I’m honoured to have been invited to join the “My Writing Process” blogging tour.
First I have to express my gratitude to writer and reviewer, Edith Ó Nualláin for inviting me to participate in the ‘My Writing Process’ blogging tour. You can find out more about Edith on her thoughtful and insightful blog ‘In a Room of My Own’ http://inaroomofmyown.wordpress.com/. To follow the tour backwards, you can also click on the blog of poet Tania Pryputniewicz http://poetrymom.blogspot.co.uk/, who tagged Edith.
Next I need to answer 4 questions on my writing process, and finally tag the writers who will carry on the tour on their own blogs on May 5th 2014.
My Writing Process:
1) What am I working on? I’m currently working on two different projects, under my two different writing identities.
As ‘Heather Pardoe’ I’m writing a serial for ‘The People’s Friend’. It’s set in Victorian times amongst the paddle steamers of sailing beneath the medieval castle and walls of Conwy in North Wales. I’m just getting to the last episode and my heroine is currently in mortal peril ….
As Juliet Greenwood I’m working on my next novel. Although it is not a sequel to ‘We That Are Left’, published by Honno Press in February 2014, it follows on in time, being set mainly in the 1920s in the period immediately after the Great War. It follows the adventures of two very different women and a crime that sends them halfway around the world. One of them is also currently in mortal peril …
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? My novels and serials are historicals, based in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. I feel my unique calling card is that my stories have the romance and family relationships of a family saga, but each with the strong streak of a thriller at its heart. My heroines have to find themselves through the twists and turns of their adventures – and the reader is never quite sure where the story is going to go next. My settings are also unique, being mainly set in Cornwall, and the less familiar, but no less beautiful and romantic landscape of Snowdonia and the island of Anglesey. And then there is the sensuality the landscape, the gardening, the cooking, and the recipes…
3) Why do I write what I do? I love the freedom and the slight exoticism of the past. I enjoy writing about the end of the 19th century, the beginning of the 20th century, and the 1920s, as I find in many ways this period reflects our own, being one of huge technological and social change, with old certainties being swept away, and new freedoms (especially for women) being fought for and gained. I find this particularly so of WW1 and 1920s, which were such a period of change, reeling with the shock of the war. Although the recent recession can’t be compared to the horrors of the trenches, it still shares that sense of shock, of the unthinkable happening, and a more uncertain world, both physically and morally. But with much nicer frocks. I feel it’s no coincidence that ‘Downton Abbey’ has been such a hit, following a family through this period.
4) How does my writing process work? At the moment I’m trying to get back into a rhythm, after concentrated for the past couple of months on the launch of ‘We That Are Left’, which was book of the month for March for Waterstones Wales, The Welsh Books Council and The National Museums of Wales. I’ve been longing to get back to concentrating on writing, although it always seems to take an age after a period away.
With the serial, I’m writing it bit by bit, so when the magazine says ‘yes’ to an installment, I immediately set off on the next one. As it’s all been mapped out ahead, I know where I’m going, so I can simply enjoy the writing process.
With the novel – well, that’s harder. I’m working my way back into a first draft and I’m at the point where doubt has set in and I’m convinced it’s rubbish. Which of course it is. That’s what a first draft is about. Characters change age, sex and hair colour at will, and go off into all sorts of directions no matter how often you tell them to get their backsides back here this instant and follow orders. So at the moment I’m ignoring the doubts, ploughing on grimly and reminding myself that this is part of the process. This is the structure, the framework on which the final story will come together. The trick I find is to not read over it, not look back and not get distracted until the first draft is done.
After that I am found on long dog walks in the dawn, muttering to myself as I sort out what I really want, absorb the changes that have happened despite me, and as often as not changing who ‘did’ it, as being too obvious. Then I go back to the first draft, tear it all apart, put it back together – and the first sight of the book that will emerge is there. All ready for the process to start all over again, and again, nipping, twitching, tweaking and wholesale slashing and burning until finally it is ready for the editing process.
Which is when you brace yourself for it to be all torn apart again. I love the tweaking and the editing (even when the comments are eyewatering). It’s the perfecting stage when a book becomes a book, and when it finally begins to work the buzz is incredible. Better thank chocolate (although both wine and chocolate and endless coffee are a necessary part of the process).
I’m still working my way in there and cringing at what I’ve written. But give me a day or so and I’ll be caught up in the story, wherever it takes me, and regain my faith in the process. (Hopefully)
And the writers I tag to carry the torch onward are:
Chris lives and writes on the beautiful west Wales coast. She is proud to be part of the Choc Lit selection box with ‘Turning the Tide’ and ‘Move over Darling’, and ‘Follow a Star’, to be published in July 2014. She is also published by Honno Press.
You can find Chris at her blog: http://homethoughtsweekly.blogspot.co.uk/
Kate Blackadder has had around forty short stories published in magazines such as Woman’s Weekly and The People’s Friend. In 2008 she won the Muriel Spark Short Story Prize. Other stories have been in New Writing Scotland and long/short-listed for competitions such as the Jane Austen Short Story Award and the Scotsman/Orange Short Story Prize. She has several stories on the Alfie Dog site http://www.alfiedog.com (including the Jane Austen Award story The Real Thing) and a short story, Sam Something, in the AlfieDog collection Came as ‘Me’, Left as ‘We’. Kate’s serial The Family at Farrshore was published in The People’s Friend in 2011 and is now available from libraries in a large-print edition and from www.thereadinghouse.co.uk.
You can find Kate at her blog: http://katewritesandreads.blogspot.co.uk/
Thorne Moore is the author of ‘A Time for Silence‘, published by Honno Press, and runner up for The People’s Book Prize
She read history at Aberystwyth university (and later, far more impressively, acquired a law degree by blood, sweat and tears, through the Open University). She now lives I just outside a North Pembrokeshire village where she runs a craft business and occasionally teaches family history. She is fascinated by the far-reaching consequences of our actions rather than the thrill of the actions themselves. If crimes occur, it is their impact on individuals, on families and on communities that she seeks to examine, rather than the intricacies of forensic detection.
Thorne’s books are largely set in Pembrokeshire, the county of her mother’s family, and which is an endless resource of history, mystery and magic.
You can find Thorne at her blog: http://thornemoore.blogspot.co.uk/