Writer Wedensday: Stella Hervey Birrell

Stella Hervey Birrell is woman’s fiction writer living in East Lothian, Scotland.


1. Why did you want to become a writer?
I’ve always been creative, in my younger years, I was quite the drama queen (in all senses of the word). Writing is also something I can do without needing a babysitter. Well, not every night anyway…

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you?
The hardest part, so far, was believing in my first novel. Even after over thirty rejections from agents and publishers. I was about four submissions away from shelving the whole thing.

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
Flow! (She says, dreamily…) Literally forgetting the time because you’re so into what you are doing.

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
It’s got to be Bridget Jones’ Diary. My book has been described as ‘a younger version’ and I honestly couldn’t think of a higher accolade. I literally know it off by heart, and in my view it spawned a genre – the genre I now write.

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why?
I think Melissa’s mum – she has such a rotten deal of life, and what a daughter to have living under your roof! Any further calamity wouldn’t seem fair.

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do?
I’d like to go to the bookshop/cafĂ© from Jane Green’s Bookends, and hang out with Si, the main character’s wise-cracking gay best friend.

7. What can we expect next from you?
I’m working on my second novel, blogging away once a week, guesting on lovely blogs such as this one, and submitting short pieces to various competitions and journals.

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
My initial queries look so amateurish, they make me feel a bit sick when I think about them. I wish I’d been told to properly research what to write in a cover email. If anyone who was just starting out approached me (the fools!) I would recommend my publishers, Crooked Cat – they have been so supportive, and all the authors are really friendly. I’ve made some great feline pals.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
Get up, write 1k words on the novel. Breakfast (I know, I’m insane). 
Drop kids at school, go for a walk, and try to stay off Facebook. Blog, redraft.
Try to stay off Twitter, research, read, try to stay off Facebook.
Promote, start or continue a short piece, and try to stay off Twitter.
Pick kids up from school.

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I have just finished Resistance is Futile by Jenny T. Colgan. I just love her writing, and the book is based on a really clever idea.

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Meet Melissa…

Incurably Romantic. Mildly Amoral. Terminally Single.

From noisy pub to folk club, from broken heart to new start, follow Melissa’s journey from teenager to mother via the despicable decisions and massive mistakes of her early twenties. You’ll want to shake her, you’ll want to hug her, but most of all you’ll want to know how everything turns out.

A story about frog-kissing, bed-hopping, sliding off your lily-pad with embarrassment… and croaking with joy.

Follow Stella on Twitter | Buy How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? on Amazon |
Like her on Facebook | Visit her website

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