Today is Blog Tour day, when writers answer questions about their writing process. Last week, fellow author Penny Grubb posted hers. You can check it out at http://pennygrubb.blogspot.com.
Penny is a hard act to follow, but I thank her for the invitation.
So, what is my writing process? I always have a notebook and pencil but the main area for work is my study. I would blush to let anyone see inside but all those books, papers and maps are lying around for a purpose. The cat enjoys prowling among them to find a cosy nook to sleep, until he senses I'm totally absorbed. I draw a veil over the language used when he pulls me out of my other world.
1 What are you working on?
I'm writing the second story about brothers in a half-French, half-Turkish family. The period is 1811 - 1813, so the background is the Napoleonic wars and the general turmoil throughout
Europe. My main character is a Rake but he longs for a
proper role to equal his older brother, the skilled diplomat [whose story is
told in Scandalous
Lady]. I'm sure his brother would have
cautioned him: Be careful what you wish for! In his eagerness to undertake a
noble quest, he becomes entangled with a pair of vicious spies and faces one
crisis after another in a fast paced chase across England
2 How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I'm a great fan of all Regency stories but I particularly like tales set in exotic places. There were plenty of independent women who set off to discover the world, so I combine those two elements. I've written two tales set in Constantinople [which was on the tourist trail for rich aristocrats with a yacht ] and my current novel begins in the Pyrenees, from where the hero travels to meet with the French royal family who were in exile in
in 1813. England
3 Why do you write what you do?
My family were great storytellers and I always had enough imagination to add further episodes to the tales we told each evening around the fire. And if I read a story I particularly liked, I couldn't part with the characters, so I made up further episodes for them. Long ago and far away were my favourite places. So I'm simply carrying on the family tradition. Also I love accounts of intrepid women adventurers, and model my heroines on them. Currently, I feel very at home in the wider Regency era, although I also love - and write - medieval adventure stories.
4 How does your writing process work?
A story always begins from a picture or two. I have an ever-growing collection of faces and places, found in magazines. Suddenly one face stands out and his or her story begins to take shape. Some scenes are clear immediately although I don't know at that point where they will be in the novel.
I scribble a working synopsis, about half a page. This grows and changes as I go along. By Chapter 3 the characters are dictating what they will and won't do. It's a weird process but it truly happens. Of course, there is plenty of research, which may lead to some revision.
For In All Honour I walked the streets of
to be sure the timing of the characters'
outings is right. Bath
For Scandalous Lady I visited a delightful palace in
. As well as
being a royal pavilion, it was used for official business and the signing of
treaties. It is now the Istanbul . State
For my current story, [gulp] I ventured a kilometre inside a vast prehistoric cavern in the
then transferred my fear of this adventure to my heroine. Most recently, I made a
visit to Hartwell House in Buckinghamshire, which was absolutely wonderful and inspired extra
elements for the plot.
Editing and revision take place as I write. If something feels wrong, it disturbs my sleep. That means that the following morning I grab paper and pen before even getting out of bed to rewrite the scene or move events to a better place. Normally, I prefer to write in the late evening, until the inspiration gives out.
Thank you for visiting my blog. Please leave a comment.
Jane Riddell, editor and writer of short stories and novels. The photos of her travels on her website are wonderful. http://www.quietfiction.com
Elizabeth Hanbury writes historical romance with swoonworthy heroes, sparkling heroines and a dash of wit and humour. http://elizabethhanbury.blogspot.com
Paula Martin, romance writer and contemporary romance author. Http://paulamartinpotpourri.blogspot.co.uk