Josie Silver | Author
I’m Josie Silver, writer of love stories. My books tend to have a big romantic heart, but I also write about friends and family relationships too. I especially like to include female friendships and the special bond between siblings, probably because I’m lucky enough to be happily sandwiched between my elder sister and younger brother.
I live in the midlands with my husband, our teenage sons, two cats and a Labrador/Golden Retriever puppy! He’s a guide dog pup, so he’s living with us until next summer when he goes off to big school to train for his role as a life changer.
Firstly congratulations on achieving #1 New York Times bestseller with ‘One Day in December’, we cannot wait to dive into the book ourselves.
With another novel due in March 2020, how do you assign time to your writing and where does your inspiration come from?
I’m pretty lucky to be able to write full-time from home. We recently moved into a bigger place that’s a bit of a project, and so far I’ve struggled to find my perfect writing spot. My husband is home quite a lot, so with the DIY and renovations going on it’s often tricky to find quiet space to work. That’s all about to change, thankfully – I’m getting a garden office built over the coming weeks.
I can’t wait to have a tiny commute (across the garden) to work! It’ll be helpful mentally to feel as if I’m ‘going to work’, and also indicate to everyone else in the house that I’m working, so not to ask me what’s for dinner or where their rugby kit is. I love the luxury of working from home, but sometimes the lines between home and work get muddied, so my garden office is going to be a really big change for the better.
I try to work full-time hours – once the kids are off to school, I’m at the laptop. I like to start by writing straightaway rather than getting sucked into checking emails and social media, mostly because I’m not the best at self-discipline and can easily lose a couple of hours down an internet rabbit hole! My ideal word count for a day is three thousand, but anything over two thousand feels okay. It depends really on where I am in the story and how close I am to a deadline – I tend to write more words a day towards the end as the story and characters are really present in my head all the time.
Where does my inspiration come from? Honestly, everywhere! TV, movies, conversations shamelessly eaves-dropped in cafés and trains, magazines, newspapers etc. Fact is far stranger than fiction, especially these days!
When did you initially realise that you wanted to become a novelist and turn writing into a career?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. When I was younger I wanted to be a journalist, but life happened, as it often does, and I ended up taking a summer job in the civil service and stayed there for more than ten years. Then I got married, had kids, bought a house, and then, when I was on maternity leave with my youngest, I saw an advert for the Mills and Boon annual writing competition. I entered and was lucky enough to place second, which gave me the chance to work with an editor on my manuscript. They didn’t take it in the end, but the experience was enough for me to be well and truly smitten with writing romance.
From glimpsing on your Instagram account, it looks like you've managed to create a beautiful writing space at home already. Do you find your writing location impacts your work or focus at all?
Thank you! That’s lovely to hear about the house, it’s very much a work in progress. The big kitchen overhaul begins in the new year, so I’m going to be extra glad of the garden office as a place to escape to. Location is really important to me. I can’t work in cafés or libraries (much as I wish I could!), I have to be on my own without distractions, so no TV or radio either. I do love Spotify though; I always have a playlist related to the manuscript I’m writing at the time. I’m not great at working at a desk – curled at the end of the sofa, laptop on my knees and headphones on is my happy place.
How do you balance your home life and free time vs. work?
It’s tricky, and I don’t always make the best job of balancing everything – I tend to have more free time early on in a book and then less and less as the story develops. I’ve come to realise over the years that that’s my process; start slow as I get to know the characters, and gather speed as we become friends.
I often work at night once everyone else has gone to bed – but then I do sometimes have a sneaky afternoon nap to make up for it! A comfy sofa is top of the must-have list for the new office. I try to ring-fence family holidays and Christmas time for the kids, but even those times I find myself opening my laptop occasionally – it doesn’t feel like a hardship because I love it so much.
...And what’s your top piece of advice for those looking to begin or return to spending more time on their own writing?
Honestly, just do it. Write for yourself first, without worrying about what other people might think of it – you can decide what to do with it once you have the story down. And if you can, find yourself a writing group. I joined a couple of romance writers forums back when I first started to write for that competition, and a small group of us formed an online writing group to read and critique each other’s work.
They’re still my writing bezzies now, we chat most days and meet up for a week once a year.
My last tip would be to try to write every day, even it’s only a few lines. It’s a lot like exercising a muscle, it gets stronger if you’re consistent.
Now for a few quick fire questions:
Top of your winter reading list?
Jojo Moyes – The Giver of Stars (enchanting and amazing)
Alix E Harrow – The Ten Thousand Doors of January (Beautiful cover, even more beautiful words)
Favourite song to relax to?
I’m loving Jack Savoretti at the moment.
Podcast or E-book?
A confession (probably related to my age) – I’ve never listened to a podcast! So e-book all the way. I like to read last thing at night before I fall asleep.
Pyjamas or nightshirts?
PJs for sure.
Night Cap or Night Cream?
Can I be greedy and have both? I can’t decide! If my life depended on it, I’d go for the gin.
Catch up with Josie across Instagram @josiesilverauthor to find out more about her novel 'One Day in December' (out now), and her latest book 'The Two Lives of Lydia Bird' (out early 2020) which you can pre order here. Further information can be found at Penguin.co.uk.