First of all a big thank you to my fellow Legend Press author Jane Isaac for inviting me to take part in this ‘tour’. Her second book, The Truth Will Out, will be published in April – looking forward to reading it, Jane!
My Writing Process consists of four questions, four answers. Here’s my version:
What am I working on?
My current work in process is an as yet untitled novel set in Edinburgh and Bedford. It tells the story of a family in the grips of Huntington’s Disease, an inherited and fatal neurological illness. The story is told by Claire in Edinburgh and Nina in Bedford, and one of them is lying…
As well as this we’ve just started the line edit on my second novel The Cold Cold Sea, which will be published by Legend Press this summer.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Every writer has their own ‘voice’. If you read a lot of crime fiction you can tell if an anonymous page of text is Elizabeth George, or Ruth Rendell, or someone you’ve never read before.
What I do is tell the story from right inside the heads of the people who are involved in it. The action itself is very much secondary to the feelings and reactions of the characters, so the reader really gets to know these people and cares about what happens to them. My biggest compliment was when someone told me they had cried while reading The Paradise Trees.
Why do I write what I do?
Because it’s fun! I realized how much I enjoyed writing when I was in the Brownies, and I’ve never really stopped since then. So I’m very grateful to Legend Press for publishing my two completed novels. I find it hard to complete novels, even when they’re ‘finished’ it’s so easy to have another idea for the plot, and it’s fascinating to watch the text change when you put the new part in. Soon now Lauren my editor’s going to say, ‘Okay, that’s it finished.’ And I’ll never be able to change The Cold Cold Sea again. Black day.
How does your writing process work?
First of all the idea for the story line comes, and I work out the characters I need to tell the story. Then I spend a long time getting to know my paper people. I don’t make lists or write down their preferences; I just keep them in my head and find out who they are. Then I break the novel into chapters and write a short paragraph outlining the action in each chapter. Then I start writing.
The problem is, the story changes once the characters are telling it. So maybe after chapter five I’ll reassess, and write new paragraphs for the remaining chapters. I’ll have to do this several times before the story is told. Then it sits for a while in my computer before I start editing.
Sometimes of course I get completely stuck, and then I leave that book and go on with another one. It can take years (of fun!) to finish a novel.
Next week, Bea, Nina and James tell us about their own writing process:
Bea Davenport is the writing name of print and broadcast journalist Barbara Henderson. Her first crime/suspense novel, In Too Deep, was published by Legend Press in 2013 and a second in the same genre, This Little Piggy, will also be published by Legend in October 2014. Her debut children’s novel, The Serpent House, will be published by Curious Fox in June.
Nina Killham, a life-long expat, is the American/British author of three novels, How to Cook a Tart, Mounting Desire, and Believe Me. Her short story, My Wife the Hyena, was included in the Best British Short Stories 2013. She is currently working on her fourth novel which is set in Singapore.
James Higgerson is a writer and public health researcher based in Manchester.
His debut novel The Almost Lizard was published by Legend Press in 2013. He
hopes to be published again someday.