Hello! This is the first blog post via my brand-new website. I’m pleased to have a ‘proper’ website at last, and I’m enormously indebted to my clever son for building it for me, and for being patient with my dithering over how it should look and work in terms of links, pages etc. I think I’m finally getting to grips with how to update it and add content now, so hopefully it’ll have stuff to interest both readers and writers.
So, the first thing to report is that the e-book version of my debut novel, The Things We Never Said has been picked for the Kindle summer sale promotion, which means that for a few weeks only, it’s just 99p!
The Things We Never Said will always have a special place in my heart, partly because it was my first novel, but also because it brought me so many lovely emails and loyal readers. And I still totally love that cover!
It’s been a busy time for me recently, because not only have I been working on this website as well as promoting my third novel, What She Lost, I’ve also been finishing my fourth book, as yet untitled. I’m very excited about this new novel, because for the first time, I’ve felt confident about the story, almost from the word go.
I wrote the first draft in four months, and I’ve spent several more months redrafting. I submitted the new version to my agent and editor a few weeks ago, and I’m delighted to report that they loved it. There were a few points that still needed addressing, but these only took a couple of weeks, and now it’s off to the copy editor. There will be more tweaks and twiddles – I’m sure the copy editor will find plenty of typos, repetitions, inconsistencies, and other problems I haven’t spotted, but after that, it’s done and dusted. Apart from coming up with the right title, of course.
Titles. Oh dear. Is anyone else as rubbish at titles as I am? I’ve come up with a few for this book, as has my agent, but nothing feels quite right yet. Sometimes, something jumps into my head and I think, ‘that’s it!’ and then the next day, I think ‘that’s awful – what was I thinking of?’
But apart from the title, there’s not much more for me to do, so I’m now trying to come up with an idea for my next novel. I gathered together some of my notebooks from the last couple of years, together with a folder full of random notes scribbled on scraps of paper, and I spent several hours reading through them.
It’s amazing how the same things seem to crop up over and over again – the same themes, same situations. Thing is, a theme and a situation does not a story make! And not only that, but I need to decide which theme, which situation I’m going to go with, and then I need to develop it. My love of cooking means I’m always using food analogies, so here’s one about finding a new idea for a novel: I have a few basic ingredients, but not enough to know what I’m going to cook. I need to decide what dish I want to make, then I need to gather the rest of the ingredients, and most importantly of all, I need to work out a recipe. I suppose I’m also wondering whether to stick with the sort of dish I usually cook, or whether to make something a little different.
I envy writers who are constantly bubbling with ideas and can’t wait to finish one book in order to get on the next. I have no trouble coming up with situations and characters, but as to what actually happens and how it will all end is a huge struggle. It seems that every promising storyline quickly hits a wall on which the words THAT WON’T WORK are written in six foot high letters. Any tips or advice gratefully received!
Right, back to the notebooks…