I’m so excited to welcome Aussie author Maya Linnell to the blog. Maya hit the shelves this year with her debut novel Wildflower Ridge, and it has been a huge success. I’d go far as to say it’s been one of my favourite books of the year. But, Maya isn’t just a brilliant author, she’s also one of the loveliest people. Although we’ve only met ‘online’, you can just tell how warm and friendly she is and it’s a pleasure to host her here today. So without further ado, here’s a day in the life of Maya Linnell.
A (week)day in the life of… Maya Linnell
5am – Alarm goes off. Depending on what time I got to sleep the night before, I’ll either cancel it and grab another hour’s sleep or squint at my phone and wake myself up with a one-eyed scroll through social media then fit in a quick YouTube session of Yoga with Adriene or take the dog for a walk along the quiet country road near our house. If I wake up particularly inspired, I might grab my laptop and write a few hundred words before breakfast.
6am – Kids are always up early and raring to go. I wrangle my three youngsters through the breakfast, packed lunch and school uniform routine before driving them to school. If I’m feeling organised, I’ll prep for dinner while they are finishing their homework, scouting around for lost library books or trying to track down a pair of matching socks.
8.45am – Hang up a load of washing whilst listening to a podcast, then load up my iMac in my office and sit down to work on my second novel, another rural romance with the McIntyre sisters. My office is upstairs, so I spend the next five hours up and down between the computer and the kettle, writing, drinking tea and raiding the pantry. If I get stuck for inspiration, I visit the Friesian steers in the paddock or head down to the beach for a brainstorming walk.
I try to get a decent amount of words on the page before I respond to emails, update my website/socials and get side-tracked by writing-related tasks. I also have a couple of contract PR clients so I may have a blog post or media release to write, or if it’s the first week of the month, I’ll be working on my RWA blog ‘Kiss and Tell with Maya Linnell’. Being early August, I’m currently in the thick of book promotions for Wildflower Ridge, so my to-do list also includes confirming author events with libraries and book stores, responding to media requests from the fantastic publicity team at Allen and Unwin and preparing for next week’s fabulous Romance Writers Australia conference.
3pm – Time to collect children from school. If it’s not a cricket, football or tennis practice night, after school is the best time to get home jobs done. I’ll pull some weeds from the garden, whip up a dozen muffins or a cake, collect kindling for the woodfire, run a vacuum around the kitchen or sort the never-ending basket of laundry. Then I’ll be making sure the kids have fed the dog, cat and chickens, collected the eggs and done their homework, and ensure we’ve got enough firewood in the wheelbarrow to last us the evening.
6pm – Dinner time. Anything from pasta, stir fry and soup to tacos or tuna mornay. I love baking much more than hum-drum dinner cooking, although Friday night pizza is one of my favourite family traditions. Our new much-loved combination is mushroom, red onion and fennel seeds. Delicious!
7.30pm – Children are off to bed; my husband and I divvy up the book reading duties between us. I’m currently reading Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend to my eight-year-old and Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire with my eleven-year-old. Jase reads whatever takes our seven-year-old’s fancy – whether it’s Ruby Red Shoes or a few pages from whichever novel she is loving (my littlest is my biggest bookworm!). Although I scold them for reading after we call ‘lights out’, I’m quietly thrilled to see them immersed in a good book. Some nights we cheat and let them listen to a talking book instead.
8pm – Scorching hot shower and into my PJs for an evening with a good book while my husband channel surfs or studies. Our lights are nearly always out by 9.30pm. We fall asleep to the sound of the roaring ocean just outside our window.
The Hot 5
What’s your favourite thing about being a writer?
Creating scenes, characters, towns and storylines from a little wisp of imagination, and afterwards being able to picture the whole thing in my head. Hopefully, it comes across well on the page, too!
Who are your favourite or most inspiring authors?
I’ve always been a huge Rachael Johns fan. She writes in such a conversational style, just like the way I talk with my friends. I also adore Kerry Greenwood’s mysteries, Janet Evanovich’s earlier work and a whole slew of fabulous romance authors since joining Romance Writers Australia. Fleur McDonald was my first love in the rural romance genre, and I turn to Candice Fox when I’m after a good crime thriller. In terms of inspiration, I’m blown away by Clare Connelly’s amazing drive and productivity and have the utmost respect for Marian Keyes. Not only is she a brilliant author, but she is helping to break down the stigma of mental health by sharing her own struggles with depression.
What’s the hardest thing about the writing process?
Convincing myself to write when the words aren’t flowing, or then banging my head against the keyboard when I’ve wasted my child-free time procrastinating or getting distracted by household chores or grocery shopping instead of writing.
What’s your go-to food or drink during writing?
Tea; tongue-tinglingly hot and plenty of it. Snacks vary from apples, mixed nuts and dry cornflakes, to homemade baked goods, spicy corn chips and chocolate. Sometimes I’ll be so wrapped up in writing, I’ll eat my lunch on the way to school pick up at 3pm.
What’s your number one tip for aspiring authors?
Research! Maybe it’s my journalism background, but when I decided I wanted to get serious about fiction writing, I researched the heck out of becoming an author. There are so many courses, podcasts, articles, blogs and books that steer you in the right direction in terms of author platform, writing your first novel, preparing for submissions, making pitches, entering competitions to get feedback. By soaking up this knowledge while I wrote my first draft, I had a pretty sound idea of what needed to be done by the time I’d gotten the manuscript into shape.
About Maya Linnell
Maya Linnell grew up in a small country town, climbing towering gum trees and reading her way through her family’s bookshelves before discovering a never-ending supply of novels at the local library. She found her feet in journalism, working at a rural newspaper before segueing into public relations and now fiction writing and blogging for Romance Writers Australia. Wildflower Ridge is her debut novel and gathers inspiration from her rural upbringing and the small communities she has always lived in and loved. Maya currently lives in rural Victoria with her husband and three children.
Follow Maya online