Blog Tour: Q&A with S.D. Robertson

by - January 16, 2018

I was a little quiet for the second half of 2017 due to a change in jobs requiring a lot more of my time, however, I am hoping that 2018 will see a renewed focus on my blog again as I want to bring you all some exciting bookish posts and get interacting with all my amazing followers again - and hopefully meet some new ones too. What better way to kick things off this year than with a Q&A with the brilliant S.D.Robertson! 

I first read one of Robertson's novel last year, If Ever I Fall. I really loved his work. It was different to the styles of the books I had read lately which really intrigued me and drew me in. It wasn't predictable and it was captivating. To get the chance to ask such a talented author a few questions is always a bloggers dream! 

S.D. Robertson's latest novel, Stand By Me, which was out on 11th January, looks to be another amazing read. Let's take a closer look.

About the book:

They’ll always have each other…won’t they?

Lisa and Elliot have been best friends ever since the day they met as children. Popular, bright and sporty, Lisa was Elliot’s biggest supporter when the school bullies made his life a misery, and for that, he will always be grateful.

Twenty years later, life has pulled the pair apart and Lisa is struggling. Her marriage is floundering, her teenage kids are being secretive, and she’s so tired she can’t think straight. So when Elliot knocks on the door, looking much better than she remembers, she can’t help but be delighted to see her old friend again.

With Elliot back in their lives, Lisa’s family problems begin to improve – he’s like the fairy godmother she never had. As their bond deepens, she realises how much she’s missed him, and prays that this is one friendship that will last a lifetime. But sometimes, life has other ideas…

A heartwarming story perfect for fans of Keith Stewart and Jojo Moyes, that will leave you with a tear in your eye but hope in your heart.

A heartbreaking tale’ THE SUN

‘Exceptionally beautiful’ MIRANDA DICKINSON

I'm sure you'll agree with me that Stand By Me sounds like a beautiful story and I can't wait to read it and share my review of this book. If you've already read it please let me know in the comments below what you thought of it! 

If you haven't picked up a copy yet then grab yours now - I'm sure you won't be disappointed! 

For now, I introduce to you the talented S.D. Robertson as I quiz him on all things bookish and writing related! 

Q&A with S.D. Robertson:

Thank you so much for the chance to ask you some questions for my blog. The first book I read of yours was If Ever I Fall and I loved it! Your writing style was so different to a lot of the books I’d read before which I found really refreshing and interesting. I am currently trying to write my own novel and I would love the chance to talk to you about your writing process, so this is the theme of my interview questions. Hope you don’t mind!

1.     Did you always know that writing was something you wanted to do?

Yes. I first decided that I wanted to be an author when I was at primary school. I loved reading novels and thought that making up stories for a living sounded like the best job ever. (Guess what? It is.) I changed my mind a few times along the way, though. At secondary school I remember wanting to be a policeman and then a social worker, although I think both of these ideas came from inspirational characters in books I’d enjoyed.

At university I studied English and, once I realised I wasn’t going to make it as a rock star, I tried my hand at a few different things before returning to the idea of writing for a living. I didn’t feel like I knew enough to write a novel at that stage, so instead I trained as a newspaper journalist. I figured this would allow me to write every day while, hopefully, gaining the kind of life experience that might fuel a novel.

It took me several years to get there, but eventually I realised my dream of becoming a published author.   

2.     Where did you get the inspiration for your new book, Stand By Me?

Novel concepts rarely come to me in one go. I find they’re usually inspired by a spark: an image or scene that pops into my mind and won’t go away. That was definitely the case with Stand By Me. It was an image of a boy hiding behind a bush, because some bullies had stolen his clothes, only for a girl he didn’t know to come along and rescue him.

I’ve no clue where this came from. But I really liked the idea of two very different people meeting for the first time in these unusual circumstances and, as a result, becoming lifelong friends. So my two central characters, Elliot and Lisa, were created. Much of the novel is set many years later, when they’re both adults; I found it really interesting to imagine how each of them and the dynamic of their friendship might have changed over time.

3.     When you started to write Stand By Me, did you do a lot of planning with regards to the characters and plot before you started to write?

In my experience, there are generally two types of writers: those who plan their novels meticulously before writing a word, and those who start with a concept and write ‘by the seat of their pants’, finding their way as they go. I’d say – and this applies to all of my novels so far – I fall somewhere in between these two camps.

I plan out a start, middle and end in advance, so I know roughly where I’m going. I also create character profiles for all the main players in the story. However, as I’m actually writing, I don’t rigidly stick to what I’ve planned. I like to let the novel breathe, if you like, as I create it.

Many of the twists and turns in Stand By Me, and even some of the characters, didn’t exist during the planning stages. I did stick to my original beginning and ending, though.

4.     Do you have any little rituals you follow when writing?

No, I’m not really a rituals kind of person.

5.     Did you have any hurdles you had to overcome whilst writing Stand By Me?

I fractured my back falling off a ladder a few days before I was due to start writing Stand By Me. So there was definitely that! Keeping on going while in pain and having to wear a back brace was a bit of a challenge, but I got through it. Thankfully, I’m fully recovered now.

6.     What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I really enjoyed the fact that several parts of the book are set in the 1990s. It was fun looking back, remembering the music that was popular then, for instance, and generally reliving what it was like growing up in that decade.

7.     Is there any part of the story that changed drastically through the editing process?

Not really, although there were originally a few more chapters written through the perspective of children/teenagers. My editor suggested that I might want to limit these and keep the focus more on the adults in the story. I agreed with her; although it was a bit of a pain to change, the book does work better this way. 

8.     When you write, do you set yourself word count goals?

I usually try to write at least 1,000 words a day, but the more the better.

9.     If you had to give one piece of advice to someone trying to write their first book, what would it be?

Don’t read anything back – unless you absolutely have to, to check a fact for instance – until you’ve finished your first draft. If you keep tweaking things, and you will if you look back, you’ll never reach the end. There’ll be plenty of time for editing later, once you’ve got a completed story to work on.

10.  And finally… the very important question! What is your drink of choice to accompany you during the writing process?

Strong filter coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.

Thank you, again, so much for your time. I really appreciate it and can’t wait to read Stand By Me.

Thanks very much for having me as a guest on your blog.  Good luck with your own novel!

Some very wise words of advice from S.D. Robertson to anyone trying to write their first, or maybe even second, novel... I know that is something I really struggle with and by analysing the small sections I've written it really derails me from making any progress. Hopefully this year I can put that aside and push my way through!

I hope you enjoyed this Q&A. Leave your comments below if there are any new questions you'd like me to ask in my next Q&A or if you want to talk about anything S.D. Robertson mentioned in his Q&A above.

Chat soon beautifuls

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