Having been woefully remiss about keeping my blog active in recent months, I was tagged last week by the lovely and talented Claire Dyer to take part in this Blog Hop. See her own Blog Hop here: http://www.clairedyer.com/?page_id=12. So thank you, Claire, for nudging me back into blogging mode.
You see, it’s far too easy to sink into a familiar writing rut that fits comfortably into the jigsaw of one’s life.
That’s why it strikes me as a particularly Good Thing to get poked and prodded out of my Comfort Zone every now and again, to be asked Blog Hop questions that make me re-evaluate what I do and why I do this crazy business of WRITING. So bring it on!
Four set questions. Let’s start with the easy one.
What am I working on?
I am deep into my next book – it’s set in Italy 1932 when Mussolini was in power and Fascism gripped the country with an iron fist. My heroine is an architect who is ambitious to leave her mark on one of the new show-towns that Il Duce is building just south of Rome – but corruption and intrigue spin a web around her. She finds love but at a cost ….. And I’m loving it.
So I am spending my days chatting in my head with Isabella and Roberto and Dottore Cantini and Capitano Sepe and Rosa – and what happens is …. No! Stop there!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
To be honest, I don’t think there are that many other authors writing in my area of the historical genre. I create a sweeping mix of love and adventure, of betrayal and violence, and combine them with a strong injection of history and early 20th century politics. But where mine differ from most is in the settings I choose for my stories – like the icy tundra of Russia, the ancient cities of China, a family rubber plantation in Malaya or the scarcely mentioned role of the shimmering blue skies of the Bahamas in the fight for victory during World War II. But when I write, I don’t think – how can I be different? I find an idea or a place or a character that excites me and I hope that I can make it exciting for my readers too.
Why do I write what I write?
Because I am fascinated by it. I was inspired to write my first novel – THE RUSSIAN CONCUBINE – by the extraordinary story of my grandmother’s perilous escape from Russia during the Revolution when she fled to China.
That was when I realised that I adore digging around in tumultuous corners of history and finding out how the events impact on the personal lives of my characters. It is a journey of constant discovery. Stick me in a room full of dusty research books and I am as happy as a hippo in mud.
I love to put strong gutsy characters into a richly colourful setting and test them to the utmost, watching the layers peel away and exploring what lies at the core beneath. And then – of course – let’s not forget that there’s all the research travel to faraway places that I have to do for my readers …..
How does your writing process work?
I wish I had a process. Writing each book feels completely different and each time it evolves its own rules and routines. But I always start with the research and make hundreds of pages of notes, 95% of which I never use, but I need them in my head to make myself totally confident in the new world I am about to create. I start slowly, easing myself in, and gather momentum as I go. I make a skeleton plan but it is only a very loose collection of bones and I get excited about not yet knowing what is going to happen to surprise me and my readers along the way – though I always have a definite ending in sight. I try to write every day, even if it’s just a few words – partly because I have a Dreaded Deadline to meet, but also because I fall in love with my characters and want to hang out with them as much as possible. This writing business is a weird process!
So that’s it from me. But next week you’re in for a real treat. I will be handing the verbal Blog Hop batton to three lovely writers:
SHEHANNE MOORE writes gritty, witty, historical romance, set wherever takes her fancy. What hasn’t she worked at while pursuing her dream of becoming a published author? Shehanne still lives in Scotland, with her husband Mr Shey. She has two daughters. When not writing smexy historical romance, where goals and desires of sassy, unconventional heroines and ruthless men, mean worlds collide, she plays the odd musical instrument and loves what in any other country, would not be defined, as hill-walking
LINDA MITCHELMORE was born in Devon where she still lives. When a virus robbed her of her hearing she turned to writing as a means of communication and has had over 300 short stories published worldwide. In 2012 Choc Lit published her first historical novel, TO TURN FULL CIRCLE, followed by its sequel, EMMA: There’s No Turning Back. She has just finished the third in this trilogy. She has had two novellas published as ebooks – HOPE FOR HANNAH and GRAND DESIGNS. When not writing, Linda enjoys walking and cycling.
MICHELLE J HEATLEY ‘s debut novel FISH SOUP is to be published this summer by Sunpenny Publishing. She has had stories published in the Stratford Literary Festival anthology and in magazines in the UK and Australia. In addition a number of her stories have been broadcast on SoundArt Radio. Michelle lives in Brixham and gets inspiration from the beautiful South Devon coast.
You can reach Michelle at:
Michelle Jayne Heatley@facebook.com