Wonderful Women Interview with Author Georgie Capron
Georgie Capron is a British author of commercial fiction. She writes stories about real life in contemporary settings, with themes exploring love, relationships, family and friendship. Her latest novel, The Distance Between Us, is a highly emotive read dealing with the struggle and isolation some mothers can experience as they juggle the ‘mental load’ of parenting with the practicalities of family life. It also examines the strain parenting can put on a long-term relationship. Georgie is a mum herself and she wrote this book whilst on maternity leave last year from her other job as a primary school teacher.
She lives in South-West London with her husband and daughter.
Her first three novels are published by Aria Fiction, an imprint of Head of Zeus: Just the Two of Us, One Summer in Positano and The Distance Between Us.
My alarm goes off at 6.15am and after allowing myself a few minutes to snooze I force myself to get out of bed and jump in the shower to wake up. I then eat some breakfast and, most importantly, make an enormous coffee before getting dressed and ready for work.
I then get my daughter up, dressed and armed with everything she needs for her day before setting off for the nursery drop-off. I get the Underground into central London where I work as a primary school teacher – a job I love.
The children’s energy and enthusiasm never cease to amaze me, their imaginations are phenomenal and each day is so different. As anyone who has worked in a school will attest, the day always flies by so before I know it I am back on the Tube to collect my daughter. I usually stop off in a local café for anything from 10 to 30 minutes to whip out my laptop and write before picking her up.
I’ll normally run an errand or two on the way home before doing her bath time and bed time, then when she has finally gone to sleep I will whirl around the house restoring order to the chaos of toys and possessions that seem to constantly overrun it. After that, I’ll carry on writing, usually with a large glass of wine or, if I’m feeling really energetic, I’ll do some yoga in my sitting room before cooking dinner and flopping in front of the TV to watch Netflix. I try to go to bed relatively early and love to read before I go to sleep!
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Having my daughter certainly feels like my biggest achievement, not least because she was a jaw-dropping 10 lbs 3 oz! (Thankfully I did not know that until after she was delivered!) I adore being a mum and feel incredibly lucky every day to be able to experience it.
Professionally, I’m very thankful that I have not one, but two vocational careers. I love teaching and after ten years still find it rewarding and enjoyable each and every day. I did my teacher training straight after university and I’m extremely passionate about working with young children. I love the thought that we are shaping young minds. I always thought that would be my only career – writing was a hobby that I never imagined would actually take off – but here I am four years and three books later.
I still have to pinch myself that I’ve forged another career I love just as much. It is a lesson to us all to follow our dreams, that there really is nothing to lose and you never know, you might get lucky.
I just decided to have a go one day, believing the saying ‘there’s a novel in all of us’ and I sat down, opened my laptop and wrote the first sentence of the opening chapter. Since then I have just kept on writing and dreaming up new characters and stories – now I am completely addicted!
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
If I am with my daughter my handbag is always full of toddler supplies: spare nappies, wipes, snacks, a change of clothes. I have an enormous bag so that there is also space for my essentials: keys, wallet, phone, glasses, sunglasses and some kind of lip balm. If inspiration strikes and I don’t have my laptop or a notepad to hand, I type ideas in the notes section of my iPhone.
What are your ambitions in life?
I would love to keep writing books and to continue to improve with each and every novel I write. I am hoping to branch out into children’s books too, to marry my two passions, and I currently have a work in progress with my agent so I have my fingers crossed that a new branch to my career is about to unfold.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
At the start of my career as an author, I thought it would be impossible to get an agent, let alone find a publisher. The stories of never ending slush-piles and thousands of rejections had me convinced there was barely any point in trying. But I should have told myself not to worry. It can happen, and it can happen quickly. I was extremely lucky, my first novel was rejected by seven of the nine agents I sent it to, some giving stock replies that made me think it hadn’t even been glanced at. But two showed interest and asked for the whole manuscript, with one then asking me to revise the manuscript before deciding if she would make an offer, while the other asked me to sign straightaway. So I did! Before long I had been offered a three-book deal with my publishers and my dream of becoming a published author came true.
What helps you when self-doubt sets in (as it does for all of us)
I have been asked the question ‘What makes you think that anyone would want to read the stories you imagine?’ And I suppose that’s the question that I ask myself in moments of self-doubt, as all authors do. I think it comes down to reminding myself that I have an imagination just as powerful as anyone, and that I have stories to tell about my experiences and the experiences of those around me that are valid and that no one else can tell in quite the same way that I can.
After all, each author’s voice is unique. One of my best friends is an amazing artist, and we often talk about the challenge of creating, whether it be a painting or a novel, and how personal it is. But we remind ourselves that it is about being creative, of producing something new rather than the endless consuming that our culture often encourages, and that it doesn’t matter if not everyone loves it.
You wouldn’t expect everyone to love the same piece of artwork, and in the same way, you can’t expect everyone to love your writing. The fact that some people do, that you get those heartfelt five-star reviews, or messages from readers who have been moved or inspired by the stories you have told, is all the encouragement I need when self-doubt sets in.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I see myself still living in London, possibly with a slightly expanded family (if I am lucky enough to have more children), still teaching, still writing and generally juggling all the accompanying fabulous, frenetic chaos as best I can!
What advice would you give a budding novellist?
My advice is to start thinking about your story- what the main story arc might be and who the main characters are, what their names are, what they look like. Maybe write a sentence or two to outline a brief synopsis. Then sit down, open your laptop, or grab a pen and a pad if you prefer to write long-hand, and write. Just keep writing! It really is that simple.
Try not to look back too much, set yourself manageable targets, even 500 words a day, and keep chipping away. Every 10,000 or 20,000 words read the whole manuscript so far, and before you know it, you will have reached that 100,000 word target and the fun stage can start: editing. My favourite quote which I come back to time and time again is one from the author Shannon Hale: ‘I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shovelling sand into a box so that later I can build sand castles’.
Finally, happiness is…
Being surrounded by loved ones, cuddles with my daughter, being in nature, the first sip of a cup of coffee, getting into bed, laughing with friends, being cosy indoors by the fire when it’s cold outside, seeing the world, eating delicious food, having my dream jobs, being married to my husband, the sun on my face.