Today I am taking part in the Blog Blitz for No Place Like Home by Rebecca Muddiman. Today she will be sharing with us about her writing process. Bloodhound Books is the publisher.
What would you do if you came home to find someone in your house?
This is the predicament Polly Cooke faces when she returns to her new home.The first weeks in the house had been idyllic, but soon Jacob, a local man, is watching her.
What does he want and why is he so obsessed with Polly?
In a situation where nothing is what it seems, you might end up regretting letting some people in.
The Writing Process:
With my four previous books (and the unpublished books before that), I always planned in advance. I don’t like to plan in too much detail, preferring room to breathe and change things as necessary. But I still like to have some plan. Something to guide me along.
I usually start with the idea, developing it until I know who the characters are and the basic outline of the plot. I like to know the beginning and end and the main points in between. Once I have this, I write each plot point onto a card and spread them across the floor. This helps me see structure, pacing, where there are gaps (how to I get from here to there), and I can adjust things accordingly. When I’m happy, I write a chapter by chapter outline. Some chapters basically get one line – Gardner goes to visit so and so – but others get a bit more detail if I know specific things have to be said or done in that chapter, or maybe I’ve already come up with bits of dialogue.
Either way, once I’m finished I should have a guide for when I sit down every morning. Sometimes I end up going off book and add things I hadn’t planned for, or sometimes realise that something in the outline is actually unnecessary and skip it. I could never be one of those writers who plans every last detail in advance and sticks to it. Things come out while I’m writing that I hadn’t thought of while planning. I see links and opportunities. The characters develop as I write them and that offers new directions to go in, twists I hadn’t seen coming. So I like to have some directions to follow but also the freedom to ignore them if I want to.
So that’s how I usually write. But with No Place Like Home, all that went out the window. I don’t know if it was because I was writing something totally different. I’d spent the last few years working on four novels in a series and wanted to try something new. So I decided I was going to try and write in a new way too.
I had a vague idea for the plot and a main character, but I didn’t really know who this person was or why they were doing what they were doing. I knew how it would begin but not how it would end. I was just going to sit down and write.
So I did.
And I got about ten thousand words before I had a meltdown. The words were coming, but I had no idea where they were going. There were some parts I liked, but not knowing where I was heading was scary. What if I got to the end and it just fizzled out? Or what if it was all just nonsense? What if there was no cohesion whatsoever?
So I stopped. I didn’t write at all for a couple of weeks. I felt paralyzed by it. It was suggested to me that I take a step back and do what I’d normally do and come up with a plan. I’d tried something new and it wasn’t working. People write in different ways and clearly this way wasn’t working for me.
But I’m stubborn. I wanted to see it through. I decided even if it was a mess at the end, at least there’d be something to work with. It’s the same with any first draft. So I went back to it and kept on writing. I’d sit down every day and start, not knowing what I was going to say. And eventually I started to enjoy it. I was surprising myself. Shocking myself sometimes. Some days I’d come away from the desk feeling a bit sick, a bit uncomfortable with what was coming out of my mind. There were things in the first draft which subsequently came out because it was a bit … too far. Other days this feeling pleased me. It felt like the writing was more brutal, but also more honest.
Without giving anything away, I think I was about two thirds of the way through when I realised what would happen in the last few chapters. I knew it was inevitable, I just didn’t know for which characters. But I think I always knew the ending. Maybe not how it would happen, just that it had to somehow. Of that, if nothing else, I was certain.
Would I use the same method again? Maybe. The book I started after No Place Like Home was a historical novel, based on a true story, so had to be planned carefully. But writing without a plan can be the best way to surprise yourself. And if you’re writing a crime novel, surprising yourself is probably the best way to surprise your readers too.
About the Author:
Rebecca Muddiman was born and raised in the North East and worked in the NHS for many years. She has published four crime novels – Stolen, Gone, Tell Me Lies, and Murder in Slow Motion. Stolen won a Northern Writers Award in 2010 and the Northern Crime Competition in 2012. She is also a screenwriter and was selected for the London Screenwriters Festival Talent Campus in 2016.
Most of her spare time is spent re-watching Game of Thrones, trying to learn Danish, and dealing with two unruly dogs. Sometimes all at the same time.
Today I am on the blog tour for Oh Crumbs by Kathryn Freeman! This is a cute chick lit novel brought to you by the publisher Choc Lit (You have to love their name: I know I do!) There is also an international giveaway going on!!!
Sometimes life just takes the biscuit …
Abby Spencer knows she can come across as an airhead – she talks too much and is a bit of a klutz – but there’s more to her than that. Though she sacrificed her career to help raise her sisters, a job interview at biscuit company Crumbs could finally be her chance to shine. That’s until she hurries in late wearing a shirt covered in rusk crumbs, courtesy of her baby nephew, and trips over her handbag.
Managing director Douglas Faulkner isn’t sure what to make of Abby Spencer with her Bambi eyes, tousled hair and ability to say more in the half-hour interview than he manages in a day. All he knows is she’s a breath of fresh air and could bring a new lease of life to the stale corporate world of Crumbs. To his life too, if he’d let her.
But Doug’s harbouring a secret. He’s not the man she thinks he is.
Win a paperback copy of Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Book Description for Too Damn Nice:
Do nice guys stand a chance?
Lizzie Donavue went from being the sister of his best friend to the girl Nick Templeton most wants to kiss. On her birthday, he finally summons up the courage to make his move. But it looks like Nick’s missed his chance when he discovers that Lizzie has been offered a modelling contract, which will take her away to the glamorous fashion scenes of New York and Los Angeles.
Nick is forced to watch from the sidelines as the gawky teenager he knew is transformed into Elizabeth Donavue: top model and ultimate English rose pin-up, forever caught in a whirlwind of celebrity parties with the next up-and-coming Hollywood bad boy by her side.
But then Lizzie’s star-studded life comes crashing down around her, and a guy like Nick could be just what she needs. Will she take a chance on him? Or is he just too damn nice?
About the Author:
A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.
With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.[Top]
Today I am interviewing LV Hay on the blog tour for Do No Harm! The publisher is Orenda Books.
Till death do us part…
After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.
JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! I’m Lucy V Hay, also known as ‘LV Hay’ (a wily disguise, I’m sure you will agree). I’m a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers. I live in Devon, UK with my husband, three kids, five cats and a bunch of African Land Snails.
JRR: Nice to meet you LV! (Yes, the name is a brilliant disguise! 😉 ) Did you always want to become an author?
Yes! I absolutely did. My mum had a big bookcase on the landing in the house where I grew up. I had to go past it every time I went to the loo. I saw everyone’s names on the spines and thought it must be the COOLEST thing to have your name on the book. I still do! Sometimes I look at my bookcase and see my name there and I still can’t believe it.
JRR: And look at you now: You have written several books! I’m sure your younger self would be so excited at what you have accomplished!
Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up? Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?
I was a big Enid Blyton fan growing up. She was massively prolific, but I feel fairly safe saying I read all of her books, even the obscure ones like The Six Bad Boys. Though I didn’t know why at the time, having studied the craft since, I understand now what I loved about her books: 1) her tight and polished plotting. The set ups and pay offs are seamless and 2) her larger-than-life characters. Mallory Towers was my favourite series of hers and even though I read the books twenty five years ago, I still remember them all: our heroine, Darrell; Sally, Darrell’s level-headed best friend; Felicity, Darrell’s younger sister; Gwendoline, the form’s spoilt martyr; Alicia, who is sharp tongued, competitive and intelligent (and my fave!); Mary-Lou, small and timid, but very kind-hearted; Irene, scatter-brained music and maths genius; Belinda, scatter-brained artistic genius; Jean, shrewd and straightforward, and Wilhelmina (Bill), completely horse-mad. It was so great to read such an eclectic mix of female characters!
JRR: Who is your favorite author as an adult? Who inspires you?
Oh goodness, I couldn’t decide on just ONE! I love domestic noir, so authors like Paula Daly, Sharon Bolton, Belinda Bauer and Gillian Flynn are way up there for me. I also enjoy the work of horror masters like Stephen King, Clive Barker and Joe Hill. I also really enjoy literary fiction, so have been loving the work of Celeste Ng, Matt Bondurant and Kit De Waal lately. Really, I love a good story, well told and am up for finding it.
JRR: There are too many authors to choose from! What inspires you to write?
I don’t know if I am inspired to write so much as COMPELLED. I have actually tried giving up writing many times, only to find myself creating stories whilst washing up or cleaning the loo. I just can’t help myself!!!
JRR: It’s beause that is what you are MEANT to do! It’s your calling! Now, what does your writing process consist of?
I try not to write, because I am a writer and therefore it’s more difficult for me than most people! No seriously, I always believe one’s best writing is done by thinking. This means I like to research – A LOT! If I am not researching, I like to go for long walks and make notes on my phone as I go; I will listen to music at the same time. I live in Devon, UK so there are plenty of beautiful places to do this. Trees help me write. Thanks trees!
JRR: What made you choose to write suspense/thrillers? What is your favorite book and/or movie of this genre?
I actually write in lots of different genres/styles, but I chose suspense thrillers because it’s ultimately what I love to read. I read more mysteries – especially those set in or around the home – than any other kind of book. Like many writers, it was Gone Girl that prompted me to try my hand in this genre. I love Gillian Flynn’s writing and the renewed interest in the domestic setting made me think about what I could bring to the storyworld through my love of diverse characters and social media … So I came up with my debut, The Other Twin!
JRR: Where did the idea for Do No Harm come from?
Like Lily, I was a single mother ‘back in the day’ and I had many friends who were single mums, too. Finding the ‘right’ new partner when there is a child in the house is no mean feat. Add an ex-partner into the mix who does not want to let go makes it EVEN more difficult! I have experience with this, as do some of my friends and let’s just say that most of what happens stem from REAL events, stitched together!
JRR: Did you base any character off anyone you know? Or maybe because of the type of novel it is this is an answer better left unanswered…
Haha yes, no thank you! 😉
JRR: If you could have dinner with three people (living or dead) who would they be and why?
Ooooh goodness, again – so hard to choose. I think Maya Angelou, because she was a great inspiration to me when I was a teenage mother. I think I would also like Clive Barker at this dinner party, because his writing really kept me going as a teen and of course Prince, who is an utter genius and whose music I listen to every single day.
JRR: Good choices! Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?
Secret History by Donna Tart. Everyone seems to have read it except me! Ooops …
JRR: I havent, so you aren’t the only one to not read it yet! 😉 What’s the best advice you have ever received?
‘Ignore all advice … except for the good stuff. You’ll know it when you hear it.’ I wish I could remember who said this to me, or where I read it, but it’s GOLD!
JRR: Thank you so much for your time with this interview!
About the Author:
Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Do No Harm is out now and her crime debut for Orenda Books The Other Twin, has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine. Check out all her books, here.
Here is the entire blog tour: