Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Author's Corner Post

This week, I'm over at Choc Lit's 'Author's Corner' talking about wedding preparations. Do feel free to share your wedding day triumphs and disasters with me there!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Voyages of Discovery

The process of editing, having a second or, if you’re really lucky, a third pair of eyes scrutinising your work is a valuable experience. It picks up any extra hands; she’s already holding his hand. Do you mean his other hand? Those repetitions; could you look at the number of ‘gazes’ ? And any pesky time anomalies; Two weeks? I thought this was supposed to be the next morning? It’s also a useful reminder that you can never know enough about your characters; what they do, where they live, and, most importantly, what they want (or think they want!) – you don’t have to regurgitate all of that information, but you need those details very firmly fixed in your mind.

As Move Over Darling comes closer to publication, I’ve put the splurge that’s currently Book Three to one side to do some research. I know that two strangers are about to find themselves offshore in a small boat and I know that Little Spitmarsh, my sleepy seaside town from Turning the Tide will reappear somewhere along the way. The broad-brush strokes are there, but it’s time to fill in the details.

Following up a line of research, I took one book off my shelf that can never be replaced by an ecopy. One Summer's Grace is Libby Purves’s absorbing and frequently moving account of sailing round Britain with her husband and their two very small children. Our copy lived on Veryan, our old wooden boat, for many years. It’s survived a couple of soakings and being flung about in rough seas with only the loss of its cover.

Picking it up again, I was transported back to the past. Lily and Rose were older than the Purves children when they started sailing, but some of the challenges they faced were just as daunting. With that book in my hand, I thought about the dreadful passage back from Cherbourg, where Lily was Tom’s only crew left standing, our dinghy sinking under us at Alderney, running aground in the Beaulieu river and the time the two girls lay in their bunks laughing and pretending to be asleep whilst Tom and I had a heated discussion about the best place to berth. Those moments have been woven into the fabric of our family. They’re times we look back on and laugh about. I suspect with Lily about to get married we’ll be doing a bit of reminiscing about the past as well as looking towards the future. 

When we were very young; Rose at the tiller, Lily scanning the ocean!

And so, after several rounds of edits which have been such a useful prompt about attention to detail, I know that my new characters have their own stories and memories. Now it’s up to me to discover them.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Keeping It Real

Pesky pigeons!
‘Why is everybody else in blogland having such a fantastic life…?'   This question from wise blogger, Friko - someone who’s not afraid to tell it like it is - set me thinking. I suppose, I’m guilty as charged for writing about and wanting to share the happy times; the photo shoots and parties, the preparations for my daughter’s wedding. And, hurray, the release of the first book my daughter, Rose, has overseen at work from start to finish in her role as Research and Development Controller.

I try to make the most of every day, because, as I’ve mentioned here before, I’m keenly aware that time runs out. On my way to publication, I was grateful for the support of the internet group, the Novel Racers. If you take a look at the blog, you’ll see quite a number of us achieved our aim of publication. But our lovely Lisa, Hesitant Scribe, didn’t live to celebrate those successes. Yet even at the very end, Lisa’s blog was funny, uplifting and an inspiration to all us to keep writing, to make the most of every second.

So, in the spirit of keeping it real, my life recently has been mostly about putting in some very long writing days at my desk against a backdrop of constant rain. Not exactly riveting blog material! I also made some summer marmalade with some cheap oranges, but made the mistake of turning my back on it whereupon it promptly decided to burn and I had to start again, doubling the price of my cheap marmalade. Our spuds are rotting in the ground with the constant deluge, the beans are shivering on their sticks in the cold wind and the pigeons have discovered our courgettes. I still can’t do any high impact sport because of on-going eye problem (on the other hand, discovering the utter joy of hula-hooping has been a revelation). Oh and last night, I had a damn good cry when it suddenly struck me that my dad wouldn’t be there to see his first granddaughter marry.

All part, as my dad would say, of life’s rich tapestry. We’re not here for a long time, so let’s make the most of the happy times!