Author, Anita Hughes: Anita Hughes is the author of Lake Como, Monarch Beach, and Market Street. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and has taught Creative Writing at The Branson School in Ross, California. Hughes lives in Dana Point, California, where she is at work on her next novel.
Five Best Tips on Becoming an Author
1) My first tip on becoming an author is to write what you know. Sitting down to write a novel is hard and I think it helps to know the terrain that you are going to be traveling. Subsequent books can (and should) be set further afield but for a debut author it is often a good idea to mine subject material you are familiar with. It doesn’t have to be something that happened to you but perhaps an event that struck you and a setting you know. I set my debut novel, MONARCH BEACH, where I live and I could visualize the locations as I was writing.
2) Set goals for yourself. Writing can be like doing homework that no one is going to check. Even now, writing my sixth novel, I am very strict with my time. I aim at writing 1,000 words a day (which often means a lot of writing and rewriting of the same words). If I write more it’s like earning extra credit!
3) Find a trusted reader. Many authors belong to critique groups and that’s great, but I write quickly and I think I would grow impatient if I had to wait for weekly (or monthly) critiques. I have one trusted reader who I can rely on to tell me if the story is working. Sometimes adding or subtracting one sentence or paragraph can make a big difference and you need another set of eyes to point that out.
4) Think about the characters and the plot ALL THE TIME. Once I am submerged in writing, I keep the book in my mind at all times. I think up dialogue when I’m at the grocery store and go over scenes while I’m driving. I carve large chunks out of my day to rethink where the story is going and the motivation of my characters.
5) My last tip is nothing new but it is the most important: READ. I have been a reader all my life and it is the most invaluable tool for being a writer. But don’t make reading work. Read what you enjoy and read voraciously. I always tell my children if they don’t like a book put it down and read another. As a reader you need to be completely enthralled and can’t wait to pick the book up again. And as a writer you need the same thing – you can’t wait to send the kids to school or the husband to work so you can get back to your manuscript.
* * * * *
“French Coast” by Anita Hughes
Book blurb: Serena has the job she’s always dreamed of and Chase, the man her heart never dared to. As a new editor at Vogue, she bags the biggest interview of the year with Yvette Renault, the infamous former editor of French Vogue, in The Carlton-InterContinental Hotel during the Cannes Film Festival. She eagerly jets off to France while Chase stays home, working with her father, a former senator, on his upcoming mayoral campaign.
Everything feels unbelievably perfect…until it doesn’t. The hotel loses her reservation hours before her big interview. Serena fears that she’ll have to go home without her story, but then she meets Zoe, a quirky young woman staying in the suite below Yvette’s who invites Serena to stay with her. Serena is grateful for her mysterious roommate’s generosity, but it seems that there’s more to her story than meets the eye. To make matters worse, soon after arriving in Cannes, Serena learns a shocking secret about her parents’ marriage, and it isn’t long before she begins to question her own relationship. With her deadline looming and pressure mounting, Serena will have to use her investigative journalism skills, new friendships, and a little luck to get her life and love back on track. Fast paced and impeccably written,
French Coast will draw readers in to the intoxicating world of the Cote D’Azur. Hughes’ beautiful prose and sense imagery bring the food, fashion, and feel of the ocean to life in this audacious new novel.
**Buy “French Coast” now: Amazon