Monthly Archives: December 2012

Changes

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Frederick Douglass

Thanks for the advice Fred. I appreciate it – I really do – I just wish there was a little more progress, a little less struggle. Any advice on how to get that?

—————————-

During most of 2011 I was probably doing very little writing: I was having a very busy period at work as I recall and just got down to writing now and then when I had the chance. Once in a while I was probably sitting down with my dog-earred print out of Hope’s Daughter version 3, jotting in notes and re-reading for errors, but no significant work. It was only in September and October last year that I really got the chance to work on the book, finish it off and get it out there.

How has 2012 been different?

Because I released Hope’s Daughter at the start of the year, I found myself in a whole new world of blogs and readers, Goodreads and reviewers. It’s been a busy time 🙂

This year I’ve not just had to find time to write the next book and plan the others, I’ve been out and about trying to promote the first book; I discovered the wonderful world of book blogs, which have re-awoken the reader in me, and also meant that I’ve read a lot more than I have done in years. (Yep, pretty much watch nil TV these days, unless it’s out of the corner of my eye around a laptop or kindle). For the two blogs I started this year I’ve reviewed quite a lot, written content from an author perspective, as well as reader; run an author event in May and provided regular guest features on writing and books to (hopefully) inspire people a little. I’m also a mod for a group on Goodreads (a hermit one admittedly, who is probably very poor at getting stuff done, but I promise to be better!)

For my own writing, I’ve nearly finished the second book and am halfway through the third; I’ve designed the covers for the rest of the series so that they all work together, and made book trailers to go with most of them. There’s also ideas for two other stand-alone books that have popped into my head, which I definitely want to tackle after Ambrosia is finished.

What might 2013 hold?

I hope a little more writing of my books and a bit less elsewhere if I’m honest. Admittedly, trying to manage a couple of blogs, be good at social media (which I’m not very), keep up on Goodreads, read several books a week AND actually do any productive writing was probably a bit too much…but that’s how I get – I discover new things and want to do everything, see everything and get involved (think puppy and new tennis ball and that’s about right).

I’m hoping that Santa might have some time management skills and perspective in a little gift bag for me this year – I probably don’t need to do everything…and maybe the most important bit is to actually just get writing and let the other bits fall into place…?

Anyone, out there got this figured out better than me? 🙂 Happy holidays!!

1 Comment

Filed under General

Once Upon A Time…

…there was a boy named Balik and a girl named Cassie and they lived on board the Space Station Hope. But where did they come from?

 

People will always look for autobiographical elements to someone’s writing, perhaps in the belief that you can only “write what you know”. I’m sure for every writer there are elements of them in each book they write – it might simply be a single phrase you use or a description of how you feel about something, which you then put in the mouth of one of your characters. But I think writers must appear in their own books somewhere.

I can tell you honestly that I am not Cassie, but we have similarities… I don’t like silence when you’re with people: I’m definitely a nervous waffler; but with people I’m comfortable with and care about, I’ll happily be quiet. We both have sarcastic tendencies and similar taste in guys 🙂 We like the same school subjects and she probably got her mildly argumentative streak from me. But I don’t live on a space station (surprise, surprise), or rock climb in my spare time (I am clumsy to a point that would make Bella Swan appear graceful and coordinated), and my medical expertise is limited to a basic first aid qualification.

Balik is – unfortunately – not someone I’ve met personally. But some of his strongest personality traits are familiar. The “have to know how it works” thing is another little piece of me – not necessarily in the practical sense as my lack of co-ordination inhibits me there J – but I love learning about new things. His strength and protective nature, putting someone else before himself, is something I have seen in loved ones close to me and is perhaps the most desirable quality anyone could possess. Who wouldn’t want the warrior with a heart on their side?

So where did the rest of the story come from?

Before I began Hope’s Daughter I was stuck in a rut with another novel I’d been working on (I probably hadn’t done any real writing in six months or so) and knew that I wanted to start something new, just to get myself going again. I had also been through a bit of a sci-fi phase in my reading (lots of Philip K Dick and HG Wells among others) and so I decided to do a very short piece for myself in this genre, just to see what it was like. At first it was just the Married Quarter, Balik and Cassie – but once I was writing it the story kept growing: I would drive to work listening to music and would see scenes pulling themselves together in my head, like a mini-montage and the outline of a deeper story began to come together.

I’m not a sci-fi specialist by any stretch of the imagination and so when I started building the world Cassie lives in, although I knew what it looked like, I had to refer to other people’s versions of space stations and outer space colonies to understand where technology we have now, might genuinely take us in the not too distant future. Although some of this detail was edited out of Hope’s Daughter, some things remain like the body scanners (which are real today) and waste recycling systems – naturally The Rainbow Maker’s Tale, which is Balik’s story shows much more of these things J You know how he is!

Similarly – and quite scarily – Cassie’s answer to the exam question posed at the beginning of the novel is based entirely on newspaper articles I have read. Often I would grab a copy of the free paper on my way into work and each day there are odd little science snippets alongside the more prominent articles on which celebrity is doing what or bizarre news stories. These tiny, single sentence items usually reference research being done or scientific predictions being made, which if they prove accurate could well affect the whole world…and they are hidden in a small text box alongside a page of celebrity fluff, which says a lot about what people think of as important. I cut out and kept the one that first made me think about this:

 

Metro – August 5, 2009

GLOBAL WARMING WILL SEE ‘BILLIONS AT WAR’

Billions of people will go to war as they are forced to leave areas made uninhabitable by global warming, climate change expert Lord Stern has warned. Much of the world’s population will be put into ‘severe conflict’ unless temperature rises are tackled, he added.

 

Billions of people…Billions… That’s the whole world isn’t it? As post-apocolyptic views of the future go (zombies, global plagues, giant monsters from outer space) for me, this is the one I could actually imagine happening. I could imagine us sleepwalking into a devastating situation like this, brought about mainly through a lack of interest and co-ordination. Today’s science fiction being tomorrow’s science fact…? A terrifying thought.

There is obviously more to the creation of Hope’s Daughter, most of which I can’t share because of the spoilers! But it is surprising, even to me, when I go back to my notes and research from the beginning and see how a single idea became an entire book. It is interesting to see what changed – a lot – and what remains from the original concept.

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing - Ambrosia Sequence

Sliding Doors…

It’s interesting how life works sometimes and how random conversations or observations become bigger things…

Last week I was microwaving my lunch at work (as you do) and a woman from another office came into the kitchen. She had one of those fancy Kindle covers with a light, which I’d been wondering about buying and so we began chatting about that. Unsurprisingly, I asked “what are you reading?” and she began telling me about how she was writing a book (post-apocolypse, sci-fi-ish) and doing some mood reading for that by tackling Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’.

I’d only popped in to grab a quick five-minute lunch before heading back to the desk, but have now found myself with a real life writing buddy, which is really great as most of my writing friends are available only via email or Goodreads!

We chatted about our writing and general book stuff, and afterwards it got me thinking about the other little random moments that happen to you or that you read, which then end up in your writing…

In Hope’s Daughter and The Rainbow Maker’s Tale, Park 42 is the place they go to escape from life – to talk about things they don’t understand and try and find answers…Anyone who’s read ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ will know that ’42’ is the answer to life, the universe and everything. Likewise, Park 17, very randomly is the name of a local industrial estate. When we were at high school, we’d sit on the grassland inside Park 17 (now more industrial units) and do the usual stuff that teenagers do: talk about rubbish with your friends; lie and watch the sun in the sky, because it’s the holidays and you’ve got forever to do nothing; and generally avoid doing anything productive.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under General