Monday, January 27, 2014

Five Things Lucinda Riley Can't Write Without

Lucinda Riley
  5 Things She Can’t Write Without

1. Peace  
Above all I need total peace and calm to write the first draft.  My normal life is so hectic with 4 children and ‘Team Lulu’ (my assistant editor/PA/nanny/housekeeper) without whom I would not be able to finish one book, let alone the 13 I have completed so far.  Though I can go through the editing process when at home or in France in the summer, the creative stage, particularly when I’m writing the ‘past,’ requires me to be totally undisturbed for sustained periods to concentrate, and this means being away from home — and preferably somewhere warm.  For example I took 3 weeks alone in a remote hotel in Northern Thailand to write the majority of The Midnight Rose, and 3 weeks in Rio de Janeiro to write the ‘past’ section of my first book of a forthcoming series of seven called ‘The Seven Sisters.’

2. An Inspiring Location

It’s always a particular location that first fills me with inspiration for my next book.  Sometimes it’s a country or landscape, but more often than not, it’s a house.  And when I begin to write, I often get the uncanny feeling that I have been there before and that the stories are ‘being told’ to me.

3. ‘Dick’

I know I am not typical amongst authors, in that I don’t keep notes or ‘storyboard’ a novel — once I have had the initial inspiration the story and characters begin to form in my imagination, then I dust off my trusty little voice recorder and start talking into my dictatphone.  ’Dick’ — as I affectionately call him — and I, have a love/hate relationship.  I spend long hours with him as I speak to him in strange positions (I can’t sit in a chair during this process, I have to sit on a floor or walk, and for some reason, write better outside in the open air) and act out the characters.  As an ex-actress, I find it hugely beneficial to speak the dialogue out loud.  I spend weeks talking to myself — my kids think I’m crazy, especially as I add the punctuation as I go.

I then hand it to Olivia, my long-suffering PA, who then has the unenviable task of converting my verbal ‘vomit’ into words on a real page.

4. Provencal Rosé and Cheese

I have a rigorous ‘drinks routine every writing day, starting with a large mug of tea when I wake up.  A milky coffee at 10am is then followed at lunchtime by a glass of rose wine from Provence in Southern France — only pale rosé will do, and my favorite is Chateau Pampelonne, from just outside St. Tropez.  As for food, because I am a coeliac and can’t eat wheat, my diet doesn’t allow bread or pasta or cereals and I therefore get my energy from milk, cheese, fish and rice — and cheese is my passion, mainly cheddar and brie.

5. Family 

I have 4 children whom I miss terribly when I am away writing.  Luckily I find a way to speak every day on Skype or the phone, and my husband also sometimes visits me (if it’s a particularly nice location!).


Lucinda Riley is the internationally bestselling author of The Orchid House (published as Hothouse Flower in the UK, more then 2 million copies sold worldwide); The Girl on the Cliff (an instant New York Times bestseller), and The Lavender Garden (published as The Light Behind the Window in the UK).  Her fourth novel, The Midnight Rose, will be published around the world in early 2014.  Her novels have been translated into twenty-two languages and published in thirty-six countries.  Born in Ireland, she lives with her husband and four children in the English countryside and in the South of France.


Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley is on sale March 18, 2014


  1. I love her books.

    If you haven't read any of her books, give them a try.

    The Lavender Garden is my favorite.

  2. It's always fun to have some insight into how books get written!

  3. Hi Elizabeth,

    What a lovely, interesting guest post. A completely different approach, which has worked so well and tells so much.

    I have had 'The Orchid House' on my list for some time now, however I want to read all of Lucinda's books at some stage, as they sound fantastic.

    Irish authors always seem to have a natural storytelling way with them, which is fresh and truthful and it is great to have discovered a new name to add to that list.

    Thanks for the lovely feature and I hope that you are taking care of yourself,