Here are some extracts of interviews from the last few yearsâ€¦
My Writing Day, Writing Magazine, June 2005
â€¦Seven years ago Erin Kaye resigned from her job to become a writer. A yellowing, dog-eared scrap of paper, stuck on her computer serves to remind her why she made such a life-changing decision. â€˜The happiest and most successful person works all year long at what he would otherwise choose to do on his summer vacation,â€™ it says. Wise words from Mark Twainâ€¦. â€œMy best time [for writing] is in the mornings but because I have so little control over when I write â€“ itâ€™s dictated by school and nursery hours â€“ I just have to get on with it whether I feel particularly inspired or not. Sometimes it feels like a terrible grind and other days it just flows. If I waited for the muse to strike Iâ€™d never produce very much at all. â€œIâ€™m constantly tempted away from my desk by household chores, calls to be returned, e-mails to be answered, Christmas cakes to be baked (yes, really). The list is endless. But, when I need to, I can be a disciplined person and force myself to ignore these distractionsâ€¦I tend to work in blocks of six to eight weeks, taking the usual holidays and all summer off, so most of my writing gets done during the winter.
â€œIf a deadline is looming I set myself a daily target of 2,000 words and wonâ€™t go to bed until Iâ€™ve achieved it, even if what Iâ€™ve written isnâ€™t all that great â€“ I can go back and edit itâ€¦â€ Erin writes directly onto the computer, editing constantly, chopping, moving sections, changing words and phrases.
â€œSometimes bits of dialogue pop into my head and I jot them down at the bottom of the page to be used later on. Writing a novel longhand would be such a mess no one would be able to read it. â€œBefore putting a finger on the keyboard I have to have at lest one very strong (normally female) main character in mind with very credible motivations for the thing sheâ€™s going to do. I also have a clear idea of the themes I want to explore. Setting is important too. Once Iâ€™m clear on these aspects I write a very detailed blow-by-blow synopsis in which I work through all the main-and sub-plots. I also write profiles for all my main characters. Then I finally start to write the book, aiming for about 100,000+ words.â€
My Writing Place
â€œI work in a recess on the landing at the top of the stairs in my house. My L-shaped desk, which just squeezes into the space with no room to spare, and my filing cabinets are pale wood. I like to keep a tidy desk but never do. In spite of having a perfectly good system of in-trays thereâ€™s always something encroaching on my workspace and usually itâ€™s nothing to do with writing â€“ bills to be paid, catalogues just arrived in the post etc. On the wall to my right is a year-planner and, on the left, a white board, which is brilliant. â€˜Things I have to remember to do are constantly popping into my head and once scribbled down on the white board, I can forget about them and concentrate on my writing. Weâ€™re planning an extension to the house next year and part of the plan is to create a study, which will be fantastic. Space for everything and a door that can be shutâ€
Belfast Telegraph careers page article July 2005:
What is your educational background?
First Class Hons degree in Geography and Institute of Banking qualification. While these qualifications provided a springboard into my previous jobs in banking, they have absolutely nothing at all to do with my current job!!
What was your very first job?
Babysitting â€“ at the age of fourteen I had eleven families on my â€œbooksâ€ and, between them. I babysat every Friday and Saturday night. Coming from a family of five, curling up on someone elseâ€™s sofa in front of the TV without having to fight for control of the remote was bliss. As was the lovely suppers the Mums used to leave out for me. It certainly beat a paper round.
What made you decide to pursue your present career?
Getting fed up with other people telling me what to do and working long hours. Deciding that I didnâ€™t want to do what I was doing that for the rest of my life and wanting to have control of my working day.
What does a typical working day involve?
I usually read over and edit what Iâ€™ve written the day before. I set myself a target of 1,500 - 2,000 words a day but of course I donâ€™t always achieve that - Iâ€™m very good at procrastination. My writing time is pretty much dictated by my youngest sonâ€™s nursery hours â€“ so I just have to get on with it whether I feel like it or not!
What are your main responsibilities?
Iâ€™m responsible for everything, from conceiving the idea behind a novel to planning, execution and delivery, making the tea, ordering stationary, doing the typing, answering the phone and doing the admin. A real one-woman show.
What skills do you need?
You need to be good at multi-tasking. You need to be literate, I guess and have a vivid imagination. I work from home so I suppose you need to be pretty disciplined not to get distracted.
Whatâ€™s the best thing about your job?
You take all the credit when a book does well!
And the worst?
You canâ€™t blame failures on anybody but yourself!
What sort of personal qualities does your job require?
Stubborness, and self-belief â€“ I still remember the shock horror of my work colleagues when I announced that I was leaving corporate banking to re-invent myself as a writer. You also have to be very self-motivated and quite happy to work on your own for months without meeting anyone in a professional capacity. So itâ€™s important to have a good network of friends unconnected with writing.
Where would you like to be in 10 years time?
Retired, living a life of luxury in the Bahamas off the proceeds of my bestselling back catalogue. Dream onâ€¦
What advice would you give to someone wishing to pursue a similar career?
If I had a pound for everyone Iâ€™ve met who said, â€œOh, Iâ€™ve often fancied being a writer â€“ I think I have a book in me,â€ Iâ€™d be a very wealthy woman. So the first thing Iâ€™d say is decide â€“ seriously decide - that you want to be a writer. And then, simply, stop procrastinating and write the book. And once itâ€™s done, believe in it even if you get rejected at first. Persist. Get yourself an agent if you can. And while youâ€™re trying to sell the first book get on with writing the next one.
If you could swap jobs with someone for one day, who would it be and why?
The president of the United States, so that I could commit the US to taking global warming seriously. And if I couldnâ€™t do that, Iâ€™d like to be a nun in a silent order for a week so I could experience complete peace and tranquility â€“ mind you, I donâ€™t think I could last longer then a day.
Sunday Life More 2 Life Magazine August 2004
When working from nine to five turned out to be more like nine to midnight, Erin Kaye knew she simply had to get out of the rat race. Having initially entered the banking world as a graduate, the Co. Antrim woman was making all the right moves in her professional life and climbing high on the career ladder.
But, while working late one Friday night, it suddenly hit Erin that her job was taking over her life: â€œA female colleague and I didnâ€™t leave work until 11pm. Our boss didnâ€™t even ask us how we were getting home, if we were okay or had we eaten. It made me question what it was all for.â€ On arriving home, she realized that her husband Mervyn was missing.
The simple explanation was that he had gone on a night out with a friend, but Erin panicked when she couldnâ€™t find him and phoned the emergency services in a desperate bid to locate him. â€œIt was then that I realized I had a real desire to live different kind of life â€“ enough was enough,â€ she said.
With the support of her husband, Erin made a decision from which there was no going back. She gave up her well-paid and highly-respected job, and instead decided to try her hand at writing. â€œI decided I wanted to write before I knew what I wanted to write about,â€ she admitted. â€œI wanted to do something creative â€“ something where I was in control.â€â€¦.
â€¦â€œI know for certain that the chance to have children would have passed me by, had I stayed in corporate lifeâ€â€¦
â€¦Growing up in a mainly female house, Erin prefers to have strong female leads in her novels â€“ a reflection of the strong bond she has with her mother and her three sisters.
â€œI do try to write about men and make my characters sympathetic to the male, but the women are what I know most about.â€