My Biggest Fan


Vikki Thompson:

Two posts today people….to celebrate the fact that my Internet seems to be back! Lol.

This is my interview I did for Ava, hope you enjoy it :)

Originally posted on journeyofjordannaeast:

Hello all! Last week, Vikki over at The View Outside fulfilled her role in our Blog Swap, now it’s my turn. I’m completely honored to present this interview with “my biggest fan,” so-called because she is far and away the most prolific commenter on my blog, besides me. Enjoy!

1. What is the very first piece of good writing you remember doing?
Ha ha ha, I’m not sure I’ve actually done a “good” piece yet! ;-) I guess the first piece I was actually quite pleased with was a small exercise I did for writing class, called RagLady. You can read it here: http://theregenerate.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/rag-lady/
It was the first serious piece of fiction I’d written since leaving school. Lol.
2. What is your favorite genre to read? Is it also the genre in which you write?

I don’t really have a favourite genre to read, I’ll read anything, especially…

View original 641 more words

Life’s Too Short :)


Today’s guest/Blog Swap is Ava, who is also known as Jordanna ;) Ava’s blog often has me laughing out loud. Go take a peek at Journey of Jordanna East :)

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How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
To be honest, I started writing my first novel because I was bored. I was unemployed, couldn’t afford cable, and had no money to do anything. I was even more depressed because I could no longer afford my college tuition. I thought about what I could do with the knowledge I did have, and how I could combine that knowledge with something that interested me. Then it hit me: I could write a crime book! That’s what I called it, “a crime book.” I majored in Biology with minors in Psychology and Criminology, so I thought I would try my hand at writing a novel. I sat on my bed and started typing. I wrote about 5 chapters by the seat of my pants. But I enjoyed it. A lot. When I started working at a restaurant, I found myself writing notes and chapter summaries on scraps of receipt paper. But I still didn’t know I wanted to be a writer (I can be rather dense). A few people read my first chapters and said they saw potential, but eventually I put my work aside. This year I picked it back up. And when I was unhappy at my most recent job, I realized that I would be so content if I could just stay home and write. So I’m trying it (I left that job for unrelated, personal reasons) and it’s the happiest I’ve been in a long while. I realize that I might not make a lot of friends by admitting I was bored and thought I would write a novel, but I will say that I’m 100% committed to learning and improving every day and I’m completely humbled by those who have succeeded before me.

What genre do you write in?
As I stated above, at first I called it “a crime book.” That eventually became the slightly more sophisticated “crime novel.” For a while I struggled with what actual genre my novel fell into; it wasn’t a mystery/suspense since the main character IS the serial killer and who’s killing people isn’t a big surprise. Then one day I read an article about how to characterize your novel and I discovered my novel falls into the Psychological Thriller genre. I do have a few other ideas for future books though, and they fall in several different genres.

Do you have a writing schedule, your normal writing day?
I do not. I sit on the couch and force myself to write throughout the day. I’ve recently begun shooting for 1000 words per day, but oftentimes I get distracted by editing. That’s right, I love to edit and I have to fight the urge to go back and perfect stuff. I’m a crazy person.

What’s the best writing environment for you – where you write?
I write in the living room, on the couch, with the tv on in the background. I can’t do music! Music distracts me because if I know the words I absentmindedly start typing them. It also distracts me when my cats lie down on my notes, but I tolerate them because they’re so darn cute.

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Who inspires you?
My oft-mentioned Hubby-pants. I’ve never seen anyone believe in someone else the way he believes in me. In fact, I’ve never seen someone believe in themselves, let alone another person, the way he believes in me. It’s the best feeling, aside from his love and affection, of course.

If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
I don’t really know yet and I don’t want to be presumptious and disappoint people. I hate when I read a review that says the author is the next Stephen King or the next JRR Tolkien and then…not so much.

Tell us about your current WIP/recently published book?
It’s a crime book! Haha, no, seriously, it’s a thriller involving three characters whose lives are colliding, but not in a happy, shiny, “It’s a Small World After All” kind of way. My main character, Lyla Kyle is a beautiful artist living in Philadelphia who happens to also be a disturbed serial killer. Trying to connect a series of unexplained deaths –Lyla’s murders– is a young cop itching for a big case to make his career. Both of them are seeing the same psychologist, but neither one knows the deadly impacts she’s had on each of their lives. I have about 28K words at the moment and hope to have the project completed before the end of the year, at which point I will enjoy a much anticipated spa day in the city. (Vikki – Can’t wait to read it Ava!)

Ava’s last point, about treating herself to a Spa Day when she’s finished the novel, reminded me of Stephen Kings Misery. Where The author, Paul Sheldon, has a cigarette when he finishes a novel. This got me thinking, what would I treat myself to? Hmmmmmm, it would have to be a Mont Blanc Pen and that way, I could build up a collection *snigger*

So what will you treat yourself to when you’ve finally finished that WIP?

My Favourite Steampunker


Chris Stocking who blogs at Write to Perfect is today’s guest. Chris is into Steampunk, a genre I admit to not knowing that much about, but I’m hoping that I’m learning from reading Chris’ blog :)

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How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
It’s difficult for me to pinpoint when exactly I wanted to be a writer. Since I was young—spanning from 1st grade to the present—I had always dabbled in writing. Whether it was a short story assignment for class, or me writing fan fiction based on whatever book I was writing, I was always writing. I just never thought that I might actually have some sort of talent for it, nor that I would want to write books for the rest of my life. I guess if I had to pinpoint a time, it would be about two or three years ago when I decided I wanted to write and finish a book, which led to me writing ESTRA Corp., which is now retired.

What genre do you write in?
I write Science-Fiction/Fantasy/Steampunk.

Do you have a writing schedule, your normal writing day?
Unfortunately I do not. I wish I did, though. With work and everyday happenings of life, I write when I can. Someday, when I get a job with steady hours, or am fortunate enough to live off my writing, I’d like to develop a writing schedule.

What’s the best writing environment for you – where you write?
I write anywhere my laptop has power. I can write in basically any environment; however, what is happening in that environment alters how much I write. I find it harder to write when there is a television on, or if there is a lot of noise around me. I’ve also recently found that I write better sitting at a desk or a table than if I’m lying down.

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Who inspires you?
Other writers in the same position I’m in. Writing is a journey that is difficult, if not impossible to do alone. We need the help of other writers to get a different perspective of our work, and to give feedback. That’s why I always offer to give feedback on other writer’s work. Of course I’m not a writing expert, and my opinion may mean more to some than others, but the fact that I can influence and potentially help to better someone’s work is very gratifying.

If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
This is a difficult question for me to answer. I’d like to think that I have a darker, sarcastic voice with some dry humor mixed in. To be honest, I don’t know that many authors. That is one thing I’m working on remedying. I’m trying to read more because if we don’t read, how can we know how to write?

Tell us about your current WIP/recently published book?
I’m currently awaiting edits and the cover image for my next book, London Darkness: Infernal Inventions. It’s a Steampunk book, which blends science-fiction and fantasy, and takes place in Victorian London where the technology has progressed greatly, but many things are run by steam power.

I had a ton of fun writing it. It seemed to flow really well, and I’ve received a lot of good feedback on the first chapter I posted on my blog.

Here’s the description: “Victorian London–When Ryker Mayson–an independent inventor–comes across the dead body of a Head Inventor from the League of Inventors on his birthday, his life becomes more complicated than he could ever imagine. Murder, lies, and deceit become all too familiar as Ryker searches the dark city streets to find out who is behind these deaths, and why.

With the help of Wendell, his Gnomish best friend, Celia, his prostitute lover, and some newly made friends, he scours the city in search of whomever is lurking in the city’s shadows, slaying unsuspecting inventors for taking part in a tragic injustice.”

I’m hoping to have it published in the next few weeks.

I have to confess to not knowing much about SciFi and Fantasy, but I know it’s a popular genre. I can’t quite get my head around whether it’s easier or harder to write than ‘normal’ fiction. would love to hear your opinions, especially from those who write in this genre?

Picture Book Monsters


Today’s “Blog Swap” is with a children’s author, Clarike Bowman-Jahn who blogs at Clarbojahn

Clar was born in the Netherlands, but now resides in the US. She has been writing in her journals for years, and now attends writing classes and is a member of a writing group. She’s an active user of FaceBook (Clars Page) and Twitter (Clars Twitter Feed).

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How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I have always written. Just didn’t submit it. Lol. No really I’ve written in journals since the aungsty days of teen hood. Still do. Some day I hope to edit those private writings into public ones. Maybe in the form of memoir.

What genre do you write in?
I write picture books and memoir.

Do you have a writing schedule?
Yes, I write first thing in the morning for about two hours. Then I join my husband in breakfast and a walk.

What’s the best writing environment for you – where you write?
Right here in the living room. With my laptop or journal on my lap. I like it quiet. I don’t like interuptions.

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When do you write?
First thing in the morning.

Who inspires you?
For picture books I get my ideas from all over the place. For my memoir I look over the old journals.

If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
I don’t know.

Tell us about your current WIP/recently published book?
My most recent published book is “Annie’s Special Day” about a seven year old girl who stays up all day and all night celebrating her birthday with a new adventure every hour. It is a basic concept book for four to seven year olds learning to tell time. It is available from E Treasures Publishing as an e Version with print coming out soon.

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My most recent is another picture book about monsters. Yep gonna fill that over loaded genre with another monster book.

When I was at school I wrote a children’s book, as coursework, for my Child Development CSE Exam (that shows my age). I got an A, something like 92% but the book wasn’t very good from what I remember lol.

Hmmmmm, is this something I’d like to try my hand at? They say don’t they, you never know til you try….. Have you ever considered the idea of writing a children’s book? When I went to see Adele Parks someone asked her that question and she said its something she’d love to do. Personally, I wouldn’t know where to begin! Lol

If you want to see my post for Clar, pop over to Clars Blog and have a nose :)

Life on a 5 Mile Island


Thank you to everyone who commented on my whiney Insecure blog post yesterday. It is much appreciated :)

Today’s guest post is from Ayesha Schroeder who has a weekly post that lists agents Tweets. That’s how I stumbled across her great blog, after all, we all want to know what agents are Tweeting ;) You can find my post of My Night with Chris Baty over on Ayesha’s blog.

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How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a writer early on in life. It was what I was good at, however, I didn’t truly embrace writing as a career path until I was living on a 5 square mile island. That was where I completed two manuscripts and began blogging as a sort of therapy. It was lonely and I needed a way to communicate with those back home. Living on that island was when my story really took off.

What genre do you write in?
My genre is what I have coined “fictional slice of life,” meaning telling realistic stories. My stories don’t always have a happy ending, but they tend to carry morals and/or raise questions regarding society’s mores.

Do you have a writing schedule, your normal writing day?
Typically I’m up by 7am and out of the house by 8am. I write web copy for a living and do social media, so I’m always forced to be creative. Sometimes I’ll blog or add to my MS/WIP during my lunch or do it between 5 and 7pm, which is when my husband gets home from work. I try to balance life and work and sometimes do sacrifice writing time for cuddle time.

What’s the best writing environment for you – where you write?
When I write I like to have my husband and cats around me. Seen, but not heard. Haha. Right now, I write at the kitchen table or on the floor. We don’t have a bed or furniture (long story), so really the whole house is my writing space. On another note all of my ideas tend to come to me while eating or in the restroom. Go figure…

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Who inspires you?
God, first and foremost. I’m inspired by His creation and the many paths that we all walk. Life and nature. Really everything I see fuels my writing. I love to go to the airport far ahead of the suggested 90-minute arrival window just to people watch. I wonder where they’re going, what they’re doing. People are weird and life is crazy so why not write about it and enlighten others?

If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
I’d love to say Jhumpa Lahiri, because she is one of my favorites, however, I do have my own style, which may be characterized as darkly humorous and starkly realistic.

Tell us about your current WIP?
I’ve got two finished manuscripts that I am having a killer time editing. I’m too close to them and am thinking of hiring a freelance editor to look over them. Currently I’m writing a novel that looks at a prisoner’s life. He killed someone and is locked up. Like many in prison he found religion, but is struggling with the idea of being forgiven. The question really is whether he can forgive himself and believe that he is changed and what he does with his conclusion.

Thanks Ayesha :)

Don’t forget to nip over to Ayesha’s Blog to read my review of the night I met Chris Baty! :)

Ayesha’s favourite author is Jhumpa Lahiri, who, I must admit, I’ve never heard of. I’m always on the look out for great authors who I’ve never read before. So my question today is, dear reader. Tell me one of your favourite authors, one you think I might not have heard of? I just know I’m gunna regret asking that as my Amazon wishlist will now probably go off the scale lol.

By the way, one of my favourite authors you may not have heard of is Linda Gillard who’s book Emotional Geology is one of my all time favourites :)

Following Your Destiny


Today’s Blog Swap is with eBook author Wendy Steele who is also a dancer and a healer. Check out Wendy’s blog to see my interview.

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How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I left school, I had no idea what I wanted to do but it’s hard to envisage a time when I didn’t write. My first piece was a poem aged 10, after visiting the Tutankhamen exhibition in London and, ever since, I’ve come home from new adventures and committed my thoughts and experiences to paper. My first piece of published (and paid!) writing was an article for the Dancing Times, after attending my first day of belly dance workshops in London, eight years ago.
As a child, I read and wrote stories, losing myself in the lives of the characters, while in my early twenties, I wrote children’s stories and short stories but it was on a two day writing course, nine years ago, that I believed I could be a writer. I liked the character I created on the course and, over the following three years, proceeded to write my first novel between school runs, children’s clubs, family domesticity, cleaning other people’s houses and stacking shelves in a supermarket.
After attending Swanwick Writers Summer School for the second time last year, (Vikki-Where I met Wendy in the smoking tent lol) and receiving great advice and help, I made the decision to take time away from teaching dance and complete the current novel I was working on and, since then, have felt like a writer.

Writing is a harmonious accompaniment to my dancing, forcing me to sit and expand my mind while allowing my body to rest.

What genre do you write in?
My work was described by an agent as ‘contemporary romantic speculative fiction’ and, yes, my characters are of the moment, they form relationships but they do so in this world while the majority of ‘speculative fiction’ I’ve found is set in the future, another world or planet and the characters are often not completely human.
My writing is also magical. One reviewer wrote about ‘Destiny of Angels’ – ‘ A revenge/redemption story with a spiritual twist, where the mundane and the mystical intertwine.’

Do you have a writing schedule?
I do plan my writing time but often find myself juggling to include the demands of the indie writer within the plan. I used to write two days each week, actually writing new words but now plan to write for three days per week, while allocating two half days for promotion and paperwork.

What’s the best writing environment for you – where do you write?
Before we redecorated to sell our house, propped up in bed was my favourite spot but this has since been usurped by the summerhouse in the garden. It’s quiet, save for the occasional bee, and the cats like to join me, which is lovely.

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When do you write?
Most of my writing is done between 6am and 6pm, as family and dance take over my evenings. If I find myself alone in the house at the weekend though, I will write!

Who inspires you?
The natural world gives me the biggest buzz. I can be carried along for a week by an hours saunter through a bluebell embellished wood but the person who inspires me is Mr Terry Pratchett. Two pages from any of his books is enough to way lay my angst and focus me on the task of attempting to write words as beautiful as his.

If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
I have yet to find an author who writes like me! My friend Peter thinks some of my characters are glamorous, rich and powerful like those in a Jackie Collins novel but the only other author I know who wrote contemporary fiction in a magical context is Dion Fortune. She, however, was using fiction as a way to get a message across, where non-fiction would have been unpublishable at the time she was writing, while my writing is always about telling a stonking good story.

Tell us about your current WIP/recently published book?
‘Destiny of Angels – First book in the Lilith Trilogy’ was released on 21st April 2012.

Two years ago, at a time when I was feeling angry and uncertain about my life, the storyline for Destiny came to me….what if the powers from other dimensions could be channelled, used to offer choices and the chance of redemption in this level of consciousness?

Angel Parsons and her lover, Aidan Quinn, were my first two characters. Beautiful, intelligent, yet humanly flawed, they were exciting and fun to write with….and the rest of the cast soon followed.

Angel and Aidan and the rest of the cast depart for their first foray into the world of the Door Keeper Thoth, Ra the Sun God in his Temple at Tiphereth and Lilith, the Dark Goddess.

‘Destiny of Angels’ is available to download on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/reader/B007OX5J8O/ref=sib_dp_kd#reader-link
and for US readers
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007OX5J8O/?tag=kttus-20

The second book in the Trilogy ‘Wrath of Angels’ is begun as is ‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A pocketful of smiles’, a non-fiction book I hope to have ready for September to be released around the same time as the paperback of ‘Destiny of Angels’. Do stop by my blog at http://www.wendysteele.com and join me for a cup of tea and a piece of home-made cake.

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This whole idea of a trilogy fascinates me…..is it something I could do? Think about, with my own work? I’m not completely sure lol. Have you thought about writing a series, or have you started one? What are the pro’s and con’s?

On A Hot August Afternoon


Yes, yes, I know it’s not August, but I can pretend cant I? Lol

Today’s “Blog Swap” is with author Bridget Straub who knew she wanted to be a writer when she was a child.

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How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I have been entertaining my younger sister with stories ever since we were little and shared a room, so writing became a natural extension. By eight I was writing anti-war poems that had my mother worrying that I was depressed. There was just never any doubt that this was what I wanted to do.

What genre do you write in?
i always end up saying Chicklit for lack of a better word but I think just as with Romance that can make it sound like a manufactured bit of fluff. My books are insights to a particular time in the characters’ lives.

Do you have a writing schedule, your normal writing day?
I write off and on throughout the day. I have kids, so there are constant interruptions and scheduling conflicts to be juggled.

What’s the best writing environment for you – where you write?
I generally write on my bed listening to some music to block out surrounding noise. Of course sometimes if it’s a new favorite CD it’s hard to let it work as a buffer and I end up singing along and being totally distracted, lol.
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Who inspires you?
Musicians. I love music and the ability to tell a story or paint a scene in just a few minutes. Also movies, again because I’m very visual, which leads to art. Of course my twelve yr. old is in here telling me it’s my kids that inspire me and they do too!

If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
That’s tough. Bits of Jane Green or Jennifer Crusie maybe?

Tell us about your current WIP/recently published book?
I published my first novel “Searching for My Wand” in December as an ebook. My next book, “On a Hot August Afternoon” is coming out this month and is being released in both kindle form and paperback.
“Searching for My Wand” is about a woman struggling to repair past mistakes she has made. She was named (incorrectly) after Glinda the Good Witch and has spent most of her life trying to live up to that fictionalized image.

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On a Hot August Afternoon” is about marriage, trust, family and the warped perceptions that fame can bring.

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I love Bridget’s drawing :) And it made me ask myself the question….. If you’re a writer, and hence, creative, does that mean you have other creative talents? I used to do collages (check out my Flickr page if you want to have a look) and I’ve seen quite a few writers, showcasing their ‘art’ on their blogs.

So my question to you today dear reader, is…..Do you do any other ‘creative’ activities on top of writing?

Nip on over to Bridget’s Blog to see my post for today :)

Escaping To The Country


Todays Blog Swap is with author, Patsy Collins, who’s blog can be found here

Patsy has recently published her first novel, Escape to the Country which, I’ve read, and thoroughly enjoyed :)

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How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I didn’t really. A creative writing class was something I started almost by accident. It wasn’t until the term ended I realised I was hooked and signed on again. That was ten years ago.

What genre do you write in?
I suppose it could be classed as ‘women’s fiction’. I write short stories for magazines and romantic novels. Mostly.

Do you have a writing schedule, your normal writing day?
I don’t have a schedule, but I try to do something writing related every day. I write more in the winter – then it’s most evenings after I get in from the day job. In summer the garden, allotment and campervan are big distractions.

What’s the best writing environment for you – where you write?
At home I have a nice office that I share with Gary (my beloved husband to be). This is my half (specially tidied up for the photo!) Two screens are handy for editing and research, so when Gary decided his wasn’t good enough for his photography, I snaffled it.

Although it’s nice to have the office and comfy leather chair these things don’t improve my writing. It has improved since I started with a biro and stack of paper in the gloomy dining room of my previous home, but that’s because I’ve practised and learned a lot since then, not because I no longer have to get a friend to print out my submissions after I’ve typed them up on the work computer. I’d like to say the availability of a computer and printer has speeded things up, but now I have the internet …

I also do quite a lot of writing in our campervan. There’s far less space there, but once I get into a story I don’t notice my surroundings much. I could, and would, write anywhere.

Who inspires you?
Gary, my family, friends, the author of any piece of writing I’ve enjoyed reading.

If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
I don’t know! My novel writing style has been compared with Katie Fforde – do you think there are similarities? (Vikki – Definitely!)

Tell us about your current WIP/recently published book?
Escape to the Country was published earlier this year after I won a novel writing competition. It’s a romantic crime story, set mostly on a farm in Kent. There’s food, mud, herbal potions, intrigue, bovine midwifery and love.

I’ve had some great feedback as you can see from the Amazon customer reviews I’m doing a series of radio interviews and a book signing to help promote it. Details can be found here

I’ve just finished the edits of A Year and a Day. This is another light hearted romance and I’m currently writing a third. That sounds like I knock out a novel every couple of months – I don’t! I tend to write a draft, leave it and write something else, then edit, then write something else, so there are often several projects on the go at a time.

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Dont forget to nip on over to Patsy’s Blog to see what i have to say today. I’ll be talking about my interest in other writers work spaces.

As I said, I’ve read Patsy’s novel and thought it was great….I reviewed it on Amazon. So my question today dear readers, is Do you review books you read on Amazon? I have to say, I don’t review big name authors, but I feel it’s important to support the new authors :)

Inspirational Brief Encounters


Today’s post is from Virginia, a lovely writer who blogs at poeta officium Please do go and check out her great pages :)

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How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
There was never a revelation; I have always had the desire to write. I started creative writing classes at school when I was around 8 and shortly after, I began writing at home for fun. This was when I realised there was every possibility I could actually take it seriously. My mother and grandma, who was also a writer, always encouraged me to write as did my school teachers. It always came naturally to me and while the other kids mucked around during this lesson, I lapped it up and even got to read my stories to the class. This really lit a fire within. I literally did not look back.

What genre do you write in?
I love writing psychological thrillers. This is the genre that takes over my bookshelf! I also try and throw in a little family history in the mix as I am a genealogist. Genea-psycho thrillers? Is this a bona fide genre?? I guess it is now!

Do you have a writing schedule?
I try to. I really do! However with young kids it is very easy to lose precious time. I do have a schedule that I stick to on the good weeks; writing every night for a couple of hours – whether its for research or character development. When I’m on a roll, I don’t stop and I find I am writing till after midnight. On the nights that it doesn’t come so easy those 2 hours are put to good use but I know that switching my mind off will be much more beneficial in the long run. As long as I’m getting some writing and reading done every night I’m a happy bunny.

What’s the best writing environment for you – where you write?
Lately Ive been writing in bed. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m trying to kill 2 birds with one stone – rest and work – but laying back on my comfy pillows gives me the ‘ahh’ feeling which opens my mind. Especially when it is pitch black around me save for the laptop light. This makes me feel that nothing else exists in the world apart from me and my words. It is a very exclusive feeling.

I also write at my desk or at the dining table. I find my best work comes when I’m comfortable, warm and within reach of a fully boiled kettle. I’ve started frequenting a gorgeous coffee house down the road – which makes THE best mocha’s I’ve ever tasted – so good infact I almost tweeted it! Anyway, I have a quaint corner booth under the stairs which is always empty when I get there. I sit, I drink, I get inspired. I love it.

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When do you write?
I normally write at night. I’m not sure if it’s because of the whole kid routine thing but I find I am most inspired late at night. Or, early morning. I love the stillness of pre-dawn although getting up at 4 am isn’t necessarily appealing right now. We are just coming into our winter and the sudden freezing temperatures always encourages one to keep pressing the snooze button.

Who inspires you?
It’s not so much one person as it is a random moment with a person. I love having conversations with people I have never met before and will possibly never see again. I think every single person on this earth has an interesting story to tell; everyone has a fairy tale, a nightmare, a thriller, a happy ending. I am inspired by the way someone will tell their story. I have met many people in my life who I have exchanged deep conversations with; whether it was on the street, on the train, in a library – infact, this happened a couple of weeks ago at an Apple store. We started chatting about something completely unrelated to any Apple product. He probably thought I was a journalist because I kept asking him question after question. But he was so interesting! I was loving it. I spent all of 10 minutes talking to an intelligent, lively, elderly man; this memory will be with me for the rest of my life. This is what inspires me. It is priceless.

If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
Ooh. This is tricky. I guess my style might resemble a selection of my favourite authors. With the exception of Ernest Hemingway. His writing style makes me cry – in a good, moving way. And I will never compare myself to that man. It would be a sin to!

I read a lot of Kathy Reichs. She is probably my most recent influence. I grew up reading Michael Connelly, so I’d say it’s a combination of both. I do also love Stephen King’s style, his matter-of-factness; I can relate to that. When I am telling a story, I like to get to the point quickly without using too many ‘romantic’ words or phrases. So to answer the question, I guess it’s an amalgamation of the above mentioned authors and my own style thrown in for luck!

Tell us about your current WIP/recently published book?
Ahh, my current WIP. My baby. My heartache. My frustration. What keeps me up at night. What keeps my thoughts going around and around in circles during the day. Just when I think I have it worked out, I rehash. Change names. Change places. I love my WIP, I really do. But it has taken many different forms to be where it is now. I have rehashed the plot so much it is now red raw which I think is a good thing seeing as my main character is pretty much an open wound.

Emma is tired, waiting to tell her sick story. She is mentally ill with very serious abandonment issues. She is living in what she thinks is a daydream, telling her story from a psychiatric cell. She tells us about her trophies, her conquests – the men she loved who are now dead. She tells us that she has killed them because she feared they would leave her. But has she in fact killed them? Is she that sick that she cannot draw the line between reality and make believe? Or is she telling us the truth? Some say it’s a desperate cry for help. Is anybody actually listening?

I’m finding this story frustrating to tell because I want the readers to feel sorry for her – yet she could be a horrific serial killer. How do the 2 fit together? I’m loving the challenge.

Thanks Virginia, for answering my questions (you can see why she’s a writer can’t you?) :)

I found it interesting that Virginia says she enjoys chatting to total strangers, for inspiration. That’s a great idea. But I find a lot of people nowadays are in such a rush to get everywhere and do everything, no one has time to stop and chat. Have you ever had a conversation with a stranger that’s inspired some writing? I haven’t, but it’s something I’ll definitely be more aware off now, if I can find anyone who will talk to me lol :(

The Lonely Hunter


Today’s guest is a prolific short story writer who is currently working on her first novel. Please welcome Gail Aldwin who blogs at The Writer Is A Lonely Hunter

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve dabbled with writing several times and I studied for an MA at Sussex University which involved writing a travel book about the pilgrim route across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. Every time I seemed to be getting somewhere with my writing, life intervened in the form of pregnancies, additional work responsibilities, or moving house. I started writing again three years ago, when the promotion I’d set my heart on didn’t come through and my colleague was appointed. To save myself weeks of reliving the interview and to contain my envy, I began to write a book about back-packing in Australia. I joined a writing group which kept me focussed and I’ve now drafted on my third manuscript. Like many people, I always thought there was a book in me and because I don’t consider myself to be articulate, writing gives a form of expression that enables me to be spontaneous and fluent. I write because I find it hard to talk about the themes I want to share, issues around racism, alcoholism, domestic violence and homelessness. It all sounds very bleak but my characters are resilient.

What genre do you write in?
My novels fall under the category of contemporary women’s fiction. I’d like to move into literary fiction but my writing style will need some improvement to make the transition. I also write flash fiction, complete stories in anything from 75 words up to 1000. I love flash fiction, it’s like an antidote to the slog of completing a novel and I’ve had a few successes in getting work published. You’ll find my stories on line at websites such as Paragraph Planet, Five Stop Story, and Cafe Lit. I also write a regular column for What the Dickens? Magazine that answers writers’ questions.

Do you have a writing schedule, your normal writing day?
I write every day, getting up early in the morning to commit a couple of hours. On days when I’m not working, I also spend a good part of the day at my computer. I watch very little television and that frees up time in the evening for writing.

What’s the best writing environment for you – where you write?
I like writing in a quiet space. I’m not sure what the best writing environment is – I haven’t experimented with this. We have a family study that I share with everyone except my daughter who likes working in her bedroom. My husband and son play games on the desktop and I write on a notebook. Sometimes we sit alongside each other but that’s only possible when the headphones are in use. When I can’t stand the distraction, I work at the kitchen table.

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Who inspires you?
A couple of years ago I read a book called The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk. It’s set in Istanbul during the 1970s and is a story about obsessive love. I travelled through Turkey during 1981 on a double decker bus heading for to Kathmandu and I was therefore immediately drawn to the story. Pamuk is an intriguing story teller, who features as a minor character within the narrative and using all sorts of devices to hook the reader. I’m amazed at the prose, with one chapter titled ‘Sometimes’ where every sentence begins with this word.

If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
I’d like to write prose as good as Orhan Pamuk, but it’ll take a lot of dedication to get to there. In the meantime, I read the work of debut novelists to check on the competition. One author I’d particularly like to be compared with is Evie Wyld. Her first novel After The Fire A Still Small Voice is set in Australia and she does a wonderful job of intertwining the location with the characters and their motivations. Australia is like a second home, so I’d like to be as good as Evie Wyld in describing the country and the characters in my novel Manipulation

Tell us about your current WIP
I’m currently redrafting my first novel Manipulation ready to submit to a reader for comment as part of the New Writers’ Scheme with the Romantic Novelists’ Association. It’s a story
that explores the challenges of travelling through Outback Australia during the recession of the 1980s for a well-mannered 20-year-old-girl. Committed to making a success of the experience, Helen follows a difficult path and ultimately becomes involved with a manipulative older man. Misunderstanding and confusion force the couple to ricochet around the country until they finally settle in Sydney and address some of the issues in their relationship.

This year I’ve also had short stories included in three print anthologies. Here’s a photo of them.

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I think it’s great the way Gail works with and around the family :) in the evenings I do share my writing space with my husband, but I find it hinders me lol. Have you ever SHARED your writing space with someone else? Did it work?

If you’d like to read my post for the day, pop on over to Gails blog :)