The first of November is often let pass-by without much recognition however a quick Google search would reveal that it’s the first of the month is a day dedicated to celebrating authors.
National Authors Day was established back in 1928 when Nellie Verne Burt McPherson – President of the Bement, Illinois Women’s Club and avid reader – encouraged the idea of creating a day to celebrate the gift of American authors and to share encouragement and appreciation for authors.
The day has since been promoted by several different people including Sue Cole, who in 1968 after her Grandmother’s death began urging people to write to their personal favourite authors as an act of gratitude and to brighten their day.
So why not celebrate the day by sending a note to your favourite author or end the day costing up with your favourite book and beverage?
In honour of the day I had the pleasure of speaking to best-selling romantic comedy author – Cathy Bramley – who lives in a small town in Nottinghamshire with her two daughters and cockerpoo.
After spending 18 years running her own marketing agency she was seeking a new challenge and with being an avid reader all her life looking into becoming a published author seemed like the logical next step.
She explains how at the time she had recently read a new book that she’d massively enjoyed and the reader experience had stuck with her so she was inspired to do the same in hope that she could “create that same reader experience for other people”.
After committing herself to her new project Cathy now keeps busy as a full-time author, typically writing three books at a time.
Cathy prides herself with the fact that each book she writes is entirely different and enjoys the process of creating the initial ideas as much as creating the substance of the novel.
Her ideas come to her in different ways, whether that be via brainstorming with a white board and pen – which is her favoured approach – or through talking to people and gaining inspiration from people who she meets and places she visits in her daily life.
Unlike those who’s creativity sparks when participating in a monotonous activity such as showering or driving, Cathy says that “I’m actually no good at thinking of ideas without a pen in my hand” and her creative epiphanies are generally deliberately achieved.
Once a potential idea has arisen for a new story Cathy explains that “it’s quite a deliberate process where I develop the idea into a novel”, and she takes an intentional and conscious approach to developing the ideas.
“I wondered if I could create that same reader experience for other people.”
It’s no secret that the importance of reading is encouraged by many in order to support many aspects of the child’s success and development including improving their concentration and developing the child’s language skills.
Cathy preaches the undeniable value of reading for both the young and the old and credits improved vocabulary, grammar, encourages your imagination and widens your knowledge to regular reading habits.
The obstacle of writers block is something that seems to effect all authors and something that Cathy is certainly not spared from.
Over the years Cathy has come to recognise when she’s struggling from a lack of creativity and has established ways to overcome the struggle and regain her creativity.
She believes that brainstorming and setting goals for the day are both key in overcoming writers block to create clarity with her characters and what it is she wants to achieve or say within her story.
Cathy also explains how writers block comes in waves and in different severities so another tool she accommodates is to take regular breaks – the length of which depending on how long she feels necessary – to encourage her creativity to flow again.
“It’s quite a deliberate process where I develop the idea into a novel.”
In terms of creating the characters for her novels, Cathy states how “they’re never based on real people”, and she often creates the storyline and setting of the book and “then design the character to suit the story”.
However, gaining any relevant information and doing the background research is sometimes key to developing her characters.
Cathy gives the example of using a midwife within her novel and how she would arrange to meet someone who works in the profession to gain first hand knowledge and experience of how they work.
For those aspiring authors out there Cathy advises dedicating time to writing as after all, as Cathy puts it “You have to write to be a writer”.
Prioritising your writing is also key to creating a career out of writing and becoming published, Cathy would get up earlier than the rest of her family to focus on her book in order to guarantee her some quality time working towards her dream.
In addition to November being home to National Author’s Day, the entirety of the month is also National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
NanoWriMo is a non-profit organisation that encourages aspiring writers to participate in the challenge of writing 50,000 words during November and encourages the power of creativity.
Cathy got involved with NaNoWriMo whilst writing her second book and found it to be a fantastic asset to getting a good section of the book complete – she highly recommends getting involved if you’re interested in becoming a full-time author.
Cathy’s next book – Patchwork Family – is due out in March 2020, so keep your eyes peeled for her upcoming novel!