Veronica Henry has worked as a scriptwriter for ‘The Archers’, ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Holby City’ amongst many others, before turning to fiction. She won the 2014 RNA Novel of the Year award for ‘A Night On The Orient Express’. Veronica lives with her family in a village in north Devon.
- To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into this?
I started out typing scripts on ‘The Archers’ and it was there I realised that people need an escape from everyday life, whether from books or radio or TV. I learned a lot about storytelling from reading the scripts and hearing them recorded in the studio. I went on to become a script editor for ITV, then when I had my first child I jumped over the fence and wrote scripts for ten years. I wrote for ‘Doctors’ and ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Holby City’. Then in 2000 I realised my real love was for books and by a miracle I got a book deal! I’m now on my 17th novel.
- What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
It’s a bit of a love/hate relationship. When it’s going well it’s as if someone is dictating the story to you and it just flows through your fingers. When it goes badly you can’t imagine being able to write another word. I like naming my characters, and decorating their houses – that can hardly be called work! I also like the big emotional turning points: the confrontation or the revelation or the secret encounter And parties – I love writing a party. There are always so many things going on underneath the surface glitter.
- If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
Oscar Wilde, Jilly Cooper, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Hemingway, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. There would probably be wine too!
- What do you think makes a good book?
Character character character. As long as you care about the characters, you will be engaged – even if you don’t actually like them.
- Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
I’m not a massive fan of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – I know that’s controversial, but I find it a bit irritating. Though I suppose that hasn’t been hyped as such!
- From books to films, what’s been your favourite adaptation?
I absolutely love ‘The Railway Children’. It’s a wonderful book but the film version wrings every drop of emotion from the pages.
- Who is your all time favourite character from a book?
I’m a little bit smitten by Boris from ‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt – he is so naughty and dangerous and reckless and ingenious. He would never bore you. And I am fatally attracted to unsuitable men.
- If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
I would learn to worry less and care more. If you enjoy your writing, it shines through in your work.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
‘Oliver Twist’, ‘Kitchen Confidential’ by Anthony Bourdain and ‘Madame Bovary’ in French to give me a challenge to occupy my mind.
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
All budding writers should remember that anyone can start a book, but not everyone can finish one. So keep going until you reach the end. Writing is an endurance test. It’s not enough to have a brilliant idea. It’s got to keep going for at least 300-odd pages.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
My miniature Schnauzer, Zelda – who is named after Zelda Fitzgerald.
- And finally Veronica do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
I’m writing my seventeenth novel – I can’t believe it. It’s still quite early stages – but I met someone last night and our conversation sparked something that gave me the missing ingredient. That’s why I love writing – a random encounter can develop into something really exciting.
Oh – and my sixteenth novel ‘The Forever House’ is out now!
Follow on Twitter Veronica Henry for updates
You can buy The Forever House from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.