I’ve been nominated by Georgia Rose for the Writing Process Blog Tour – thank you Georgia!
A Single Step’ is Georgia’s first romantic suspense novel, and is the first book in The Grayson Trilogy. It will be joined by ‘Before the Dawn’ this summer and finally by ‘Thicker than Water’. Her website is Georgiarosebooks ‘
So, the blog tour:
I have to answer four questions about what, why and how I write, then link to the blogger that tagged me, and tag two or three more authors in turn.
1. What am I working on now?
I’m trying to get Nine Ten Begin Again ready for beta readers, the fifth in a series of whodunits set in the greater Edinburgh area. (Which is why the pic is of the fabulous Kelpies, which soar next to the M9.) The first four have led the characters up towards this book (in between bodies and murderous villains, of course) but there’s a fairly dramatic change in character interaction and it is really worrying me, to the point where I asked two beta readers for feedback on an early draft, something I have never done before. They approved it enthusiastically (I do love my beta readers very much indeed) so it is full steam ahead. Totally nerve-wracking, as the first four books are slowly picking up fans, some of whom may be resistant to the change. Seven Eight had twelve beta readers and because I am so nervous I am recruiting even more for Nine Ten, if anyone is up for it? Filthy job, but someone has to do it. I always need new readers, because of the series side, but want a couple more regulars this time because of the change in the dynamic.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I write cosy whodunnits—also known as cozy whodunits—which is a fairly strictly controlled genre (not quite as bad as the original Detective Club rules) and if mine differ in any particulars, it is because my sleuths are neither young and trendy, nor ancient. They are semi-retired but not old. Baby boomers, really, and the hardest thing has been getting readers to see them as active and lively and not elderly Miss Marple-and-friends. They are much more in the Rosemary and Thyme, or Murder She Wrote, age-group and I have a lot of fun with them. The books are possibly also a bit funnier than the conventional armchair detective novel, although there are some wonderfully funny ones in the genre. The humour is very understated, my favourite readers are the ones that tell me they find themselves smiling all the way through.
3. Why do I write what I do?
That is such a good question, and I have no answer whatsoever. I started my scribbling life writing historical novels (so much research) and switched to alternating that with SF. I love SF, but am not very good at it from a purist point of view, as I have a very shaky grasp on the technicalities and am frowned on by the true fundi. Detective fiction is an absolute killer, because you have to work out a murder, a murderer, then reverse-engineer the story with clues and red herrings. The first was incredibly difficult and written for private reasons. If reading them is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, writing them is like hand-cutting each piece. Very addictive, though. . . well, I’m addicted.
4. How does my writing process work?
With a murder, or mystery, that creeps into my thoughts and slowly evolves in the background. Eventually it takes shape enough that I can start feeding my characters into it. They have evolved to the point where their input shapes the story further and once I have a beginning, a middle and an end, I start fleshing out, that’s the best point of all, where I will be writing four or five thousand words in a session and the world recedes into a hazy background. Eventually the draft reaches a point where I think it is complete, I put it away for a month and try to catch up on real life. The first major edit after a month is always a letdown, it is never as brilliant as it seemed! Poking, prodding, pruning and adding (with my beta readers in mind) gets it to the point where it can go for their input, which always provokes multiple rewrites. Finally it goes for editing, and I put a release date on the blog and order the cover.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find something of interest in this.
I am tagging two authors I have read and enjoyed, and my third is a bright new talent:
Andy Lake is a serious and highly regarded writer who, in a lighter vein, writes some of the best SF microstories in the business, check out those tabs on his website on http://andylake.co.uk/
Susan Scott writes beautifully, I found her first via her book but she is a great blogger and there will be a wealth of blogs right now as she has just finished the April A-Z challenge on a difficult but nicely-realized subject http://www.gardenofedenblog.com/
Kirsten Arcadio has a very evocative website and with one book out, one due and a third before the end of the year, is a talent to watch http://www.kirstenarcadio.co.uk/kirsten-arcadio/
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It’s great to find out more about you and your books sound fascinating so I shall start at the beginning with them and work my way through – very interested to see what this ‘dramatic change’ is in number 5! I also really enjoy finding out how others go about the writing process and amazed at the number of beta readers you have – maybe I should have more? Thanks for sharing! Georgia
Thanks Georgia! I started with 3 beta readers on first book but each had different and very valid comments, which was quite startling. Between me wanting to know each new book stood alone, and that the murder was solved fairly, and that regular readers were happy, the numbers have, like Topsy, just growed and growed. Of the 12 on the last book, the feedback from 5 caused minor or major rewrites, which is pretty much priceless 🙂
3 of them just fed back on the first chunk (I send stuff out in sections) which in itself is valuable. Want to be a section reader on 9 10?! Or let me know if you ever want a first section read!