Chichester Copywriter attended another fantastic literary event at Chichester Library last week. This time it was best-selling author Dorothy Koomson’s turn to talk to a bunch of reading and writing enthusiasts about her writing career so far and why she loves living on the South Coast.
The audience was fairly small and this made for a fabulous event. There was plenty of audience participation with lots of burning questions asked and answered. It was brilliant to learn how Dorothy, whose seventh book, The Woman He Loved Before, has just been published, rose to literary fame after her third novel, My Best Friend’s Girl, was selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads Book Club in 2006.
Dorothy started writing as a child, completing her first book aged just 13 years old. She called this book There’s A Thin Line Between Love and Hate and used it to entertain her fellow convent school pupils, although, she’s quite adamant that her early very works will never hit the publishing press.
Sharing that she lived in London, Leeds and Australia before moving more to Brighton, Dorothy told of how she now loves living and writing on the South Coast now and can’t see that changing anytime soon. She also admitted that this was her first trip to Chichester, a place she’d like to visit again soon – perhaps she’d like to join us at the next Chichester Copywriter Writers’ Retreat!
It was fast established that Dorothy tackles quite hard-hitting, emotional subject areas through her writing, from adoption and rape to suicide and murder. The successful author admitted that while it’s unusual for her to be brought to tears while constructing the stories she’s rarely able to read back a finished book without reaching for a tissue. Dorothy revealed that that most emotional part for her is receiving emails from readers who have experienced some of the issues addressed in her books. The biggest compliment for any author must be to find out that their writing has really hit home and even been life-changing.
When asked about writing inspirations, Dorothy told the Chichester audience that she enjoys write in bed and will often have the TV on or play some favourite music, favouring a bit of background noise as opposed to the serenity that some writers demand. She also said that she likes to set her books in places she has lived or visited, using her experiences to shape the narrative. However, the stories are often formed after meeting people and hearing about their experiences and she researches each novel thoroughly by talking to people at length about their ordeals.
Dorothy also talked about her writing process, revealing that she is more likely to start a book at the end, as opposed to starting at the beginning and proceeding chapter by chapter. She prefers to write the scenes as they come to mind, moving on to another part of the story to aid writers’ block – a writing technique that Chichester Copywriter favours herself.
Would you like to get inspired to write further? Join Chichester Copywriter and friends on a Creative Writing Day in Chichester Harbour this November. It costs just £65, including lunch and refreshments, for a full day of creative writing and poetry workshops. Get in touch with Chichester Copywriter to find out more.