An interview with Imogen Howson

imogenhowsonauthorphoto2I would like to welcome award winning YA/adult author, Imogen Howson as my guest. I was intrigued by her story when she spoke at the RNA’s September meeting at The Royal Over-Seas League club, London.

Thanks for giving up some of your precious time to answer my questions.

You were the winner in the young adult category of the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, 2014, and previously of the Elizabeth Goudge Award, 2008, but where did your love of fiction and the desire to write your own begin?

I was really slow learning to read–I remember all the adults around me having despairing conversations about it! Finally I discovered Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books, and, faced with something I actually wanted to read, I just took off. I started telling myself my own stories around the same time, and later on (when I learned to write, another slow process), I started writing them down.

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Your YA Sci-Fi titles ‘Linked’ and its sequel ‘Unravel’ are based on a high stakes chase for the survival of telepathic twins. What sparked the idea for this series?

I read a real-life article in a teen magazine belonging to my daughters about twins who had a kind of psychic link. One of them was in a car accident and the other knew about it even though she was miles away at home. I said to my daughters that I wanted to write about telepathic twins, so I did. And I made it science fiction just so I could have spaceships and cool futuristic techie gadgets.

By contrast your titles ‘Heart of the Volcano’ and ‘Blood of the Volcano’ are adult fantasy romance. Do you like to have different projects and genres on the go at any one time?

I started off in adult fantasy, because I love reading it, but I realized that I wanted to write about younger characters than the romance market generally looks for. My ideal heroine is 17, which is a bit too young for romance in general. In terms of different projects, I don’t like having them, to be honest, because I get confused and distracted, but sometimes this great new idea lands in your head and you just have to follow it up, even if you’re halfway through another book!

I greatly value the RNA’s New Writers Scheme, as organiser what advice would you pass on to as yet unpublished writers?

Keep writing, and keep reading (especially in the market you’re interested in publishing in). And don’t be discouraged by the almost-inevitable rejections! It only takes one editor to love your book, and I believe if you keep working to get better, and keep trying, you will find that editor. (Or sometimes, such is the weird nature of publishing, several editors all at once, but that’s a fun dilemma to have!)

How organised are you in your writing routine?

I have to be extremely organised otherwise I get exactly nothing done! The morning is my writing (and coffee!) time; in the afternoon I do less mentally taxing stuff, like housework, and organising spreadsheets for my “day job”, my work as a freelance editorial assistant for Samhain Publishing.

What do you do to relax away from the computer?

Running and baking. Running is great, because it’s so different from sitting at the computer using nothing but my brain and fingers, and because of the fresh air. Baking is for when I want to do something creative, but not as hugely creative as writing. Also, cookies always turn out well and people say nice things about them. Writing is a much trickier process!

What is next for Imogen Howson?

Right now, I’m writing on a YA contemporary, plus a YA horror book that I’m really enjoying working on! Plus a top-secret project that, if it works out, will be really fun too.

Thanks for taking the time to share your writing news and good luck with the top-secret project – sounds intriguing!


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