Heidi Swain, on the difference between writing novel one & novel five.

Good morning, dear readers! Today is a super exciting day here on Hummingbird Reviews, as I've managed to wrangle a gorgeous guest piece from the author who brought to you The Cherry Tree Café, Summer at Skylark Farm, Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market, and her forthcoming novel which is set to be released July 13th, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage. That's right, folks. It's only the fabulous Heidi Swain here with me today, chatting about her wonderful stories, and how she's found the writing process, from novel number one all the way to novel number five. Grab yourselves a cuppa tea, get snuggly and enjoy!

Hello again gorgeous Rebecca! Thank you so much for inviting me back to your blog. I was thrilled to receive the invitation but have to admit it took me a while to hit upon the idea of what I was going to write about. You see, my writing life, well life in general really, has been bonkers recently and there hasn't been all that much room for anything other than planning, plotting, writing and editing.

As you probably know I signed another fabulous two book deal with Simon and Schuster at the end of last year but what you no doubt don't know is that as a result of the phenomenal sales Mine Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market enjoyed over the Christmas period I was asked to write another festive Wynbridge tale in time for publication this October. I know! The original plan had been to go back to the slow and steady one book a year scenario but luck and the fabulous readers out there were with me and I was asked to do more. Much more.

Fortunately, like all authors I know, I had a little idea tucked away up my sleeve. I had been dreaming of a story and a fabulous fairy tale setting which had been crying out for a frosty backdrop for quite some time and very quickly the plot and approval for Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair was off and running.

And that's what I've been doing for the first three months of 2017. Well, that and looking after the family and turning up at work of course, but predominantly my mind and my time has been occupied by new characters, a grand setting and some lovely Christmassy detail and it wasn't until I typed The End that I realised what a far cry it all was from when I was penning my debut, The Cherry Tree Café.

Writing Book 5 has been absolutely nothing like writing Book 1. My writing life before my first publishing deal meant much faffing, stalling and rewriting whereas now, with a deadline and an entire team waiting for the first draft to land, I have to be far more focused, edit only after the book has been written and juggle a whole host of gorgeous promo and planning for the next publication day and indeed the next book.

When I first started out to pursue a writing career I thought I could only write when I had peace, quiet and the keyboard at my fingertips but now, thanks to the increased pressure and perhaps a smidgeon more skill, I have discovered I can write almost anywhere and favour longhand on 'day job days' and when time is really tight. I have also worked out how to switch between one book and another without getting in too much of a muddle. For example, the line edits for Cuckoo Cottage landed in the middle of writing Sleigh Rides, but I didn't have time to get in a flap. Compartmentalise and move on is my new motto!

So what's my point I can hear you asking. Well, I guess my point is this, it doesn't really matter if you are writing your first book or your fifth, as long as you are getting the words down, giving it your all and not trotting out the old 'I'd love to write a book but I haven't got the time' chestnut, then you are an author. Learning to write is much the same as learning any craft. It takes time, you won't be an expert in the beginning (if you're anything like me you'll never have the confidence to call yourself an expert) and you'll make a fair few mistakes along the way, but as long as you keep going you will get better. I'm not saying it will get easier because sometimes it feels like the toughest thing in the world to do, even though I love doing it, but if you make the commitment to starting that journey and keep putting one word in front of another you'll soon discover for yourself that writing Book 5 is nothing like writing Book 1, and you'll be amazed by just how much you've learnt about yourself and your passion for writing along the way.

About the author

Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children she plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.

A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the odd bottle of fizz, she now writes feel good fiction with heart for Simon and Schuster.

Her debut novel, The Cherry Tree Café was published in July 2015 and Summer at Skylark Farm hit the shelves the following June. Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market was a hugely successful Christmas 2016 release and her fourth book, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage will be published on July 13th this year. She is currently working on her October 2017 release, Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair.

Heidi lives in Norfolk with her wonderful family and a mischievous cat called Storm.

You can find Heidi on Facebook & Twitter.
You can find all of Heidi's previous books here.
You can pre-order your copy of Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage here.


  1. One of the main differences relates to what happened to the previous 4, I would have thought. How much expectation the public have of you versus how much expectation you have of yourself, and how much you have to fight to maintain self-belief in the face of the world that ignores you. Faffing, stalling and rewriting are my constant companions(and I'm on book 7!). gx

    1. That's a very good point Gilli. There are always the 'what if I can't do it again' thoughts waiting to pounce with every new blank screen and my expectations regarding what I can achieve are certainly far higher now than they were when I was attempting Book 1. H x