This is one of those chatty posts, as though you and I might be sitting across a café table from each other and we are meeting for the first time. I’m drinking a cappuccino with a coffee macaron on the side. And you? You’re having a coffee as well? Excellent.
You want to know what I do?
Over the years, I’ve often commented on how inspirational Dorothy Dunnett’s writing has been to me as I tread the path.
Once a couple of years ago, I was asked to write a piece for the Dorothy Dunnett Society’s august journal, Whispering Gallery, on the nature of shock or more particularly, what I found to be the most shocking piece of writing in Dunnett.
When I write a novel, I always scan the screen for likely people to inspire my characters.
I will spend time watching their movements, how they speak, trying to pick up nuances that build brick upon brick.
So these are the faces/actors whose work helped me with Reliquary…
Recently I was offered an ARC of Paris in Ruins by MK Tod in return for an honest review.
Until now, my knowledge of MK Tod had been the most inspired surveys not just about historical fiction but about readers’ attitudes. In my opinion, her surveys are state of the art from year to year and required reading for any hist.fict author.
I hadn’t read any of her other work and had no idea of her creative style. I approached Paris in Ruins with some trepidation as it’s not a chosen timeframe and I may well have bypassed it on a shelf.
Simply, I would have missed a polished and well-contrived novel. What a beautifully written and well-framed and mounted drama.
What does one do while one is waiting for the editor to do his thing on one’s latest book?
Well I can’t in all honesty begin a new book, because I might get crossed-wires and confuse character arcs. But I have done a little reading, future proofing, if you like – about the great heresies of the twelfth centuries which is background for the next book.
Once, some time ago, 22nd December 2018 to be exact, I had a dream about a young illuminator monk.
Yesterday, I looked at the word count of Reliquary, my current manuscript, and realised I had passed the 100,000 mark. I was surprised. It seemed only a short time ago that I watched 50,000 tick over and then time just slowed and it seemed no matter how often I wrote, the numbers barely changed. Some days, I would delete a page or a paragraph. And at one point, I accidentally opened the file at the very beginning and decided I wanted to hit the readers pretty hard from the get-go and so added a kind of prologue to set the scene.
I have still to get the editor’s approval on that one but it works for me…