Welcome to author Dawn Brookes who took time from her busy writing schedule to answer a few questions.
Describe your favorite writing spot or space.
My favourite writing spot is my homemade office, but I also write in bed for 1-2 hours every morning between 6.30am-8.30am with a cup of tea.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
My work schedule is to write as much as I can in the morning as this is my most productive time and also my most creative. I spend the afternoons answering emails, checking marketing ads and other admin tasks. Sometimes I take the afternoon off!
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
My average time taken to write a book is three months. One has taken over a year and one took two months.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have two half-finished books that I’ll go back to sometime.
Do you write under a pseudonym? If not, have you ever considered it?
I write under my own name. I have considered writing under a pseudonym as I had two books that didn’t fit with what I write. I’ve unpublished them for now and may publish new editions under a pseudonym in the future.
What comes first for you, the plot or characters?
I guess for me the characters and setting come first then I create the plot. Occasionally it’s the other way around.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I’ve now written quite a few in my first series and it gets harder to choose names for them. I recently ran a reader competition to name a character. As many of my characters are from places outside the US and UK, I do research common names for the country of origin based on the age of the character I intend to write about. Sometimes I use a name I like. My first female protagonist’s surname came from my childhood dog who was called Prince. Her name is Rachel Prince.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
When writing about the opposite sex, the hardest part is trying to get inside a man’s head. Thankfully, I grew up with a brother so that has helped.
Can you hear your characters talking?
I definitely hear my characters talking in my head. When I started using a narrator to record audiobooks, I was sometimes surprised how different a character sounded from how I imagined them and pleasantly surprised at how similar others sounded.
Were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one? For how long?
I semi-retired just before publishing a memoir, but by the time I wrote my first novel, I was full-time. If I’d been younger without other income, I would have had to be part-time, though.
How much time do you spend on research before starting a book? While writing?
I research as I go along and it can take hours or weeks, depending on the topic. I get a plot and characters in my head, and then do the research e.g. I take regular cruises but some of my books are set in places I haven’t cruised to so I spend hours looking at photos, blogs, tour guides, cruise reviews etc. For my new series, I’ve had to research private investigators and police procedurals. I tend to read ‘how to’ books to help as well as researching online and asking professionals.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I’m not a mascot fan. If anything, my dog is my mascot, she sits at my feet wherever I write.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure I have any interesting writing quirks except if I don’t start writing first thing, I’m totally unproductive that day.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
The best money spent has to be Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors course. It’s expensive but effective.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love walking, bird watching, cruising, and reading. I also play golf. Cruising and golf were pre-pandemic of course.
Do you ever Google yourself?
I have been known to Google myself, but not anymore.
What is your favorite childhood book(s)?
Enid Blyton’s Famous Five were my favourites, but I read most of her books under the sheets by torchlight.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Be professional, get an editor early on and make the first book the best it can be before putting it out there.
What is your favourite reading genre?
Historical fiction. Favourite writing genre: crime fiction/cozy mysteries.
Dawn Brookes is an international bestselling author whose books have hit the number one spot in the USA, UK and Canada. Dawn is also founder of a local literature festival in Oakwood, Derby.
Born in Nottingham and raised in Leicester, Dawn moved south when she was twenty-two, living in London and Berkshire before returning to the Midlands where she now lives with her rescue Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
When not writing about her nursing years, cooking up murder plots or writing for children, Dawn spends time reading, listening to music, gardening and walking. She also takes time out with close friends and cruises regularly. She has just completed her MA in Creative Writing and is looking forward to more leisure time once lockdown has ended.