Who remembers those chain letters – back in the days when we used to actually take time to write on paper to each other? My hero – Calvin does, of course…
Well, here is the blog equivalent. The Writing Blog version. Entitled ‘The Monday Blog.’ I pick up the baton from the creator of Inspector Bucket – Mr Peter Cooper at http://petercooperstellingtales.com (a chappie whom I wholeheartedly thank for tracking me down.) And if I do not answer the questions on ‘writing process’ – Peter turns up tomorrow morning with a chainsaw and a J-cloth. So here goes…
What are you working on?
In terms of writing, you mean? Well, my first novel ‘Mind Games & Ministers’ has just been published as an e-book and I’m now working on the paperback version as well as tinkering around with the next draft of the second book in the ‘Rachael Russell Series.’
In terms of other things in life? I’m working on my day-job (running the Lorna Young Foundation and Not Just a Trading Company) and bringing up two beautifully attired and well-mannered young children (excuse me whilst I choke on my can of Special Brew.) Oh – and being a good wife, a perfect friend and an upstanding pillar of the community here in west Yorkshire…
How does your writing differ from others in its genre?
If I answer ‘Ah, well…I don’t actually *belong* to a genre’ – will I really naff off all agents and publishers? Ha. No doubt. Flippancy aside, I do struggle with the discussion of genre. I am insanely jealous of writers who fit into a genre. It makes life so much easier in many ways. One of the reasons that I didn’t take my own writing seriously to begin with was because I felt that my style doesn’t really tick the boxes of the Big Boy Publishers. Thankfully I got some great advice from an all-time hero of mine – Barbara Trapido – who urged me to stay true to being a northern, feminist, sarcastic gobshite. I guess some publishers would try and persuade me that I write ‘rom com,’ or ‘contemporary romance,’ or ‘women’s fiction.’ But this of course, is all about their need to market and to sell books.
To answer the question then…I suppose that I rely very much on the vernacular and on bleak humour. I believe in trying to tell a rip-roaring yarn about ordinary people’s lives and perhaps to raise awareness about something (usually some kind of social issue) via the back door
Some of the nicest feedback I’ve had is that my style is “like a blend of Alan Bennett and Nick Hornby.” Chuffed-city!
Why do you write what you do?
I write to amuse myself, to escape and increasingly, to entertain others. Also – and I hope that this doesn’t make me sound like too much of a tosspot – I want to encourage people to cut through some of the bullshit that our society eggs us on to believing in. Here in the so-called ‘developed’ world we’ve morphed into a society of entitlement. We think that we are somehow owed material wealth and are deserving of every frippery and triviality. God forbid if the waiter neglects to sprinkle the perfect combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate on our double expresso flat skinny white! And all of this makes me one little hot cross bunny…because most of the stuff that we consume here in such vast amounts comes at the expense of others. Usually desperately poor communities overseas.
I also love to talk about taboos – as I do in Mind Games & Ministers in relation to widowhood, sex and parenting – and I’m fascinated with layers of truth and with the psychological liberation that a bit of honesty can simply provide us with.
How does the writing process work for you?
I write fast and I write a lot. I always *feel* that I should plot a story better, but I begin with the nugget of an idea and it just unfolds itself. The architecture of perfect story construction just leaves me cold. The more highbrow literary-lovers in the publishing world accuse me of being a ‘good storyteller’ because I’m not about primping and carving and honing a beautifully constructed sentence. I’m more about spilling my guts – off on a rant and a roll – and then returning to the painstaking editing side of things.
Writing happens for me when I feel the burn for it.
OKAY folks….For next MONDAY 24th March I am passing the fear of horrific death and tragedy if they don’t complete the task to…
One of my oldest chums from Mucky Duki (that’s Dukinfield to you) and now known as ‘The Travelling Poet’. Stuart Vallantine describes himself as ‘high functioning autistic’ and blimey – this guy has more talent in his little finger than the rest of us put together. Not only that – but Stuart’s blog is perhaps THE most visited autie-blog in the UK. If not the world. Reet proud of him, I am. Go see. http://mancunian1001.wordpress.com/
Next up is the marvellous Liz Broomfield. She has written 4 books on setting up your own business (which let’s face it – all of us writers should be purchasing… right now), an editor and a proofreader. But I will let Liz tell you about herself next week http://librofulltime.wordpress.com/
And finally, I just HAD to sneak in Laura Ripper. Writing process ain’t just about the initial act of creation…. And this is where Laura helps. One very talented lass who is a copywriter and copy-editor and who, with a swish of her magic pen, changes gobbledegook into plain English (well, she likes to pretend it’s as easy as that) and she works with business and academic authors. www.lauraripperproofreading.com