Today, I am very pleased to welcome as my guest RNA New Writers' Scheme graduate and novelist, Natalie Kleinman. Natalie has recently published her debut novel, Voyage of Desire and her Pocket Novel for The People's Friend, called After All These Years, is out in shops this week.
I asked Natalie if she could talk today about the differences between the two (apart from the obvious one of length).
Firstly, Natalie, could you tell my readers how long you’ve been writing?
I began writing about twelve years ago when I abandoned an Open University science degree course because it was taking up too much of my time. It didn’t take me all that long to appreciate the irony of that decision.
You have a People’s Friend pocket novel out this week called After All These Years. Could you explain to readers what a pocket novel is exactly for those who don't know?
I think a pocket novel is mainly defined by its size – up to 50,000 words. It is always centred round romance but apart from that the setting can be any place and historically any time. Whether sci-fi, crime, family or paranormal what is common to them all is that they are quick to read and leave you feeling satisfied when you reach the final page.
I’ve seen a lot of historical and medical romances as Pocket Novels - What genre does your story come under?
My first book, Voyage of Desire, is a contemporary romance, as is After All These Years and my work in progress, Heaven on Earth. I am firmly set in the present day though I enjoy historical and sci-fi, both of which are featured in my short stories.
Is this your first Pocket Novel and have you written for any for other magazines i.e. My Weekly?This is indeed my first Pocket Novel, although Voyage of Desire isn’t much longer, at just over 52,000 words. So far I’ve only written a PN for People’s Friend.
What made you decide to write a Pocket Novel?It wasn’t a conscious decision. As I believe is the case with many writers, I go where my story takes me. This one resolved itself to fit neatly into the pocket novel category.
Did you start out writing short stories?
I did indeed and it’s something I love doing. I am thrilled to have had two books published within such a short time and I love writing novels but I don’t think I will ever abandon the short story. It’s a joy to craft something and hone it as well as one is able in a relatively short space of time.
How long did it take you to write?After All These Years was written over a seven month period but put to one side for a time while I was working on other things. I think the total writing time would be about four months including the first edit, and the second, and the third and…
Is there a reason why you wrote this story as a pocket novel rather than a serial?I’ve never actually attempted a serial and while I hope many of my chapters end in a cliff-hanger I imagine it is a very different discipline. I certainly wouldn’t rule it out in the future.
You’ve recently had a novel published called Voyage of Desire. What is the main difference between writing a full novel and a Pocket Novel – other than the length!This is a difficult one to answer as Voyage of Desire is not itself a long book. Though it is partly set on a cruise liner, all three of my books (including my work in progress) end up somewhere in The Cotswolds. It’s an area I love and enjoy writing about.
Which did you prefer writing?This is a much easier question. I have no preference. Each book takes me over and gives me its own pleasure and satisfaction – when I’m not tearing my hair out trying to pull my characters back from where they want to go to where I want to take them. They always win!