Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Perfect Dead by Jackie Baldwin - #LoveBooksGroupTours

#LoveBooksGroupTours #PerfectDead

I'm absolutely delighted to be hosting Jackie Baldwin on the blog today, as part of the tour for her latest book, Perfect Dead which was released on June 15th

I first met Jackie through Bloody Scotland - we were both Crime in the Spotlight authors in 2016, and we've kept in touch and met up again for lunches over the years. Her first novel, Dead Man's Prayer was released to great acclaim and fans of her ex-priest detective, DI Frank Farrell will love the new novel.

Today, Jackie wants to share with you her thoughts about finding the perfect work-life balance.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Writing scrapbooks

For each novel I've written, I have a scrapbook. In fact, for several books I have more than one! In these scrapbooks, I keep initial thoughts, plot outlines, notes developing the plot, notes on each character, notes on each scene before it gets written, notes for when I'm editing... it's great fun looking back through them and if I ever feel unsure about what I'm writing, or uninspired, all I need to do is flip through them to get enthused or for the ideas to start flowing again.

sample page from a notebook
(absolutely no copyright infringement intended!)
They're mostly A4 in size, though recently I've had a bit of a shift towards B5 size (especially for using in my writing folder) and often lined, though a couple are plain. The best bit about them are the pictures and drawings. The notebooks genuinely are scrapbooks! As well as all the notes, there are pictures pasted in from magazines of interiors - how I imagine the characters' houses look. As you can see in the picture at the side, I have an image of what a bedroom looks like (and also an image of what a character might be wearing).

I've also added in property schedules sometimes - it can be very inspiring to do a search on the property websites, looking for the kind of house you imagine the characters to live in (or aspire to), even if the only thing that really makes it into a book is the layout of the place.

I also draw in the books. I (amazingly) have an 'O' level in art and used to enjoy sketching, so there are sketches of layouts/items/locations etc. in the notebooks. There are also drawings of costumes. I'm not great at drawing people (at least, not with faces - I'm quite good at drawing the rest!) and so there are also pictures of people pasted in - usually actors or people from clothing catalogues. Clothing catalogues can be a great resource not just for what the people look like but for outfits - what the characters might wear (even if they don't look like the models).

I'm trying to make a note of what music I've been listening to for each book too. Listening to the music again is one of the quickest ways to get me back into a book if I've been away from it for any time - but I'm not good at noting it down at the time.

These notebooks will make almost no sense to most people, but to me, they are an inherent part of the process of writing a book and something I cherish.

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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Decluttering... home and mind

Actually, for me, decluttering the home makes my brain feel a lot less cluttered too. Not that you would always know it to look at my desk, but I can get overwhelmed with objects. If there's too much stuff around, my brain gets agitated.

My desk can be a veritable sea of stuff sometimes, but I seem fairly blind to that! But too much stuff in the rest of the house unsettles me. It's why when people ask me what I want for Christmas or birthday, I usually say "nothing - please give a donation to charity instead". I have more things than I need and there are too many people in the world who don't have enough. In fact, Christmas in general makes me feel ill - so many people buying so much stuff that the recipients rarely want or need. The waste appals me. Please, just give the money to charity.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Back to work...

We had an amazing time away, but now it's time to get my backside back in the chair (metaphorically, as I tend to stand to write, rather than sit) and get back to doing some writing.

I'm trying to get some work done on the first book of the trilogy while "Liars" is away with Gillian for editing. I've been thinking about it quite a lot while I was on Lewis and Harris so hopefully, my head is in approximately the right place to get stuck in.

And the weather has finally broken! It was wall to wall sunshine here before we went away and then the same on Lewis and Harris, but it's cloudy now - much more conducive to writing than scorching sun and enticing shady corners in the garden. (Much as I adore being outside, I never get quite as much writing done while sitting outside as I think I will - I'm too distracted by all the wildlife!)

My batteries are recharged, I have a stack of new notebooks clamouring to be written in... time to get back to writing.

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