Last week Sally Jenkins invited me to join a writerly little blog chain. Sally is a writer who specialises in shorter length fiction and the odd article. Two of her story collections have been published on Kindle and she is currently kicking her 2013 NaNoWriMo script into shape. She’s also a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association Birmingham Chapter (yes, we call our local groups ‘chapters’ – do you see what we did there?) and is thoroughly charming, so who was I to say no?
There are four writery questions I’m supposed to answer, and I shall do so forthwith:
1. What am I working on?
At the moment I’m working on my second full length novel, which will, with luck and a bit more writing the book and a bit less skiving off to write blogposts, be published by Choc Lit sometime in early-mid 2015. Following on from Much Ado About Sweet Nothing (which, just for your information and not implying you should all go and buy it immediately at all, is in the January kindle 100 deal and is, therefore, 99 tiny pennies at the moment) I wanted to write another Shakespeare adaptation. I love writing adaptations – I like the slightly analytical/puzzley element of working out how to take a story apart and rebuild it again in a different form. This time I’m having a go at A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s an amazing play – all the action takes place within 24 hours, and there are feuding fairies, and star-crossed lovers, and a guy who gets turned into a donkey. All of which makes it a prime candidate to be reset in a low-grade, early twenty-first century, midlands university. I hope.
And then after that I’ll be straight into writing the sequel to Holly’s Christmas Kiss, which should be ready to come out as an e-novella this Christmas.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well there’s the Shakespeare thing for starters. But what I try to do more than anything else is write about love, rather than romance. Weirdly, perhaps, for a romance writer, I don’t really trust romance. Sweet words, and big gestures are easy. Love though, can be really hard. Real people are annoying and react unpredictably and do stupid stuff and hurt people they care about and then quite often make it worse while they’re trying to fix it. I’m much much more interested in all of that than I am in eyes meeting across crowded rooms. Having said that, my Christmas stories do tend to be a bit more traditionally romantic – well, you know it’s Christmas!
3. Why do I write what I do?
I write stuff that I would want to read. So far I’ve mainly been writing romantic comedy, but I wouldn’t rule out a switch of genre in the future. I love to read chick lit, sci-fi, more literary stuff, occasional historicals and I’m even starting to get into odd bits and bobs of crime, and I think lots of readers are the same. So never say never to writing something completely different – I have a back-burner project which is a more literary timeslip story that I definitely intend to get back to one day. At the moment though I’m signed with a romance and women’s fiction publisher (the utterly fab Choc Lit) and I’m really happy writing in that genre for the forseeable future at least.
4. How does my writing process work?
Procrastinate a lot. Write a little. Procrastinate a lot more. Write a tiny bit. Realise I need to get whatever I’m working on finished by about two weeks ago at the latest. Panic. Write a lot. Panic a bit more. Cry. Reread what I’ve written. Have huge crisis of confidence which I’m convinced is a completely different to all the crises I’ve had previously. Reread again. Edit. Submit to publisher with long apologetic email about how crap the manuscript is. Click refresh on email obsessively until publisher replies saying she’s sure it’ll be fine. Promise self I’ll definitely make a start on the next book while I’m waiting for the edits and revisions to come through. Procrastinate some more. Get revisions from editor. Deal with those straight away (I’m one of those freaky writers who prefers editing to writing – weird I know). Deal with copy edits and proof reading queries, again with only mild procrastination at this point. Realise that there is now absolutely no excuse not to start on next book. Procrastinate a bit more. Repeat process from beginning.
I’m not saying it’s efficient, but that is a pretty accurate description of my ‘artistic process.’ Oh dear.
So that’s me as a writer in 4 easy questions. And as this is a blog chain I’m supposed to have identified 3 more writers to carry it on. Er… oopsy?
So all that remains is to remind you again (with huge apologies for the promoyness) that Much Ado About Sweet Nothing is just 99p during January (or $1.63 for Americans). Trust me – it is really rather jolly, and has a slime mould and a big white wedding. Something for everyone there, I’d say.