An interview with Jasmina Kallay
The writer of Beat Girl, a multi-platform series we are currently featuring on Movellas, gives you an insight into her writing life full of tips and advice. You can read all the different chapters here and an introduction here.
- Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I’m usually juggling around three projects at any one time, and the ratio can be either two scripts and one novel or vice versa – so I have to be very organised. I tend to have page goals every day and I find that moving in short bursts from one project to the next keeps everything flowing better, creatively especially. Before I start writing in the morning, I need a strong coffee, and then I’m good to go for about 2 hours. I then do all the emailing and practical stuff and maybe review some of the outlines. As I spend the afternoon with my little son, I resume my writing in the evening for 4 to 6 hours, and that’s when I work the best – there’s no work emails or phone calls breaking my concentration and I go into a zone.
- When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
I think a lot of writers tend to use everything around them as inspiration, and I’m no different – there will usually be a blend of people I know, things I make up and then occasionally I may have an actor in mind before I even start writing the character, especially when I’m writing screenplays.
- What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
It has to be Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley – it never ceases to amaze me that it gets so overlooked compared to Jane Eyre or her sister’s Wuthering Heights, as it’s a work that was really ahead of its time in terms of how it explored women’s rights and women’s yearning for equality. Ultimately, it’s a girl power story, but with all the delicious thwarted romance elements. I always struggle when forced to single out just one work, so I’d like to add Donna Tartt’s awe-inspiring The Secret History and Catherine O’Flynn’s heartbreaking What Was Lost. I’ll limit myself to three works, because I could keep going…
- What is your writing process? Do you plan first of dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I always plan the story, which I think comes from my screenwriting background – it’s ingrained in me to divide the story up into smaller segments in a detailed outline before proceeding with the first draft. Because of this planning process, I only have to then do polishes on my first draft rather than several drafts, so usually this means one extensive polish and one shorter polish. Beat Girl is a case in point – after the first draft, I only had to do two polishes.
- What was your journey to being a published author?
Quite a circuitous one! After doing a degree in Film Studies in Paris, during which I fell in love with Screenwriting, I decided writing novels was my main love, and I devoted a year to writing, but kept getting rejection slips. By the end of that year my passion for screenwriting re-emerged, and I went on to do an MA in Screenwriting, which really opened many doors for me. But ironically, based on some of my screenwriting samples, I got offered to ghostwrite a book, after which my ghostwriting career really took off, which is how I first became published. And concurrently I’ve been working as a screenwriter, so that now I get to tell stories in both of the two mediums I love – books and film.