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Emma Lee-Potter

Tell me about your latest book 'Olympic Flames'.

Olympic Flames is my first romantic novella and Iíve had great fun writing it. Itís about a young British showjumper taking part in the London 2012 Olympics. I got the idea after discovering that equestrian events are the only Olympic sports where men and women compete against each other on equal terms. Mimi, the heroine, has fought her way to success from a tough background and is desperate to win a gold medal in front of her home crowd. But first injury threatens and then an enigmatic old flame arrives back on the showjumping circuit, putting her ambitions in jeopardy. Iíve tried to make it a light-hearted and entertaining read so I hope readers will enjoy it.

What is your†favourite stage†of the writing process?
Probably when Iím about two-thirds of the way through my first draft, when Iíve got to know my characters really well and have a good idea of where the book is going!

Which authors have inspired you?
There are so many writers, but off the top of my head I would say Colm Toibin, Anne Enright, Ian Rankin and Jilly Cooper. Colm Toibin and Anne Enright are such elegant writers, Ian Rankinís books are pacy and compelling and Jilly Cooperís novels are witty and fun. My biggest inspiration, though, was my mother, journalist Lynda Lee-Potter. She taught me to cut redundant words, develop my own style and read my writing aloud to check that it flows. I learned more about writing from her than anyone.

How do your successive drafts change?
I once went to a talk given by the novelist MJ Hyland and she said that itís a good idea to begin each writing session without looking at what youíve written the day before. Iíve tried to follow her advice but I simply canít. I start each day by going over what I wrote the day before so in a way Iím redrafting all the time. It means that my successive drafts donít change that much, although they become tighter, have fewer adverbs and flow better.

Do you believe in writer's block?
Actually, I donít. I have days when I find writing difficult but I just keep going. As a journalist, I work to tight deadlines and reckon that even when my writing isnít going according to plan I have to grit my teeth and get on with it.

Have you any tips for aspiring writers?
Write every single day, read voraciously and donít get downhearted if your manuscript is rejected first time round. Iíd also recommend going to talks by your favourite authors. You can learn so much from their writing strategies and techniques. I go to lots of literary festivals and often blog about the tips Iíve gleaned from other novelists.

Click here for Emma's website