster girl to get the job done. She had a dream and made it come true. She built herself a career that allowed her to work flexibly, so she could sit back and work on her book. She didn’t spend her time wishing she had more time or wishing her book would write itself, she made it happen. I just marvel at the determination it must have taken.
She’s been writing this book for several years, so I’ve always gotten sneak peeks into her life as a writer. I’ve seen how hard it is and how hard she works, but I’ve also seen how natural she is.
To find out more about Guilty Wife and her life as a writer, I asked Elle a few questions.
Ah, the day has finally come! #TheGuiltyWife paperback publication date! If you find it in nature (i.e on a bookshelf at a store) please let me know… I’m really looking forward to seeing it for myself soon ????
A post shared by Elle Croft (@elle_croft) on January 25, 2018 at 2:15am PST
Can you tell us about The Guilty Wife?
Bethany Reston is happily married. However, she also has relationships with her famous clients. And no one can know it.
When Bethany’s lover is brutally murdered, she must hide her grief from everyone. But there is someone who knows her secret. Then one day, the threats start.
As more and more evidence points to her being the murderer, the only way she can keep her secret is to prove her innocence. And that means tracking down the killer.
My debut novel, The Guilty Wife, is a psychological thriller set in London. It was released as an e-book in early December 2017 and has been in the top 10 of Amazon’s Kindle bestseller chart ever since. It will also be released in paperback at the end of January, and is currently available in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and will soon be translated into seven languages!
How did it feel when you saw your book in a bookshop for the first time?
I actually discovered The Guilty Wife in Australia while visiting family for Christmas before it was released in the UK. I first saw Big W (which is like the Australian version of Walmart) and it was really cool. I excitedly took a photo for Twitter, walked out of the store, and started crying.
I don’t know if I can accurately describe how surreal, overwhelming and incredible it felt, but I can safely say it was a dream come true. I still get pretty excited when I see this book sitting on a shelf somewhere, and I don’t think it’ll ever go away. Anyway, I hope it never goes away.
Did you always know you’d write a book someday?
It was something I had always dreamed of, but it didn’t seem like a very realistic goal. I didn’t know anyone who published. And for years, I was filled with self-doubt and convinced myself that I would never be able to get into the profession I loved.
It wasn’t until I started blogging and gained confidence that I started believing that I could do it. It still took a few years of really hard work, but the belief that it was possible was what really got me started.
1 month left! #TheGuiltyWife will be on (virtual) shelves on December 1st, with the pre-order price reduced to just 99p. Check out the link in my profile to order your copy. Thanks to the very talented @kim.ou for taking this photo (and allowing me to bring my own props to the shoot!) ?
A post shared by Elle Croft (@elle_croft) on Nov 1, 2017 at 1:48am PDT
Can you tell us a little about your writing process? How did you actually sit down and write a whole novel?
To get anything done, you need to treat writing like a full-time job. That means sitting at your desk from 9 to 5 and blocking access to websites you know cause you to procrastinate. Getting your first draft onto the page is a very important part of the process, but it’s also one of the most difficult, as you’ll want to edit it as you go. But I resist it and write everything knowing it won’t help and then have to edit it later.
In terms of a proper process, I don’t think we have it yet. Guilty Wife was written over many years, but now that I have a deadline for her second novel, the whole process has sped up and is completely different.
Perhaps someday I’ll try my hand at the process of going from initial idea to final manuscript. If so, please contact me in a few years. I’ll let you know again!
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Edit! My agent is an absolute rock star when it comes to editing, and with her guidance, The Guilty Wife was completely transformed in a matter of months.
I am so grateful to have had her expert advice, but the editing process was not easy. There were lots of tears and tantrums, missed social events, and sleepless nights. I know it was all worth it, but it was tough and really tested me as a writer and as a person.
Announcement of gifts! If you’re looking for a new book to snuggle up to this autumn, head over to Goodreads (link in profile) and win his 1 of 15 #theguiltywife books (UK residents only, soz). It’s been described as a “psychological thriller with an exciting twist that you won’t want to miss,” so don’t miss it! (And could you please use the term “lip lowering” more often?) ?
A post shared by Elle Croft (@elle_croft) on Sep 27, 2017 at 10:48am PDT
How long did it take you to come up with the plot and characters for your book and where did you find your inspiration for The Guilty Wife?
One of my biggest inspirations, I can’t actually tell you because it would be a bit of a spoiler (annoying).
But what I can say is that I was fascinated by the concept of secrets and the lengths to which people would go to protect them. Also, I am always inspired by London. Its eerie street corners and the (often false) sense of anonymity found in such a huge city.
As for the plot and characters, well, it evolved and changed so much that it wasn’t something you could just create and leave alone. While writing The Guilty Wife, I came up with the plot line and character traits. It was constantly changing so I certainly kept an eye on it!
Can you tell us about the community of writers around crime writing and how they’ve responded to The Guilty Wife?
I didn’t know about other crime writers until recently. And I have to admit I was nervous about meeting them. But after going to a few crime writing events, I can honestly say they are some of the most fun, supportive, and welcoming people I’ve ever met.
They write about pretty dark themes, but they weren’t the brooding, scary people I was expecting. It’s obviously very satisfying. Now I am one of them!
I have been overwhelmed by the positive response to The Guilty Wife from other writers. It’s been an unexpectedly lovely part of this journey, because it’s so surreal that people whose work I respect and admire have nice things to say about my writing.
Do you ever suffer from writers’ block?
I don’t think so, at least in the truest sense of the word. Some days the words come easily and I’m really happy with what I’ve written, and other days I stare at the page for hours, struggling to come up with a sentence.
But thankfully, I’ve always found something to say!
Do many people assume the characters are based on people you know?
This always frustrates me. It’s so interesting to think about what people accept as fiction and what they read into it. No one thinks I must have killed someone to write about murder, but they assume that certain elements and characters must be based in reality. The funniest thing for me was when people I personally knew asked me the name of my novel. There were a lot of raised eyebrows at her husband and comments like, “Are you worried?” Honestly, if he saw my search history for things like “how to dispose of a dead body” he might!
Although my characters use some characteristics of real people, what I write is actually fiction. So if my next book features a travel blogger named Monica, she’s not modeled after you at all (just kidding, I’m not using that). It has not been done)!
How did you actually go about getting your book published?
The first step is to find an agent, as most publishers do not accept unsolicited submissions. Before finding an agent, you should have a completed manuscript, synopsis, and cover letter. I wrote a blog post all about finding an agent and a letter I wrote to get her attention. If you’re interested, you can find all the details here.
After finding an agent and spending a few months editing it, it was time for her to pitch my book to publishers. I was very lucky because she had an offer within 24 hours of sending it. I hear this is really rare, but this is my only experience. Then there was more editing, copy editing, line editing (basically a lot of editing), and then some fun stuff like seeing my cover for the first time. It was a bit of a whirlwind event, but it turned out to be the best.
What’s your plan now that you’re a published author?
Keep writing! I want to do this full time and make a living from writing, so my plan is to keep going and try to write better books each time. There’s no pressure.
Can you tell us anything about book number 2?
I can’t say much yet, but I can tell you it’s called The Other Sister and will be released later this year. In fact, you can pre-order it now on Amazon!