Monday, December 31, 2012
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
Saturday, December 01, 2012
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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Monday, November 19, 2012
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Friday, November 02, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Monday, October 15, 2012
Now, I preface this post by stating categorically: No Book Is ‘Easy’ to Write. The novel still took me nine months of daily writing to produce 90,000 words, edit them and then rewrite some of them. Yet for once, I enjoyed every moment of the process, had several offers for the book and not too much in the way of edits from my agent or editor.
Before you think I’m a smug git, I will happily admit to most of my books giving me a great deal of trouble and for a couple to have had a *lot* of rewriting and then some. One or two hurt even to think about but not Miranda, and I’ve asked myself why. Did I discover a magical new writing system to help me create the plot and develop the characters? The Post-It method? Card files? Character wheels? Zodiac signs? Unfortunately not: which means I probably won’t be able to replicate that glorious feeling again.
I’d describe myself as a ‘pantster’ rather than a ‘plotter’ and to be honest, I’m not a lover of writing methods and systems. Now, the unkind might say that shows in my novels but the truth is that I find ‘systems’ stifling to my creativity and to my strange way of thinking, they relegate writing to a slog rather than pleasure. Worst, they drag me outside my story and remind me that it’s not, actually, true. That’s not to say that many writers find a system or method that works for them. It’s probably just me... maybe chaos is my process.
Or perhaps, this being my sixth novel, I’ve finally learned a few things. I’ve learned to spot when I’m heading down a blind alley and to ask sooner: why? Because in essence, isn’t that three letter word is the key to all stories? Asking why a character has acted or is acting or will act in a certain way is the essence of the plot of a romance novel. If people’s motivations aren’t clear or credible, the story just won’t work for the reader. If you ask ‘why’ often enough, it may lead you down a completely different route to the one you’d plotted. It’s hard to let go of a plan or worse, to delete thousands of words, but sometimes you have to do it.
With Miranda’s Mount, the inspirational part came when I got the idea, which came out of the blue on a car journey. Immediately, I knew the setting and the main reasons why my hero and heroine would be in conflict externally and their internal conflicts developed along the way. I really tried to make sure I had those motivations at the front of my mind at every stage of the novel. As a result, the characters spoke to me from the first page to the end, with very few silences in between.
Or maybe I just got lucky this time... I’d love to know if you’ve found any writing processes that worked well for you.
Miranda’s Mount When Miranda finds herself fighting for her home, her job and her heart, sleeping with the enemy may not be the best tactic… With no family of her own, Miranda Marshall has developed a healthy respect – some would say obsession – with other people’s histories. As property manager of a spectacular island castle in Cornwall, she’s made St Merryn’s Mount one of the UK’s most popular heritage attractions. While she may have the castle running like clockwork, Miranda hasn’t bargained on its sexy owner returning to claim his birthright. Dark, handsome and with a rakish reputation, Jago St Merryn not only looks like a pirate but is intent on flogging the Mount to a soulless leisure corporation. Miranda faces the battle of her life as she tries to persuade him to face up to his past and continue the St Merryn dynasty. But Jago has his own reasons for jumping ship and when he throws down the gauntlet to Miranda, she’s forced to delve into painful memories she’d much rather keep hidden… Amazon US Amazon UK AmazonUK
Friday, September 28, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
• What is the working title of your next book? Okay, well the one I've just started is called Lights, Camera, Poltergeist and is a follow up to Cue Me In which was my Halloween Story from last year with Astraea Press.
• Where did the idea come from for the book? The idea came from readers of Cue me In who keep asking for another story featuring Fae, her technician boyfriend John 'Flash' Flannigan and some spooky action.
• What genre does your book fall under? It's a short and sweet novella with a twist of humour and a dash of suspense
• What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? I hate this question! I never ever know how to cast my stories and can never remember actors names. Fae is tall, slim, blonde and wears kick ass boots. Flash has blue eyes, dirt blond hair and has dimples when he smiles.
• What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? Valentine's eve in a spooky Scottish country house and and Fae's heart isn't all that going 'bump' in the night.
• Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I'm hoping my lovely publishers at Astraea press will like it :)
• How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I've only just started it so probably eight to ten weeks as it's going to be aprox 15kish
• What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Hmm, people have compared my writing to Janet Evanovich so I'll take that as a lovely flattering description, how true that is I'm not sure.
• Who or what inspired you to write this book? I love architecture - old buildings fascinate me and as someone who comes from a line of women with psychic gifts then this kind of story feels quite natural. I've had lots of readers say they think Fae and Flash are series characters so I thought I'd like to do another story featuring them.
• What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? If you like humour, suspense, ghosts, feisty heroines and something a bit different then Cue Me In and Lights, Camera, Poltergeist would probably be your thing. The writers I am tagging are:- Sheryl Brown and my fabulous CP Kimberly Menozzi
Monday, September 17, 2012
Carol decided to become an Indie author, and has just published her firsrt YA novel, Jigsaw Pieces on Amazon Kindle. She is currently working on her next ebook, a Victorian detective novel, with werewolf.
Carol lives in Hertfordshire, with her husband, a pink 2CV, two cats and a lot of fish. She has one grown up daughter.
1. Most authors are also big readers. Do you read the same genre you write? and which book has influenced you most in your desire to be a writer?
I am a voracious reader - one of those who always has a stack of books by the bed - which follow me round the house. I don't read YA novels, actually I don't think of myself as a YA author, but as a writer of crime fiction that just happens to have teenagers as the main protagonists. I find it a bit tedious that we have to be categorised all the time! But I do read a lot of crime fiction and thrillers: Henning Mankell, Robert Harris are two favourites as well as Dickens ( well, he writes crime fiction, in a way). In answer to the last part of the question, I could give a frivolous answer and say Orlando the Marmalade Cat, as Kathleen Hale was the first author I borrowed from our tiny local library, when I was 6. The luscious illustrations and funny kittens were an early source of inspiration. Maybe that's why I have so many kittens on my Facebook page! Seriously though, I can't say one book has influenced me; I think the concept of THE BOOK is what inspires me and drives me to write.
2. Are you a plotter or a pantster when it comes to writing your books?
Because I write crime fiction, I have to be a bit of a plotter. I need to work out what the crime will be in advance, and who is the perpetrator. And I need to know how everything will end. Then I just fly by the seat of my pants, because it's more exciting that way. I always try to end a writing session on a cliff-edge, so that I return to a challenge. Being a pantster means that I'm open to new things happening, and I don't panic if the narrative starts veering off-course, because there is no course. Though there is an ultimate destination.
3. If you were giving a dinner party, which 4 fictional characters would you most like to invite and why?
Oh gosh, what a HARD question! Well, one of the guests would be Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind because she's the original Steel Magnolia, isn't she. And then, I'd invite Kurt Wallander, because his Swedish reserve would be an interesting contrast. My third dinner guest must be Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird because I just love the way she reacts to situations and people in Maycomb. My last guest? Ooh, pure indulgence: Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I adore a man with a crumbly interior. And a wet shirt - no no,wait, that's Colin Firth.
4. What are you working on next?
I'm on the final edits of an historical novel set in 1860. It's called Diamond Girl and is 'Victorian-lite' in that, although researched up to the brim, it's written in a fast-paced and (I hope) humorous style. It also pokes gentle fun at some of the Victorian novel cliches:the bumbling detective, the ragged crossing sweeper, the over-managing mother. Did I mention the werewolf? I hope to get it uploaded around Christmas.
Many thanks to Carol for stopping by today. Jigsaw Pieces is available from AMAZONUK
Here's the blurb!
‘He had been part of my everyday life. I hadn’t liked him much, nobody had liked him much, but he’d been there. Now, I’d never see him again.’ Annie Skjaerstad had been searching for her identity since being uprooted from her native country of Norway. With a spiky personality winning her no friends, and family members suddenly torn out of her life, she is left seeking comfort from a growing intrigue into the stories of fallen war heroes. But one day, a boy from her school unexpectedly commits suicide, changing things forever. Confused by the tragic tale of someone she knew, Annie soon finds herself conducting her own investigation into his death. What she uncovers will bring her to a dark and dangerous place, as suddenly – her own life is put at risk. A tense, coming of age crime thriller by the author of ‘Dead Man Talking’.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
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Thursday, July 12, 2012
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Trevenen is beautiful but neglected, a rambling house steeped in history. Maddie is enchanted by it and determined to learn as much as she can about its past. As she discovers the stories of generations of women who've lived there before, Maddie begins to feel her life is somehow intertwined within its walls.
But Maddie's dream of a calm life in the countryside is far from the reality she faces. Still struggling with her grief and battling with Hannah, Maddie is unable to find inspiration for her painting and realises she may face the prospect of having to sell Trevenen, just as she is coming to love it.
And as Maddie and Hannah pull at the seams of Trevenen's past, the house reveals secrets that have lain hidden for generations.
Excerpt... It was nearly eleven and Maddie had been behind the wheel of the car for over eight hours. She yawned and forced her eyes open wider. Slowing the car she approached yet another blind bend. Moonlight silhouetted the twisted trees against the sky. Their tortured shapes rose from the hedges, forming a tunnel. It seemed to be closing in around them. A shiver went down her spine. The engine stuttered.
“Come on old girl. It can’t be much further to Trevenen, and once there, both you and I can have a much deserved rest.” Maddie stroked the dashboard. Smoke seeped from the edges of the bonnet.
She glanced at her stepdaughter asleep in the passenger seat. Hannah looked sweet with her blonde hair in spiky disarray. She changed position and a tattoo appeared on the teen’s arm. Maddie shook her head. Hannah had disobeyed her. She’d had to call on all her patience reserves when Hannah had displayed it last night. Maddie had just let it go. She too had been a teenager. However she’d obeyed her parents.
Turning her attention back to the road, Maddie knew if the map was accurate they must be near their new home Trevenen. This, of course, assumed she’d followed it correctly and she’d no idea whether she had or not. The last thing she needed was to be stranded on a remote country lane.
When she’d visited the house back in April, the solicitor had driven her there. It hadn’t seemed confusing then, but maybe she hadn’t been paying attention as well as she should have. That was no surprise. She hadn’t done anything as well as she should have since her husband, John, had died.
1. Most authors are also big readers. Do you read the same genre that you write? and which book has influenced you most in your desire to be a writer? I love reading and I do read in the same genre that I write, but not when I am writing a first draft…don’t want to find I have lost my voice and begun using another person’s. I’m not sure any one book has influenced me to be a writer. I have always had stories going on in my head and eventually I felt the need to put them onto a page and share them.
2. Are you a plotter or a pantser when it comes to writing your book? A total panster – I begin with a title, a heroine, a setting and hope I will come out the other side with a complete story.
3. If you were giving a dinner party which four fictional characters would you most like to invite and why? This is so tough…OK starting with the most recent – Matthew Clairmont the Vampire from The Discovery of Witches, Professor Snape from Harry Potter, Julian from Regency Buck, and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice…but can I have them one at a time please…
4. What are you working on next? I’m working on my next book, August Rock, for my publishers in the UK. It, like The Cornish House, is set on the Lizard and is about Judith who flees her wedding in the States when she realizes she is living life my other people’s directions…but what happens when she starts taking control?
Available from Amazon and all good etailers Hardback also available - paperback to follow. Many thanks Liz for visiting and agreeing to be interviewed!
Monday, July 02, 2012
Published works include four romantic suspense novels: AND THE BEAT GOES ON, where archeological evidence for creation comes at a heavy cost; MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, the story of a ‘cougar’ who takes on more than she bargained for; PLAY IT AGAIN, about an unlikely match during the 1980s rock n’ roll scene; and WIND OVER MARSHDALE, where strong spiritual forces rock a seemingly peaceful prairie town. She also has several stage plays in print. Visit her website for more details. http://www.tracykrauss.com
Tracy kindly agreed to be interviewed as part of her stop here: 1. Most authors are also big readers. Do you read the same genre that you write? and which book has influenced you most in your desire to be a writer? Actually, I don’t write my favourite genre which is spec fiction or Sci-fi. When I was a teen all the girls my age were reading YA romances while I was heavy into Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan – all 30+ of them...) I was in love with Spock and had Star Trek posters in my room instead of the latest teen idol. My tastes really haven’t changed. I love a good Spec/ Sci-fi/ Fantasy/ Paranormal book with a really twisted ending. The irony is, I don’t write in this genre. I write Romantic Suspense, but I do try for an element of surprise at the end. After what I just said, it probably sounds out of sync to say that Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne series may have inspired me to follow my writing dreams. Anne is a strong heroine who loved to write and followed her dream by submitting her stories. There are so many inspiring authors it’s hard to pick one. I think I was also inspired early on by C.S. Lewis and Margaret Atwood. Lewis for his imagination and Atwood for her ability to tell her story her way.
2. Are you a plotter or a pantser when it comes to writing your book? I always start off as a ‘plotter’. I like to create detailed character sketches and I outline the basic plot. Then as I get going, things evolve and change so a lot of the ‘panster’ comes into play as well. I go through multiple rewrites, that’s for sure.
3. If you were giving a dinner party which four fictional characters would you most like to invite and why? Sherlock Holmes, Spock, Lizzy Bennett, and Festus the fool from ‘Twelfth Night’. All of them have a very keen intellect and while the first two are sparring over details and technicalities, Lizzy and Festus could make fun of them with sharp witted comments. It would be fun to watch. Of course, I’d probably have to invite them out somewhere since I really don’t enjoy throwing dinner parties and they might not like my cooking. (I’d like the sharp witted comments directed at one another, not my culinary abilities.)
4. What are you working on next? I’ve got two novels that need polishing up and which I hope to submit to my agent by the end of the summer. I’ve also got three new stage plays coming out sometime this year, so I’ll be busy promoting those. I also have a children’s book which I’ve illustrated which I’m in the process of shopping around.