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Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour


I’m really pleased to have been tagged to take part in this tour by Regina Joseph, author of the Alterran Legacy Series in the sci-fi genre. She is an author whose work I have very much enjoyed. If you want to see more of Regina Joseph, her author page can be found at,

http://www.amazon.com/Regina-M.-Joseph/e/B00AQ4RCRE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3?qid=1403310721&sr=1-3



So, here are some insights into what makes me tick as a writer. I wish my answers didn’t make me look so haphazard, but we are what we are I guess. I could have lied and made stuff up, but I didn’t. Promise. 


What am I working on?


At the moment, I am re-editing About Hana for the millionth time because I am obsessive about novels being ‘clean.' I can’t stand editing errors. It had been my intention to have a break from writing and tidy up some of my older works, but I now have another storyline which is growing in my head by the day. It sometimes happens like that, but this one is definitely not going to go away so I need to get it written down. 


Writing is a treat for me and so I can use it as a reward if I do enough editing. Oh, that’s in between the family and the day job. 


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I guess that I write what I want. I don’t sit down and decide that this book is going to be a romance or this one is a mystery - I just write it. I have been known to get stuck after the novel is complete and fully ready to go with its wee cover on and sit there wondering which genre to put it in. Sometimes it really is a question of, ‘Mmnn, what are you?’ at the eleventh hour. I seem to cross genres quite a lot within one piece of work. 


Artifact is intrinsically a romance but is intercontinental, crossing from New Zealand to England. It also contains some scenes from English history with references to the English Civil War and that’s always difficult to place. I guess that’s why my work is so different, because it meanders across acceptable genre lines without worrying. 


The Hana Mysteries are essentially that - mysteries, but are bound up in the deeply entrenched Maori family that Hana marries into. There is family intrigue within that dynamic which is culturally interesting and then underneath, there is always an external issue that causes danger or disaster for Hana. Yet my favourite aspect of the Hana series is the romance between her and Logan because it is so complicated and undulating.
 

So again, what are those books? Mystery, romance, New Zealand culture, family. They are a myriad of things all rolled into one.


Why do I write what I do?

Ultimately, I write the kind of stories that I would like to read. If I’m paying good money for a book, what would it have to be or contain? 


Writing for me, is easily as fulfilling as reading and I think that is a factor in what I produce. I have lead female characters because I am one. I could write from a male perspective but can get far more psychologically in depth with another female. My Hana character has a few hallmarks belonging to me and I am comfortable with her. She is a frustrating over-thinker who worries about silly things (me) and yet at other times she can be dogged and stubborn with enough pluck to be gutsy and interesting (probably not me.) If she was a real person, I would spend half my life wanting to have coffee with her and the other half being driven mad by her. 


I love my secondary male characters (perhaps a little too much sometimes) and am fascinated by how they grow and become shaped by the storylines, often without much input from me. Logan Du Rose began as a mysterious Maori with an intense attraction for Hana. At first it seemed incongruous and they were so poorly matched but as the series progressed, I fell in love with him myself. He has become this Godfather figure, this all powerful bad-boy in cowboy boots who masquerades as a highly intelligent school teacher. He did that himself. 


My teen novels fill a gap I think. Again, I don’t plan them. I sit down at my computer and out they come. Blaming the Child began harmlessly, as a story about two teenagers who lived next door to each other. In fact the working title was ‘Bad Neighbours’. Nobody was more surprised than me when the novel began dealing with issues such as self-harm, rape, teenage sex, runaways and parenting issues. Experience is different for everyone but I know that my writing has been cathartic for me personally. I think that the only rule in writing is to stick to what you know. 


Demons On Her Shoulder began as a book about a counsellor and went on from there. I don’t think that you can convincingly write about sexual abuse in a detached way. Readers aren’t stupid - they know when something is based purely on research and it doesn’t convince them. So in that way, there’s a real vulnerability in producing novels that deal with this issue. It’s a huge risk but I have had some lovely emails, especially about Demons, even though it was never meant to be a self-help book at all.


How does my writing process work?


I would love to give a really intelligent answer to that question. Unfortunately, there is no rhyme or reason for what I write or when I write it. Shakespeare wrote a lot about his ‘muse’ and I know that artists talk about this concept as though it’s an ethereal being. But it feels exactly like that sometimes, like this thing has occupied your brain and put all these plot lines and story arcs in there. You literally can’t relax until they’re all out. 


If you imagine a woolly jumper that someone’s unpicking, they pull on the end and the whole thing eventually collapses and disappears in front of your eyes. It’s a lot like that. You pull the thread and it unravels inside you only sometimes it gets a knot which needs undoing. The end result has to be a neatly rolled ball of wool even if there was once a whole lot of messy strands on the floor in front of you. Some days it’s a flowing thing and other times a wrenching one, but it has to come out entirely for the author to feel satiated. 


I wrote One Heartbeat like that. I was like a crazed madwoman. I remember it being winter and I went through the motions of going to work and sorting out the family, but I have no memories of anything about that time in my life. It’s as though I wasn’t really here, I was up in the mountains above Port Waikato at the hotel sharing Hana’s trials. For me it can act as a huge abdication from life, which isn’t really fair on my family. When I wrote that particular book, we had a lot going wrong for us and it helped me to rise above it actually. I would have normally got depressed, in fact I should have got depressed with all that was going on, but nothing seemed to touch me. I was particularly cruel to Hana at the end though and when I look back, I think I was trying to sever the connection and make her let go of me so that I could come back to the real world. 


I wish I could offer up some carefully coiffed plan for that question, which made me look really wonderful. If I was looking for a name to call my own personal writing process, it would have to be ‘The Headless Chicken Writing Process.’ The definition of that would be - no pattern, no direction, just running around blindly and getting surprisingly far whilst being observed with interest. 


If writer’s block is like creative constipation, then I am blessedly at the other end of the digestive scale right now and very thankful for it. My father always said that I had verbal diarrhoea... 


So, who have I tagged to be next on the blog hop?


The next author that I am going to tag on this blog tour is actually one of my favourites.


Terry Maggert is probably the next DH Lawrence and I read his first novel, The Forest Bull in awe of him. His writing has a real intelligence to it and if I could have given more than five stars in my review, I definitely would have. Terry is an author whose coat tails the rest of us can only dream of holding onto. He is definitely a writer who is going places fast.

 

Terry’s biography

Born in 1968, I discovered fishing shortly after walking, a boon, considering I lived in South Florida. After a brief move to Kentucky, my family trekked back to the Sunshine State. I had the good fortune to attend high school in idyllic upstate New York, where I learned about a mythical substance known as "snow". 


After two or three failed attempts at college, I bought a bar. That was fun because I love beer, but, then, I eventually met someone smarter than me (a common event), and, in this case, she married me and convinced me to go back to school--which I did, with enthusiasm. I earned a Master's Degree in History and rediscovered my love for writing.
 My novels explore dark fantasy, immortality, and the nature of love as we know it. 


I live near Nashville, Tennessee, with the aforementioned wife, son, and herd, and, when I'm not writing, I teach history, grow wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restore my 1967 Mustang.

Links to Terry Maggert, author - well worth a look.

http://www.amazon.com/Terry-Maggert/e/B00EKN8RHG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 My next author to nominate is:

CB Pratt

 CB Pratt is an author whose work I have happily reviewed. I love her Eno the Thracian novels with her dashing, tongue-in-cheek hero who makes me laugh.




C.B. Pratt has lived all over the United States, including California, New York and many stops in between. Having been a professional writer for over twenty years, she is ill-suited to any normal work and hopes to continue writing for the rest of her life. Independent publishing has allowed her to write the things she has always wanted to, including fantasy and steampunk. She is the author of numerous traditionally published books, as well as the Eno the Thracian fantasy-adventure series. RIVERS OF SAND will be released late summer, 2014.  
Sample or purchase Book 1 in the series:

http://www.amazon.com/Hero-Hire-Eno-Thracian-ebook/dp/B00D6KPC1S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370385145&sr=1-1&keywords=c.b.+pratt Web site:http://www.cynthiapratt.com/

And last but not least, an author for whom I have a great deal of respect:

Venkatesh Iyer 

Venky and I chat often on the Book Review Depot, from where I know all of the three authors I have tagged. He has a wicked sense of humour and always has something useful to add. I find his blogs about writing immensely useful and am looking forward to his collection of short stories.

General Manager in a big trading concern at a young age, bank executive thereafter, before becoming an entrepreneur in the third stage of my working life: that was me before I decided I had had enough of the world of commerce (my businesses died a lingering death because of the Maoist insurgency in Nepal). I moved to Chennai, and finally, late in life, took up something I was born for, and unfortunately, knowingly blind to: writing.
 

I am at the computer all day, writing for my blog, for LinkedIn (I recently received publishing rights) and most of all, on my book of short stories, most based on real life, and all to do with a scheming but bumbling politician who would be Caesar. I intend to publish it as my first fiction book, in both digital and print versions. I have published three non-fiction works, all in the digital form.
 

I do freelance editing jobs, all for publishers of non-fiction, like Oxford Printing Press.
I am interested in current news, movies, reading and music (in which my tastes go back to the
60s, 70s, and 80s).

I believe in social media, because I believe in social participation.

I believe in myself, once again, after years of self-rejection.
 

I blog at:
www.venkyiyer.com. google.com/+venkyiyer and http://www.twitter.com/user/venkyiyer58

https://www.linkedin.com/in/venkyiyer58

Links to Terry Maggert, author - well worth a look. 

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