Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Book Finds: January 2017

Each month I showcase a small selection of books that I have loved reading. Some of them might be best sellers, but the majority of them won't be.

So, what treats do I have to share with you this month?

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Goodbyes are always difficult...

I've finished editing "Poisonous Minds" (crack open the fizz!) and so it's almost time to say goodbye to this lot of characters...

It can be difficult. I've lived with these characters for years now. They've gone from initial scribbles in a notebook to feeling like real people to me. I've laughed with them, cried over them, loved them, wanted to murder them. Have murdered some of them... but now, it's time to open a new notebook, fill up a fountain pen and start living with some new people.

Many years ago, I wrote a short story that was selected for the book "Almost An Island (An Anthology of Fife Writers)". The story was called "The Writer" and in it, the characters from a writer's book emerged from the ether in her head and into reality. They were physically real and started to badger her about the plot of the book. They didn't like what she was doing and wanted her to change it all. The book reflected how I feel about my characters. They become so real to me that they do talk to me. They do want to change the plot (sometimes for the better, but not always!) and I do feel bereft when their story is finished and it's time to focus on someone else.

My head is a crowded place a lot of the time, full of characters nagging at me. I write to get them out of my head and onto the paper because (mostly) they shut up then. Although, that then just leaves a space for someone new to fill.

So, at the moment, it's farewell to Tom and Hannah and Alys - the three main characters in "Poisonous Minds" - and hello to...

Ah. Yes. Who is shouting the loudest at the moment? Summer and LB from their next book? Finn and Reagan from The Trilogy? Or James and Anna from another thriller?

You know... they're all being pretty loud and obnoxious right now, yelling, "My turn! My turn! Me! Pick me!"

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The End is Nigh...

Well, only the end of editing "Poisonous Minds" which will hopefully be the next book to be published, but that feels like a massive milestone, given how much I've been struggling with it and how long it now is since I first started writing it!

I started "Poisonous Minds" in 2013 and finished the first draft by early 2014. It then got left alone while I wrote the first two books of an urban fantasy trilogy (written during 2014-2015). That done, I went back to "Poisonous Minds" (which at this point was still called "Six Deaths").

Roughly this time last year (January 2016), "Six Deaths" went off to beta readers with a feedback sheet and an alternate ending and two alternate titles ("Adapt or Die" and "Poisonous Minds") and I edited what I'd done of the urban fantasy trilogy while I waited for their feedback to arrive.

Most of my beta readers got their feedback to me by the end of March and I made various changes to "Poisonous Minds" over Spring of 2016 - just before and just after the launch of "The Wrong Kind of Clouds".

And that's when it all started to grind to a halt!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

2017... plans, plans, plans!

Books, books, books!

I have a slight feeling of deja vu as I write this... I seem to recall writing a post about this time last year on my plans for 2016, most of which didn't quite pan out as hoped. I got a lot of stuff done in 2016, it just wasn't necessarily quite what I'd planned to do!

But, ever the optimist, I've put pen to paper (naturally... I'm an analogue lass!) and drawn up a scarily large list of writing projects that I want to complete. This year, however, I've not put any deadlines on the list. Cunning, huh?

What I would really like to achieve this year is to get "Poisonous Minds" published and have at least one other book ready to publish (if not actually published). I have a whole heap of other writing-related goals too, but those two are the main ones.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Meet the Author: Jackie Baldwin

Jackie Baldwin
Photo credit: Kim Ayres
This month's author under the spotlight is fellow Spotlighter at "Bloody Scotland" - Jackie Baldwin. Thank you so much for letting me grill you, Jackie!

Hi Amanda,
First of all, I would like to wish you and your followers a very Happy New Year!

Your first novel, "Dead Man’s Prayer" features a detective who’s an ex-priest. What made you choose this unconventional background for him?
I didn’t do it to be different. It was simply that as I had attended the local Benedictine Convent School I grew up steeped in that background. I came across various priests. It seemed to me a rather lonely, isolated life where, of necessity, at times you must be at war with yourself. It also lends itself to such meaty themes as guilt and redemption. I wanted to write about a Detective who is a bit ‘other.’

"Dead Man’s Prayer" is described as the first in a series. Did you always intend to write a series? How many in the series are currently planned out?
I certainly hoped to write a series. I am currently writing the second book but do have lots of ideas for future stories.

You’ve also had short stories published. Do you have a writing preference: short story? Or novel?
I have only had one short story published and definitely prefer novels. I believe a lot of novelists start off by writing short stories but I started off writing drama as that was what was happening locally at the time. Short stories rather terrify me, to be honest. I will have to apply myself to learning how to do them.