Write-Off with Francesca Steele


Anna Hope

Season 1, Ep. 1

Anna Hope has written three very successful novels, the last of which, Expectation, was published to much fanfare in 2019 and which has been optioned for film. But before that Anna experienced plenty of rejection as an actor, and then when she turned to writing her first novel failed to sell.

Anna was such a joy to speak to and she felt like the perfect first guest for Write-Off, talking openly and honestly about quite how difficult that experience was and how she got through it to become the hugely successful novelist she is today.

Anna's novels are Wake, The Ballroom and Expectation and you can find them in all good bookshops as well as my own online bookstore link: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/francescasteel

Many thanks to Scott Elliott for his invaluable podcast advice, and to Robin Stannard for my lovely Write-Off logo.

Find me on Twitter @francescasteele #writeoff.

More Episodes


Alan Garner

Season 3, Ep. 7
Last year, Alan Garner became the oldest person ever to be shortlisted for the Booker prize, at the age of 87, for his novel Treacle Walker. Alan has been writing novels and other books for more than 60 years, many of them rooted in the folklore and mythology of Cheshire where he is from. His first novel The Weirdstone of Brisingamen had people calling him the new Tolkien and he received an OBE in 2001 for services to literature. Among Alan’s books is his incredible memoir Where Shall We Run To, in which he describes his childhood. He was a very sick child and spent days, weeks, staring at the wall of his bedroom during the second world war, thinking and dreaming, and perhaps sowing the seeds of becoming an author years later, But he also describes the pain of being cast out of his community when he got into grammar school. A rejection that still seems to pain him today and which feeds into the type of writing that he does. Alan has an unusual writing process, that often involves years of what he calls gestation, where he barely writes at all, waiting for the subconscious part of the brain to come up with the goods, and I think there’s something to learn from this - that a writer’s work really isn’t all done at the desk, and that patience isn’t just a virtue but a necessity. I loved chatting to Alan about writing swear words on the first manuscripts he was throughly dissatisfied with, thinking T.S. Eliot’s wasteland was a load of rubbish and giving up academia to write even when he had no idea whether he’d be any good. Do come find me on Twitter - @francescasteele - or Instagram - @francescasteelewrites - I'd love to hear your stories about self-doubt, rejection and – of course – success!