gin and ruin: an interview with Aimee Horton

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Ever heard of Dottie Harris? The creation of Aimee Horton, she’s a chaotic, engaging, thirty-something mum, and heroine of three books. Survival of the Ginnest (the first in the series) is an innovative novella entirely in the form of Facebook status updates, Survival of the Christmas Spirit is a short story and Mothers Ruined (the latest addition to the series) is Aimee’s first full length novel.

I read the first two of these earlier this year and as soon as Mothers Ruined came out in May I snapped it up! Dottie is very easy to identify with (reassuringly prone to getting herself into scrapes such as accidentally dyeing her children green!) and the books are enjoyable and funny – highly recommended if you’re looking for a light-hearted read this summer.

Aimee is a member of the lovely community of writer/bloggers that I have found myself a part of since starting my blog ten months ago. I love finding out about other people’s writing processes and, as I am currently working on my first book, I was particularly interested to hear about Aimee’s experience of writing and self-publishing her work. I was very pleased when she agreed to an interview:

Hi Aimee, Mothers Ruined has been out for two months now. How did it feel to publish it and what has your experience since then been?

Publishing Mothers Ruined (or Dottie as I often refer to it!) was terrifying. The two previous books I’ve published were small, I could kid myself that negative feedback was ok, but this time I was terrified. The last month I’ve been floating. Nothing productive has been achieved! I’ve just been twitchy waiting for reviews!

As a mum of three young kids (who likes the odd gin!) I found it very easy to identify with Dottie. How much of your own personality did you put into her?

Ha, I think she’s a nicer more dramatic version of me! I think Dottie came from my attempt to laugh rather than cry at the more trying points of motherhood, and she just developed into her own person.

I’m currently writing a book and keep finding my characters surprise me – did you find that when writing this book? Or as it was your third Dottie book, did you already know all there was to know about her?

I think I know Dottie so well she just flowed, it was the other characters, her husband and her friends (and enemies!) which surprised me! I’m very much keen to develop a story for Jane Dottie’s best friend who has touched me a bit!

How long did it take you to write Mother’s Ruined? Do you write every day?

It took about two months to write the full draft, I started officially at the beginning of February after playing about during January. Then with final edits etc. it was done the day before publishing! AHHH!

I don’t write my stories every day (right now), but I do try and write something,even if it’s an idea for a blog post! When I have a mission I try and write 3 school days a week.

Did you write lots of drafts? What was your editing process?

I often write the first three or four chapters a few times, then just go for it and have one draft, and then HOPEFULLY it’s just a bit of moving around.

I’m lucky to have some lovely people I trust, who put up with me sending words whether it’s on a chapter or a daily word basis – they give me honest feedback, then they help me with editing. Either from a “I would perhaps look at that” or “AIMEE – COMMAS SERIOUSLY?!”

Dottie was really easy to edit and write to be honest, I’m interested to see how this next book comes out with a totally new character.

What made you decide to go down the self-publishing route?

Honestly? Impatience. I wanted it NOW NOW NOW. I know how long it takes to get a traditional deal most of the time, and I’m not very good at waiting. I needed to just publish and move on!

What’s next? Will we be seeing more of Dottie in the future?

I do have more ideas for Dottie, but I want to visit a few other stories first. Dottie has a sequel already lined up, and as I’ve said before I’d love to write about Jane too.

However, right now I’m writing about Lucy and her story so can’t wait to see what happens there!

Sometimes writing a book seems like a massive mountain to climb… and that’s before considering editing, publishing and promoting! Do you have any advice for those of us just starting out?  

Set deadlines and targets first of all. Otherwise you may never do it. Also, grow a thick skin and surround yourself in good, honest people who you trust. Be prepared for people to say “I don’t like that” both in the draft and the final released version. Listening to advice is good, but also go with your gut.

Thanks Aimee! Good luck with your next book and I look forward to reading about Lucy and Jane as well as Dottie in the future.

Aimee is currently running a competition on her blog where if you download and review Mothers Ruined on Amazon then you can win a fab print. Go and check it out!

I’m off to crack on with my writing – having found out that Aimee wrote Dottie in three-and-a-half months I feel I should up the pace on my my novel!

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