5 Questions for Authors

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Ever notice when you read an interview from an author, they always ask the same questions: how did you get into writing? What inspires you? What inspired you to write this book? It gets samey after a bit.  So I had a trawl of the internet for different questions and came up with these 5 as my favourites of the moment.

  1. What is your favourite book from childhood?
  2. What is the first book that made you cry?
  3. Have you ever read an author whose books you didn’t like, and how has this impacted on your writing?
  4. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
  5. What did you edit out of this book?”

Here are my answers:

whangdoodles

My favourite book from childhood was bought for me by my mum and dad. Written by Julie Edwards – or so it said on the front cover – it was the tale of three siblings: Ben, Tom and Melinda Potter, who through their association with Professor Savant travel to meet the last of the Whangdoodles; a mythological creature capable of growing his own slippers. As a kid, I was enchanted. As an adult I need to find it  at my parents and read it again.

The first book that made me cry was Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa  Pearce. It’s towards the end when Hetty gets older, falls in love with Barty and ceases to see Tom.

As for the author whose books I didn’t like – I have a confession to make. It’s Tolkein. It’s probably not his fault. It’s probably the fault of my English teacher in first year senior (year 7) for making us read The Hobbit. Whatever possessed them? It’s a book you should curl up with not be forced to read in school. It scarred me for life. How has impacted on my writing? I get to the action as quickly as possible. Also, I don’t write books worthy of literary study. In my mind, it’s the kiss of death.

toms-midnight

My books do have connections, yes. The historical research binds the three books, obviously, but I have cameos. Melville from book 1 of Aldwych Strand – pops up in Cowardice, as does Mark (in passing) and of course Lucy gives a little girl some words of advice in Whitechapel, which shapes how she deals with the pawnbroker…

As for what did I edit out of Cowardice of Crows? There was a newspaper article about Symington at the Savoy Hotel.  I wanted it to show him as the centre of the media, and provide a link to the previous books. The editor really didn’t like it. She was right. It was awful. It went.

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SALAD March 2017

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Verdict!

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originally posted on More than a Cat

More than a Cat

Last night I was at the theatre. I came home to a message. “The first Amazon review is in,” it said.

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came to this book having been mightily impressed with Sarah Smith’s time traveller trilogy for young adults ‘The Secret of Aldwych Strand’. If you haven’t read these three books, then do, as they are excellent. In this adult murder mystery, Ms Smith makes full use of her meticulous research to paint a wonderfully detailed picture of Britain at the very beginning of the 20th Century. The main characters are all well drawn and Symington Byrd makes a convincing ‘gentleman detective’. The murder seems relatively straightforward at the start, but we are soon drawn into a complex web of intrigue both political and personal. The clash of cultures between the criminal class and…

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6word story January 2017

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He forgot to close the door.

How does it know?

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My computer that is. How does it know that I’m on holiday and desperate to write?

Because it’s done it again. Refused me access to the cloud. Done the whirly thing. Overloaded the T’Internet! Spun itself inexorably towards blue screen of death.

I was trying to go pro on Cold Turkey. For those of you writers out who gave no tried it, it provides distraction free writing. You can block websites for a period of time; leaving the temptation there but no way to get to it. I find it brilliant. 

Or at least I would if I could upgrade.

Determined to thwart its plans I changed tack; went to the cloud. Tried to download book 2

More spinning.

Time to implement plan B!

I’ve plugged a cable in. It’s  no better. Still blue spinning thing. Still no cloud.  This computer is determined to thwart me at every turn.

Sod this! Plan Z! 

Does anyone know where I’ll find a typewriter and twenty million pieces of carbon paper?

My Cunning Plan.

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This year I haven’t read as many books as I would  like. My excuse? Not enough time. 

When I read as a child I devoured books. 1, 2, 3 a week.Agatha Christie, slushy romance, Doctor Who novelisation.  Didn’t matter. All that stopped me reading was an absence of pocket money. I was a bookworm. Out and Proud.

Now?  it takes forever. 

A twitterer asked me what  was I reading? The answer came easily enough: Europe in Winter. It’s brilliant. 

They then asked what’s next?  The honest answer? Buggered if I know. The book came out in November. I’m on page 99.

So, what has caused this malady? Because it’s not the book’s fault. It’s bloody brilliant!! 

My commute to work has got longer. What took  an hour and 10, now regularly takes an hour and a half. Whist the return journey.is up from an hour and 20 to … 2hours!!

Sheer volume of traffic is to blame. But it is leaving me too knackered to read. Unlike those halcyon days of childhood, when I could read a book all night; now I either drop off or I’m a zombie.the next day. It’s  hell! I feel a traitor to myself and to my fellow bookworms. I fear being black balled from the Worshipful Company of Bookworms.

Things needed to change. FAST!

Last night I had an email from Amazon. I had 8 audible credits. Salvation.

Within ten minutes I had selected.4 Lindsey Davis Falcos and 4 Sansom Shardlakes. The Falcos are old favourites. 2 of the Shardlakes are new.

It might not be reading in a traditional sense but that’s a book every couple of days. Surely that has to be better than the current famine?

I have another credit in January. I’m taking suggestions. 

8 more ups and counting the humbugs

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e0982deb9aeb0fb579ff124e708142adWe have 8 more ups to go, until school’s out for Christmas.  I  hate this week. 8 days of increasingly excited kids, increasingly ratty colleagues – and long dark nights and mornings of commute, as the year edges its way to the shortest day.

When we reach Monday of next week, no doubt extolled  by ALT (the head and  his team to you non teachers out there) – whose idea of teaching is 18 hours over the fortnight; not 37 – to keep grinding on to the bitter end; the excitement can bite me, and I can get caught up in the woohooness of it all. Until then Scrooge shall be my name – and  bah humbug be my greeting of choice.