Blog Tour Monday

Just a little something for a Monday where otherwise I’m supposed to be writing a better ending for my novel. More on that in a moment. I was asked onto the Blog Bus by David Hartley, and you can go here to catch up on his answers from last week. He has a jolly good blog, as well, which is what the Blog Tour is all about. Finding new blogs. Meeting new writers. It’s great!

Dan Carpenter has got to it first. Read his answers here.

And now read mine:


What am I working on?

My debut novel, The Summer of Secrets, which will be out next, well, summer. I was lucky enough to have this picked up at an early stage by both an agent and a publisher, and I finished the first lot of major edits in a concentrated and self-imposed week of isolation over New Year. Now I’m trying to make the ending better. It’s getting there…

I’m also editing an anthology of literature in translation. The work involved was produced during a series of workshops making up an optional part of the MMU MA. Most of the other students taking part were poets, and I surprised myself by knocking out a sonnet or two of my own. It’s very exciting to be revisiting some really excellent writing. The anthology will be out sometime between Easter and the end of summer. I’ll keep you posted.


How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I’m not sure that I really write in a genre. It’s a literary fiction coming-of-age sort of thing. My agent says I remind her of Daphne du Maurier. I’m more than happy with that!

And, just moving on from the differing bit, the other day my twelve year old son was listening in to a conversation I was having with his sister about some of the changes I was making. When I left the room for a moment, he asked, ‘Is Mum’s book meant to be for children?’ ‘No.’ ‘Thank goodness for that. It sounds really boring.’ He also joined in a discussion about possible ending: ‘What you need is zombies!’

My genre is not twelve year old boy stuff.


Why do I write what I do?

I used to write stories when I was little, untroubled by why I was doing it and what I sounded like. Then I became all self-conscious. I remember only being able to write in the style of whoever I was reading at the time, so I’d have a paragraph as Virginia Woolf, one as Jane Austen, yet another as Françoise Sagan. I was always, always going to be a writer. I just never managed to get past the first chapter.

But even when I wasn’t really writing anything much, I was constantly novelising my world internally. I thought everyone did it.

Our writing workshops started in the second term of the MA, overseen by the lovely Paul Magrs. He asked us to write three sentences about our novels-to-be. I wrote one sentence of the one I was allegedly working on, and two about the novel I wanted to write. That’s now The Summer of Secrets. 


How does my writing process work?

I get a deadline. That’s very important. Then I leave it just a little too late to start. I take the dog for a walk, telling myself that I’m letting my subconscious work. I wait until I feel a bit sick. Then I stay up very late and somehow the pages fill up.


Ooh, nomination time! I am passing on the torch of literary inspiration to the grand spymaster Graeme Shimmin, and fellow Moniack Maniac Louise Swingler, described by the Arachne Press as ‘slightly mad and extremely courageous’ for leaving a well-paid job to move up North and write for a living. Over to you, chaps.






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