Monday, 25 June 2012

Time for reflection

Many thanks to great blogger, novelist and short story writer, Rosemary Gemmell (, for this Be Inspired award! Rosemary has given me an opportunity to reflect on my most recent novel as I await the publication of the third one ('Last Dance at the Rothesay Pavilion') in the Bute series. So here goes with Rosemary's questions!

What gave you the idea for your book, 'Last Ferry to Bute'?

My first Bute novel 'The House at Ettrick Bay' was very successful and I wanted to write a follow up.On one of my many trips to the Isle of Bute the thought came to me - what would happen if someone died on the ferry? And suppose it was a murder? It took off from there.

How long did it take to write overall?

About a year in total. I write quickly, then spend a lot of time on edits.Sometimes I wish I could write more slowly and then the editing process would be less painful. I've tried that,but it doesn't work for me!

What kept you going when you were half way through?

A lot of people had been asking when the next book was coming out and the knowledge there would be an audience for the new book helped keep me on track.

Are any of your characters based on real people, even though you have to say they aren’t?

That's a very difficult question. As a writer I suppose I subsume certain traits within my characters,but no, none of the characters is based on a real person.
At least I hope not! I wouldn't like to think I was quite as nosey as my main character, Alison Cameron.

Would you write in a different genre next time, or do you always stick with what you know?

I have other novels written, two of which are much more in the genre of general fiction. I hope to spend some time on them soon,but there's another Bute novel rumbling round in my head at the moment and I'm trying to postpone starting it.

Do you prefer writing a novel, or short stories?

I much prefer novels -I enjoy the opportunity to develop a plot and to get to know the characters well although I do write short stories and have had a number published.

Do you use everyday happenings in your writing?

The basic premise of the Bute novels is that Alison Cameron, the main character, is a very ordinary person who becomes involved in extraordinary events.

And the future?

As long as people want to read the Bute novels, I'll keep writing them! But I would like to see how I might fare in a different genre.

Thank you for the chance to reflect a little on my writing,Rosemary!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Death by a Thousand Cuts

The WIP has a glaring problem and it looks as if I'll have no option but to get rid of several thousand words.What should I do with them? Delete them? Or copy them to a new folder in the hope that one day they may prove useful?
What's worse, I'll have to dispatch a character I'd grown rather fond of, but as she's making absolutely no contribution to the action, she has to go. She's a sparky person and there's always the chance she'll fight back by cropping up somewhere else, so no doubt I should be ruthless.
Do others find this difficult to do - edit out chunks that at the time of writing the first draft you considered well written and pertinent?
Ah well, enough procrastination,here goes........

Thursday, 7 June 2012

What's in a cover?

Shakespeare's Juliet might have wondered 'What's in a name?' but for many writers one of the current preoccupations is the book cover.
It used to be so simple,but with the rise of indie publishing it's one more decision for the writer to agonise over. And that's before you even consider what the cover of your book might look like on Kindle as it struggles against the thousands of others in the same category. Do you use a photo? (I don't have that level of skill). Or have someone design it for you? (I certainly couldn't do it myself).
Where should the title go? And what about the font size for the author's name? Large size looks too boastful,too small and no one notices you.
Even authors with 'traditional' publishers are not immune. Some authors wait with bated breath to see what their publisher has decided on, worrying in case the book cover won't quite convey the content of the book accurately.
For 'Last Dance at the Rothesay Pavilion' I was lucky to have Mandy Sinclair who has designed several covers for Erskine Writers.( I wanted something with a strong Art Deco flavour and was so pleased with the result.

Perhaps the answer is to find someone you have confidence in.