Monday, 10 December 2012
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
The idea of The Next Big Thing is that a writer puts up a post on his or her own blog answering ten questions about his/her work in progress, and then “tags” three other writers to do the same. The writer then posts a link to his/her “tagger” and to the people he/she is “tagging” so that readers who are interested can visit those pages and perhaps discover some new authors whose work they’d like to read.
John Hudspith, a writer in possession of a wild and unique imagination, tagged me in his Next Big Thing. John is currently working on Kimi's Fear, the follow up to his outstanding debut, Kimi's Secret, a fantastic and fantastical book for readers aged 9 to 90. Thanks, Johnny.
Here are my answers re my Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
I first called it Poetic Justice but now it's called The Spiritual Hunt. This will no doubt change to something snappier when it's finished.
Where did the idea for the bookcome from?
|Mock up of cover when working |
title was Poetic Justice
I was also struck by a brief meeting many years ago, with a young man in Berlin. He claimed to be under the spell of an older man who kept him in control by tapping him on the forehead and singing jingles. I never discovered any more about this young man but have always remembered his wild eyes and air of terrified vulnerability. His image and situation seeped into my consciousness and he partly inspired one of the characters in this book.
What is the genre of your book?
This is always a difficult one for me. It is, I think, general fiction with a good handful of literary fiction thrown in - I hope.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Another hard one! I tend not to imagine my characters in such precise detail. I like to leave the reader room to develop their own ideas as to what the character looks like. Of course, I do give descriptions - Andrea is blonde, Albert is dark with a little tuft of beard, and the boy has messy chestnut curls. But as to who would play them, I just have no idea.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A missing Rimbaud manuscript has been rediscovered - or has it?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm not sure about this yet. Some of my other novels are self-published but I might send this one out to agents to see what reaction I get. If there's no interest from the traditional publishing world then I would self publish digitally certainly, and possibly also in print form.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Ha! I'm still writing it and it's been several years so far. I do take a long time to write a book - I wish I could speed up but I seem to have to let the work mature before I know exactly where it's going. I revise as I go along so really I'm on the umpteenth draft but it just isn't finished yet. I'm hoping the whole thing will be all done by Christmas (preferably this Christmas!).
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
People who've read what I've written so far have mentioned The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas and The Conjurer's Bird by Martin Davies, as being in the same general category. I'm not sure that it's exactly like any of those books but perhaps has elements of all of them.
As it's written using various different voices and devices such as letters, diaries and blogs, in addition to the main narrative, it's not a straightforward book in terms of format and chronology.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As I said above, Arthur Rimbaud - French poet extraordinaire - is the progenitor of this book. I've been mildly obsessed by him for three decades, if mild obsession is possible, and I've always been fascinated by the idea that there may be a lost work by him still out there somewhere. I also wanted to stretch myself by writing in different styles using different voices, so this novel has been (and still is) a challenge to write.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The main narrative is about the protagonist Andrea's obsession with Rimbaud and the lost manuscript. The novel charts her involvement with a man who claims to be a Magician - with a capital M! - and the teenage boy who is his acolyte. As she falls deeper under their spell, Andrea begins to lose her grasp on what is real and what is not.
In addition to this strand, there are also strands woven through which tell the story of Rimbaud and Verlaine and also chart the whereabouts of the manuscript from 1872, when it was last seen, to the 150th anniversary of Rimbaud's birth (2004), when the book is set.
The writers I am tagging are:
Jimmy Bain, who writes The Bumble Books
and (as I've been unable to find anyone else to tag because all the writers I know have either already taken part or are too busy (very sensibly) engaged in writing their next book)
Barbie Scott, who writes erotica.
If anyone reading this would like to take part, do get in touch and I will add you to this very select list of taggees!
Saturday, 20 October 2012
I first became interested in Rimbaud in 1973 when I was a student at University College London. One day I wandered across the grand foyer where Jeremy Bentham sits and stopped to look at a display of letters and photographs. There I learned for the first time about the relationship of Rimbaud and Verlaine and, in particular, their time in London living in Great College Street, Camden in 1873.
Even though I'd never read a word of his poetry, something about Rimbaud hooked me and I've been fascinated by him ever since.
My current work in progress DELIRIUM: THE RIMBAUD DELUSION (now complete) is about a woman obsessed with Rimbaud (well, they say write what you know!). Andrea becomes embroiled with a Magician and his young acolyte while visiting Charleville for the 150th anniversary of the poet's birth. This odd pair claim to have rediscovered Rimbaud's lost manuscript, La Chasse Spirituelle.
The novel uses a variety of voices and devices to explore Andrea's gradual breakdown and tell the story of the whereabouts of the missing manuscript from 1872, when it was last seen, to 2004 when the novel is set.
Here is an extract from the early part of the novel:
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
Saturday, 6 October 2012
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
CRUISIN' WITH ALLISON
Allison Bruning is hosting a tour through the locations of various indie books.
Read about Tea Tree Falls, the location of THE LAND BEYOND GOODBYE.
Make a comment on Allison's blog today and get a free copy.
Saturday, 11 August 2012
Monday, 6 August 2012
The word “angel” is believed to be derived from the Greek word αγγελος (angelos) which means messenger, but it is generally thought of as a description of the whole range of spirits created.
Whilst writing the first novel in my historical fiction series, Spirit of Lost Angels, I wanted to create some sort of connection across the generations – a good (or bad) luck charm; a talisman that would link the women of L’Auberge des Anges through time. I was looking for something by which the heroine could recall her ancestors.
My research led me to London’s Foundling Museum and the collection of trinkets and talismans that mothers often left with their foundlings – an object by which the grown-up child could identify her.
An angel pendant came to mind – a bone carving that might encompass the spirit of all those who had worn it before the heroine. It would act as a “messenger” of the strength and courage of her predecessors.
Throughout the first and second books of L’Auberge des Anges series, the reader (and I) learned that a woodcarver had carved this angel pendant for his wife many centuries ago. Nobody knew exactly when, or from what type of bone it was sculpted. Perhaps it was made from seal, ox or walrus tusk, or maybe even mammoth?
I am about to embark on the third novel in the series, which will explore the origins of this angel pendant, and how it was regarded as both a good luck charm and a curse, during the 14th century plague years.
Once I started writing about the pendant, other angel themes emerged in various forms. Firstly, the name of the family farm. In the poverty-stricken pre-French revolution years, the farmer and his wife turn their farm into an inn – L’Auberge des Anges (the Inn of Angels), naming it after their loved ones taken by famine, illness or accident.
Angels are evoked in professions. Many of the women of L’Auberge des Anges feature as the village midwife and healer-woman (la guérisseuse). But she is also an angel-maker, using her special herbs and teas to induce abortions.
Angels are reflected in the beliefs and superstitions of the 18th century villagers, who held witches responsible for bringing the storms that destroyed their crops and homes. The people attended Mass diligently, relying on their priest to ring the church bell long and hard to call on the angels to take the storm away.
When the Laki volcano erupted in Iceland in 1783 the villagers, and people right across the land, believed – amongst other theories – this occurred because they had enraged the angels.
Finally, in Spirit of Lost Angels, we encounter La Faucheuse – the angel of death.
References to angels arose, once again, in the second, as yet unpublished, book in the series – Wolfsangel. Firstly, in the insignia of Das Reich’s SS – a sideways Z with a vertical line through the middle. The wolf’s hook, or Wolfsangel. Another important angel also features in the story – the Good Friday angel.
When I began writing the series, I did not set out with the theme of angels in mind. They just seemed to fly in from all angles, and hover over me. It was as if they hankered to play roles in these stories, and I merely let them flutter across the pages as they wished.
For more information about Spirit of Lost Angels, or to read an excerpt please refer to Liza’s Website, Blog or Triskele Books.
Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years. She has been living in France for the past twenty years, where she works part-time as a French-English medical translator.
Since completing a creative writing course ten years ago, several of her short stories have won awards and been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine and France Today.
She has completed four novels and one short-story collection, and is represented by Judith Murdoch of the Judith Murdoch Literary Agency. Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in a historical series set against a backdrop of rural France, and was published under the Triskele Books label in June, 2012.
Thursday, 2 August 2012
Friday, 27 July 2012
Get Friends, Family and Other Strangers From Downunder Free Now!
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Why the Charter?
Why Break Rules?
The journey to get my novel, The Charter, into print has been a long and rocky road. It wasn’t until I felt confidence enough to approach agents, that I realised I’d committed quite a few cardinal sins by writing the story I wanted to write about a shipwreck off the coast of Anglesey that has long fascinated me.
Apparently in publishing there are rules. Lots of rules. And one of the most fundamental rules in ensuring success or failure of your novel is ‘though shalt not cross genres.’
I didn’t know this when I wrote The Charter. I simply wrote a story I’d had in my head for twenty years, crossing modern day crime fiction, with a hint of paranormal and a dollop of historical backdrop.
It’s all to do with marketing so I’m told. The fact that readers like order. If they like crime, they want to read crime. If they like historical fiction, they only read that. Personally, I think that’s a load of tosh. I love books that have that element of surprise, that leave you confused (in a good way) and breathless as the story unravels. I think of Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger, as a good example. Those who have read it will surely agree with me that they came to the end not entirely sure what they’d just read – but adoring it all the same.
Now, I’m no Sarah Waters of course, but that must surely point to their being a market of cross genre books, or books that don’t quite fit the mould. You’d think? But no. Traditional publishing shook its head and crossed its arms in a most definite negative. Although the story, or perhaps my writing, got interest from two agents, and went through numerous rewrites – removing ghosts, add ghosts, removing ghosts – it became clear when my current agent gave the thumbs down that my book had come to the end of it’s journey down the traditional publishing highway.
Why did I bother?
I’ve had close connections with the island of Anglesey, off the North Wales coast, all my life. It’s a place that fascinates and never fails to thrill me. You can’t take a drive on Anglesey without passing Neolithic burial chambers along the side of the road, and the Druids even based themselves there, creating a centre of excellence on the island.
For as many years as I can remember driving along the A5025 – the coast road that traverses the eastern side of the island – I can recall hearing about the story of the victims of the Royal Charter every time I passed Llanallgo Church – the cemetery where the majority of the victims are buried. The churchyard features heavily in the book.
I can also remember news reports and articles over the years when excited divers allegedly found Australian gold off Point Lynas where the ship hit rocks. And I even had a vivid memory as a child, of metal detecting with a family friend who lived on the island, somewhere on Red Wharf Bay who convinced me the shiny pennies I kept digging up were treasure off the Royal Charter – it was only years later I discovered he’d been the source of the hoard.
I think when a person, topic or legend has fascinated you all your life, any story as a writer you can create around its existence will always mean a lot to you. So, if I could bring the legend of the shipwreck to a greater audience and also write about a part of the country I loved, then it was a no-brainer for me. And if it meant breaking a multitude of publishing rules and regulations along the way – then it was just too bad!
Sarah Morton hopes discovering the truth about the 1859 wreck of the Royal Charter will silence the demons of her past. But, tormented by visions and threats on her life, Sarah fears the ship may claim her as its final victim.
A company director, she has been writing as a hobby all her life, but after a creative writing course a decade ago, decided to take her writing to another level and sought representation. She has completed six full length novels, split between straight crime and her mix of paranormal thrillers. Gillian is also a regular columnist for
literary magazine, Words with Jam, and in that role has been lucky enough to interview a cross section of authors from Ann Cleeves to Michael Morpurgo.
Gillian splits her time between Birmingham and a remote cottage on Anglesey
where she spends far too much time dreaming of being the next Agatha Christie, and can be found walking her Jack Russell, Maysie, on deserted beaches. In her spare time she is a regular theatre goer, an avid reader and a curious traveller!
Her novel, The Charter, was launched in June 2012 under Triskele Books, an author's collective set up by Gillian and a group of fellow writers. Her straight crime novels are represented by Shelley Powers of the Shelley Powers Literary Agency.
Follow Gillian on Twitter - @Gill1H or @triskelebooks
Facebook - Gillian Hamer or Triskele Books
Follow Gillian's Blog
Saturday, 7 July 2012
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Along with Alex Canton, Uvi Poznansky and Laurie Boris, I discuss my take on general fiction. What it is and why I (sometimes) write it.
Saturday, 26 May 2012
Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Review of Don't Look Down
by Barbara Scott-Emmett
Don’t Look Down opens with a scene which is only resolved at the end of the novel, giving us an
immediate hook. We have to keep reading to find who, what and why.
Lauren Keane flies to Germany to visit an old friend, Katti
Hauer. But Katti is missing and her brother, Wolf, with whom Lauren shares a
past blighted by a broken love affair, meets Lauren’s flight in Katti’s place
Sunday, 29 April 2012
WHAT INFLUENCED YOU TO WRITE IN THE BEGINNING?
I've always written, even when I was a child. I don't know why, it's just something I have to do.I love words and putting them together and I enjoy creating characters and situations. It's a way of harnessing an over-active imagination, I suppose.
WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR BOOK?
DON'T LOOK DOWN is set in Nuremberg, Germany. I have friends there and have been there many times and love Nuremberg. I wanted to write a
thriller/crime novel and the idea of setting it there, in winter, came to me after a visit to my friends one snowy February. Nuremberg, and Bavaria generally, were so beautiful in the snow, I had to describe it and I had to build a story around my descriptions. Some of the characters are loosely inspired by friends and acquaintances there, but certainly not based on them. It was a combination of sights, sounds andinfluences built up over years of visits, plus a great love for the place and the people, that made me want to use Nuremberg as a setting. I wanted to use the idea of two women who had known each other since they were girls but story evolved as it went along.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER – THE MOST FUN FOR YOU TO WRITE?
I think the character Clara was the most fun to write... Read on
Many thanks to Sue for giving me this opportunity!
Sue Palmer helps run the Book Junkies Facebook Group and Review Page.
Monday, 23 April 2012
I'm looking forward to reading some great pieces!
My own collection of quirky poetry, WASPS & SCORPIONS: Luv Pomes and Other Lies, is available from Amazon.
Lorraine also writes dark thrillers as Frances de Plino. Check out her latest book Bad Moon Rising
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Saturday, 24 March 2012
Contemporary Fiction Network Blog: Guest Blog: Barbara Scott Emmett - 'Don't Look Dow...: Don't Look Down by Barbara Scott Emmett Amazon UK £2 Amazon US $2.99
Saturday, 3 March 2012
Friday, 24 February 2012
Wednesday, 18 January 2012