Tuesday 27 May 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

Thank you Gemma Seltzer for inviting me on the Writing Process Blog Tour. Here goes!

What am I working on?

I'm editing my novel originally called Spray Painted Bananas for Harper Impulse. Rumour has it it's going to be called The Temp.  

The novel is a romantic comedy about Amber, a broke temp working in a catering firm who after one too many evenings scrounging free wine from whacky art galleries with best friend Farrell, decides to become a conceptual artist. 

The Temp should be out this Summer 2014.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Erm, it has spray painted bananas in it...

I'm not trying to be experimental or clever. If you gave me a book without punctuation I'd give it back to you. I'd also quickly lose interest if a novel had beautiful descriptions but no story.

My aim is to entertain the reader. I want them to feel something. I want them to laugh, to cry. Mostly I want them to escape for a while and feel good about life. I've watched more romantic comedies than read them and if I can make the reader feel what I do when I watch You've got Mail or Sleepless in Seattle then I'll be happy. 

Why do I write what I do?

Available on Amazon £1.53
Because either I feel compelled to write it or like romantic comedies, it makes me happy.

My short stories can be triggered by anything from events in the news or conversation overheard on a bus. Often they deal with emotions or situations I don't feel like inhabiting for the duration of a novel. Not all of them are dark or sad, one of my most read ones is about the Queen locking herself in the toilet to avoid the jubilee celebration. I had a lot of fun writing it so maybe I should just stick to comedy!

How does my writing process work?

Oh you know, I ring bells, light incense, invoke the gods of creativity and always wear my lucky knickers.

Not really. I just get up, set myself a word count and I write.

For plotting, I often use post-its or scribble pen to paper. When I get stuck, I do something physical, like cleaning the flat or running.

I try to meditate most mornings to put things into perspective, because I'm an impatient person and I need to remember the journey is more important than the destination.

Check out the following lovely writers who will be blogging about their writing process next week!

Hannah Emery

I have written stories for as long as I can remember. I love writing about how fragile the present is and how so much of it depends on chance events that took place years ago. I studied English at the University of Chester, and I now work in a College where I mentor degree students. 

The most important things in my life are my family, my friends, books, baking on a Saturday afternoon, getting glammed up to go out for champagne and dinner and having cosy weekends away. I live in Blackpool with my husband and our little girl.

Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahcemery 

 F D Lee

I live in London with my husband, two cats (George and Mango), rabbit (Cassius) and Guinea pig (Spot). Remarkably, we all manage to get on well! I have a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics, which makes me the life and soul of any party, especially one made up of the kind of people who like a joke about the passive (it's all fun and games until an eye is lost - bah dum). I've been teaching for ten years, and currently work as a Lecturer in Academic Writing and Literacy.

Faith blogs at www.fdlee.co.uk/
Follow Faith on Twitter  @faithdlee 

Amy Brown

I'm a Creative Writing student at the University of Winchester, aspiring to be an editor and novelist. I also works for Thursday Identity, an online magazine, run a university writers' society and help out with a writing prompt blog called 'Story Challenge.' Currently, I'm feeding my passion for folklore by researching fairy tales for my dissertation.

Follow Amy on Twitter: @amyelizewriter 

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Pen Heaven Q&A - How to make it as an author

This week I joined three other writers for a Q&A at Pen Heaven:

"Every author knows where they want to end up, but few know what it really takes to get there as well as, all importantly, where to start. There is no guide to becoming an author. No manual. No seven step program. That is why we’ve gone and hunted out authors from all walks of life to pick their brains and see how they got their start in the publishing world. From graphic novels to children’s books and romance novels, these writers have seen their work grow from simple ideas to full-fledged works of art and now they want to help you do the same."

Continue reading the full Q&A at Pen Heaven. 

Sunday 11 May 2014

A Day Out at Harper Collins

You'll never guess where I was on Friday... 

Yes, Harper Collins. The Security was surprisingly lax. I slipped into the Harper Impulse party without a problem. Next minute I was being offered cupcakes and champagne as if I was one of their authors... oh wait. Let me just pinch myself. 

Did you know Harper Collins have their own water bottles? 

"You didn't take one?" My husband asked, disappointed. 

No. I'm classy like that. I didn't take home a traffic bollard either. I regret it now. The water bottle not the bollard. 

Coming from North London I thought Hammersmith was a bit of a mission but then I heard the distance the other authors had travelled. Hereford, Blackpool, Northumberland and San Fransisco were just some of the places they'd come from! 

After a workshop with Sunil Singhvi, Head of Entertainment for Twitter UK, Harper Impulse talked about their vision for the future and then it was off to the pub. It was there that I had an impromptu meeting with the editors about the editorial notes they'd given me on my novel. 

"When do you want it by?" I asked. 
"Four weeks?" 

Now I'm thinking it was the wine talking.

There wasn't enough time to meet everyone which was a shame, but the authors I did meet were the kind of people I wish I could hang out with more often. One by one they departed wheeling their bags off to train stations. Being so close to home, I felt it only right to stay till the very end. 

Photo by author Wendy Jones

Now the party is over and the tricky editing process must begin! 4 weeks to go... 

READY, STEADY... ... cup of tea? 

Sunday 4 May 2014

Forrest, I got the running bug!

I know, I know, sorry guys...
Don't tell my publishers but I don't feel like writing anymore. Nope, I just want to run. I caught the bug and I caught it bad. Forrest Gump, I get you now.

It started in Barcelona where I joined 73,000 people on a 10K fun run. There were people pushing buggies, others carrying their dogs and a man in a t-shirt which read '89 and still running...' The atmosphere was incredible. We got to run around the Olympic stadium and for one glorious moment, we felt like champions. Well, I did anyway...

Back in London, I wanted to do it again. I looked for 10k races but in the end signed up for the Hackney Half Marathon. It's on the 22nd June - want to join me? 

I've always set myself writing challenges, but this is the first physical challenge I've given myself in a long time. I remember a writer saying running helped her writing stamina. Well, we'll see about that!  

Today I ran a slow and steady 7 miles and reached beautiful Regent's Park. The sun was shining, Cuban beats were playing on my ipod and I'd finally worked out how to breathe and run at the same time.  I saw so many unusual birds I felt like I was on safari. Alright, so some of the birds were just pigeons, but there must be somewhere in the world where even they are exotic. London, I love you, I thought. Endorphins eh? Aren't they lovely.  

Once I get my editorial notes on my novel I'm sure I'll get my writing mojo back. Right now, all I want to do is run!