Friday, 23 May 2014

Get Comfy and Settle Down to Read Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell

It's Guernsey,1995, and when Betty's step-grandmother, Arlette, dies, she is set the challenge of finding Clara Pickles, the mystery person mentioned in her will, despite the fact that Clara will inherit £10,000 instead of her.
In Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell, Betty sets off to Soho, London, to track her down with the £1,000 Arlette has left her and Arlette's fur coat.
Arlette, too, sets off for London in 1920. She gets involved with Gideon Worsley, an artist who wants to paint her in a suggestive pose with Sandy Beach, a member of the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, whereas Betty gets involved with rock star, Dom Jones, and market stall holder, John Brightly.
It sounds complicated, and it is, but Lisa Jewell skillfully leads you through the tangle of the two plots and the deep emotions that Arlette and Betty experience to a satisfying conclusion.
This is a great book to settle down with in a comfy chair, and a few tissues!
Have you read any of Lisa Jewell's books?

Monday, 5 May 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour


Today, I'm joining in the 'My Writing Process' Blog Tour. I was invited by Christina Hollis, a best-selling Harlequin author. Her latest novel is Jewel Under Siege, a romance set in the time of the First Crusade, and you can find her blog here.
This blog tour is a great way of learning about how other writers, experienced or just starting out, create their novels and in doing so, pick up some useful tips.

What am I working on?

I’m working on two novels at the moment. One is a time slip set in the present and the First World War and the other is set solely in the present as a relief from all the historical research!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Everyone brings their own experiences and knowledge to their writing. In the First World War novel, I’ve drawn upon family stories passed down to me, as a child, from my grandmother, and from research I was able to do about my father who was shot in October 1918 near Arras, France. (Obviously, he survived, or I wouldn’t be here!)

In the novel set in the present, I’ve drawn upon my own experiences of helping to make wedding cakes which add originality to the scenes.

Why do I write what I do?

I’ve chosen these things to write about because they interest me. I can’t imagine choosing a story, set in a university astrophysics department, involving the discovery of the beginning of the universe, and being attacked by aliens, although someone else may like to try it!

How does my writing process work?

Ideally, I would like several whole days free to concentrate on my writing, but life gets in the way, and I have to write when I can.

Firstly, I try to plan my novel and I am getting better at this. I find Julie Cohen’s three-act story plan, which she told us about at the RNA conference in Penrith, very useful.

Secondly, I do my research. Although it's very easy to do it online or from books, I think it's very important to visit the places I’m writing about and talk to people.

Thirdly, I make notes and then write with a hard 2H pencil (because it doesn't need sharpening so often!) in an A4 wide ruled notebook. I only write on the right hand page so I can add notes on the left. Bringing in Julie Cohen again, I read once that she was told that if you had to extend a chapter, instead of introducing more people or events, go deeper with what you’ve got. So therefore, on the left hand page, I might extend a scene by exploring exactly what someone did or what they had referred to. I also make notes there for further research or new ideas.

Then, I type it up, editing as I go, but that isn't the end, because, I'll print it out and read it out loud and edit it again until I'm happy with it.
I think that the main thing, though, is to keep writing!

Next week, I'll be passing the baton on to three RNA NWS members:
Clare Chase, newly signed up Choc Lit author, with Anna in the Works, 'a mystery romance with funny bits'!
Vanessa Woolley who has a regular column about her chaotic family life in the Maidenhead Advertiser, who is enjoying writing a romantic suspense,
and Evie Mclaughlin who took part in the NANOWRIMO (write 50,000 words in a month challenge) last November.

You can follow #mywritingprocess on Twitter