Author, freelance copywriter and 26er Phillipa Ashley, aka Pippa Croft, talks to Elen Lewis about writing fiction that would make your hair curl, getting a book deal, and a secret that’s buried beneath the Brecon Beacons.
What’s your day job?
Freelance copywriter and novelist in equal measure – I write as Phillipa Ashley and Pippa Croft.
What are your private passions?
Writing fiction that would make your hair curl, body boarding, swimming in the open air and watching costume drama. Doing hands on research for my novels (so far I’ve been abseiling, trained with a mountain rescue team, tried to surf, and been an extra in a student film.)
What do people get wrong about you?
They think I am a billionaire and only write romantic fiction for the money, not because I love doing it.
What do you like best about belonging to 26?
That I have finally made the newsletter.
How would you describe what you do (in 26 words)
I write funny, classy, sexy novels and copy for clients. If you need a B2B, industrial or creative writing specialist, I’m your woman.
How does your copywriting work influence your fiction?
When I first started writing fiction, I tried to write like a copywriter. I think I was too focused on crafting clever sound bites and sparse economy instead of telling a story and developing characters. On the upside, I already had a distinctive voice and I am very deadline focused.
What advice would you offer fellow 26ers on getting a book deal?
Write what you truly want to write, not what you think you ‘ought’ to write or will impress your peers. Get used to working very long hours, for very little money on non-commissioned projects that may never earn you a penny. Advertising may be cut throat but publishing is outrageously unfair. On the other hand, traditional publishing may not be the best way to share your work; self publishing may be a more creatively satisfying and lucrative option.
What are you working on now? Third Time Lucky, the third in my sexy romance series for Penguin, which follows the tempestuous relationship of two Oxford graduate students, Alexander and Lauren.
Tell us a secret.
They keep the magic ‘formula’ for writing romantic fiction in a vault somewhere beneath Brecon Beacons. Only a few people know the location and they are sworn to secrecy but if everyone knew it, we’d all be billionaires.