Life in Fiction

Writers, what do your characters DO? When they’re not catching criminals, falling in love, crossing the ocean or solving mysteries, what to they do?

Readers, have you ever thought outside the book? Have you ever wondered what the characters you’ve come to know and love do when they’re not cavorting across the pages of your books?

Or have you, the author, told your readers already? Have you included the characters hobbies and interests as part of their story, part of revealing their character? Because, let’s face it, we all do something in our spare time, even if it’s sitting in front of the tv, or falling asleep on the couch. Our interests and hobbies tell a lot about us.

If someone tells you they like to go scuba diving and hillwalking, you quickly get the impression they are pretty active, energetic, out-doorsy. If they say they like to go fishing, taking the dog for a walk in the park, doing a bit of gardening, you’ll think of them as a little less adventurous but still active and still enjoy being in the fresh air. What about stamp collecting, video-gaming, knitting, reading – quieter pursuits? Perhaps they’re altogether quieter and prefer to be indoors.

Sometimes you meet someone who likes a real mixture of all of the above. Maybe most of the people you know like doing a good mix of things.

But, whatever it is they do, it can shape how they live their lives. It dictates how they use their time, how they spend their money, how much they interact with other people.

As writers, if we want to make our characters live on the page, if we want our readers to identify with them, feel they know them, almost expect to bump into them on the street, then we need to think about what our characters do when they’re not rushing about through the main plot of the story. We might only allude to it in passing, or we might build the story round it. Either way, it can enhance our writing to give our characters a hobby, an interest, a passion.

As readers, do you find it helps you identify with the character who enjoys gardening, as you do? Or who scuba dives like you’d like to? Who horse rides? Or who plays video games? Or knits? Or sews?

In my latest release, Gold Plated, my main character, Rosanna, loves to paint, to design clothes and to make them. She’s enjoyed these pursuits since she was a young girl.

Can you imagine her lying on the grass in her mother’s garden, sketching the shrubs and trees, painting the flowers? Or sitting at the patio table taking inspiration from the colours and shapes of the flowers for the next dress she intends to design and make?

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What about now she’s older? Can you picture her sitting in her conservatory, looking out at her garden, still allowing nature to inspire the dresses she designs

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What does her interest in such a pursuit, and the fact it has been the interest of a lifetime, tell you about her? She’s turned seventy now and it’s still her passion. Does that help you picture her?

Perhaps if she tells you about the dress she’s designed and made for her Golden Wedding Anniversary party:

“The dress I’m going to wear tonight is hidden in the wardrobe till later. I want it to be a surprise for Paul. He hasn’t seen it yet and has no idea of the peaceful hours I’ve spent sewing while he’s been out and about. It makes me smile every time I open the wardrobe door, push aside the things it hides behind, and see my handiwork hanging there. Inspired by the pale, creamy-yellow, woodland primroses that bloom in our garden every spring, designed and fashioned over the summer months after their faded beauty folded and faded further, it has been such a delight to make. Impossible to improve on nature, all I could do was allow the delicate flowers to inform my eye and guide my hand as I sketched and painted, desiring to capture the essence of their beauty in the spring to infuse into my work in the summer.
The chiffon material I sought out is gossamer thin and beautiful, the colour soft as sunshine on a misty day, and the dress slips over my still-trim figure in flattering, floaty, fluted layers to just below my knees.
Being so fine, it is one of the most difficult materials I have ever worked with, but worth every painstaking moment of the hours and days it took to cut and sew. Even the buttery silk lining had to be handled gently. Never have I worked so slowly and never have I been so rewarded for my care.
My fingers melt with pleasure as they linger on the fabric, and I long to feel my creation slip over my body to caress my skin.
I thrill with contented anticipation.”

~~~

Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage.

Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, all their friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul.

What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

Gold Plated is available right now on Amazon Kindle. You can read it FREE if you have Amazon Prime. And the paperback will be published in a few weeks.

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Click here to buy Gold Plated on Amazon Kindle

Give yourself a treat!

Enjoy!

101 Names to Conjure With

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These are my published novels. Don’t you just love the covers?

I’m looking forward to showing you the cover to the next novel, called For What it’s Worth, which will be coming soon. I’ve done the writing, the rewriting, the editing, the proofreading, the polishing, the cover is underway, and it’s almost ready to go to the publisher. Yay!

So what’s next, you may well ask. And I’ll tell you.

My next WIP is called Gold Plated. I completed the first draft some time ago and am about to embark on the second draft. This is the time when my mind keeps going back to the story and the characters. I’ve let it marinate for a few months, since November actually. It was my November 2016 NaNoWriMo novel, so it has marinated for almost eight months and it’s started to bubble up into my consciousness again.

During the writing of the first draft, I became unhappy with the name I had chosen for one of my characters, and I am ready to think about what she should be called instead. She’s not a Rose or a Violet, nor is she a Tabitha or a Geraldine. Because she is my character, created in my imagination, I can call her whatever I want to, but I’d like it to be a name that fits her and the story.

She is a feisty, Scottish lady in her early fifties, but she was named by her much gentler, artistic mother. If you stop and think about it, a mother has no idea at all what her child will turn out like, so she can hardly choose a name that will describe that child’s nature as she grows and matures. It’s a fortunate coincidence when the name happens to fit in real life, an easier thing to pull off by the creator of fiction. So am I looking for a name a gentle, artistic soul might name her daughter, but that actually suits the daughter’s stronger, feisty nature? Or might it be fun if it turns out the mother chose a name that really doesn’t suit at all? Any thoughts?

I put this question to a group of FaceBook friends, and we had a lot of fun with their suggestions. I must have at least 101 names to conjure with, and a short list that’s not much shorter. I wondered if you’d care to join the fun and help me out at the same time.

Just tell me in the comments what you think would be a flowery, artistic name that a feisty, fiery lady would love or hate to be called. Either way, it will be fun to get your suggestions. They may add to my shortlist or help me whittle it down. Who knows, you may be the one who comes up with the name I settle on.

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To read more about, or buy any of  my published books:

Please click the link to

Christine Campbell Amazon Author page

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Interview with Christine Campbell

It was such a pleasure to be interviewed by Elizabeth Hein for her blog. She asked some interesting questions about my writing process and the theme that runs through all my novels.

Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling In The Storage Room

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It’s my pleasure to welcome Christine Campbell to the Storage Room today. Rusty Gold, the third book in her Reluctant Detective Series, was released yesterday so it’s a real treat to talk with her today. Christine and I write in the same genre and tend to address many of the same issues, but in very different ways. I love how that happens. Anyway, here’s Christine –

What genre books do you write?

Contemporary Women’s Fiction, though some of them almost fall into the cosy mystery/cosy crime sort of area.

What types of books do you typically read?

Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Cosy Crime, Mystery, Legal/courtroom novels, Relationship novels (not really romance)

Whatever I read, I like it to be a ‘clean’ read, as in no swearing, sex or violence. I’m also not into fantasy or science fiction – and especially not paranormal or supernatural.

So I suppose I have a…

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How to Plan a Writers’ Retreat

Ever thought about planning your very own Writers’ Retreat?

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I suspect most authors dream of a quiet cottage somewhere away from the day-to-day routine, somewhere to concentrate on getting that first draft finished, or that tricky edit done, a place conducive to writing with as few distractions as possible.

The ones you see advertised in writing magazines always look terrific, but are often expensive. Then there’s the uncomfortable feeling that you won’t know anyone. What if you have to share a room? What if there are people there that you just don’t gel with? What if not everyone is serious about getting on with writing and they see the week as an excuse to party?

So many reasons to never get around to indulging in the luxury of a writers’ retreat.

But what if you were the organiser? You, or your friends? Many of these doubts and worries would be alleviated. You could choose the location, the price, and the company. You could set the tone.

For the past few years, that is exactly what my writing friends and I have done.

So, how do we go about it?

Perhaps the first decision has to be who to go with. That was an easy one for us because we had already formed a small Writers’ Club, PenPals. We are friends who got to know one another through our love of writing, and, although there are some ten or so of us, nominally, there are three of us who meet regularly, so three of us who have gone away together the last few years. The first time, there were four of us, but we haven’t managed more than that at any one retreat. We have found three or four to work well, though I can imagine six or eight would still be manageable, if you found a large enough cottage.

The beauty of the smaller number is privacy.

When we went away in March, this year, the cottage was large enough that we could have a room each, great if someone snores! And great for being able to write without distraction.

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The second decision is where to go.

This is not difficult. There are always going to be a few deciding factors: price; availability, and suitability among the important ones.

Let’s deal with suitability first.

Suitability might include size. How many of you are committed to the venture? Are you willing to share two to a room? These factors will help determine the size of cottage you need.

Suitability might also include location. How far are you willing to travel? Is there an obvious halfway point between your various homes? Is there a pleasant area nearby, where there are holiday cottages for rent? Is the cottage somewhere suitably quiet? Renting one in a holiday park may not be conducive to quiet reflection and peaceful writing.

Next, you might consider price.

How much will your share of the rental, the petrol and the food be? How much are you each willing to pay? If you have a figure in mind, it might help you narrow down any options.

Obviously, the price will vary depending on the size of the cottage, but it will also vary depending on when you choose to go. Most holiday cottages are cheaper ‘off-season’ when the demand for them is lower.

Armed with information like that, you can then go on-line to look for your retreat.

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This last time, in March, we went a little further afield than usual, paid a little more than usual and had a bigger cottage. The main reason was because one of our members was writing a book set in that particular area and we wanted to support her in exploring it. We didn’t regret the decision to go there. It was a fabulous cottage in a stunning location, here in Scotland on a hill overlooking Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle.

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Okay! So let’s say you have chosen your company, your location, your price. You’ve booked your cottage and you’re ready to go.

What now?

How do you turn a few friends holidaying together in a cottage into a Writers’ Retreat?

In my next post, we will discuss what to do to get the maximum benefit from your inspirational break.

~~~

Christine Campbell Fascinating I Am

Usually, I try not to make WriteWhereYouAre all about me, by reblogging interesting articles from others’ blogs, or writing about things other than my books. Occasionally I share one of my poems or a poem or short story someone else has written. All in an attempt to interest and entertain you.

As part of the promotion of my new novel, Searching for Summer, I have the privilege of writing some guest posts for other bloggers, being interviewed by some others, and having my book reviewed by yet others, so please bear with me over the next few weeks as I share these various posts here on my own blog.

I shall try to intersperse these promotional posts with posts about other things and other people, but I am kinda hoping you’ll forgive me for being a wee bittie excited about my new book and wanting to talk about it more than a wee bittie!

Author and blogger, Anna Stenhouse, invited me to write a piece for her blog, Novels Now. Her theme for guest pieces is ‘Fascinating I am,’ and she invited me to share five fascinating facts about myself. Well, I wrinkled my brow, scratched my head, and hummed and hawed, and came up with five facts about myself. Whether they fascinate is another matter, which I shall leave up to your judgement. I hope you at least find them interesting.

Novels Now

Christine Campbell Christine Campbell

Christine Campbell, novelist, Women’s Contemporary fiction is the first Fascinating I Am subject of 2015. welcome to Novels Now, Christine.

First of all, I have to say, “What a heading to live up to!” I doubt if ‘fascinating’ is an adjective often used of me — but I like it!

Fascinating Fact One:

I don’t have a favourite colour, book, song, child or grandchild.

Just as I love different colours for different reasons because they are all different, so it is with books, songs, my children, and my grandchildren. I think it is amazing how love stretches and deepens. When stretched, it doesn’t get thinner so it can go further. It just grows and makes it possible to love more.

Fascinating Fact Two:

When I was approaching forty, I decided I’d like to trace my birth father. The only thing I knew about him was his name…

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Balancing Act

Samantha Dunaway Bryant was kind enough to ask me to be a guest on her blog, Balancing Act, and I’m delighted to share the post, and to direct you to her excellent blog:

http://samanthadunawaybryant.blogspot.co.uk
Balancing Act
Guest Posting: Christine Campbell, Author of Searching for Summer
Posted: 16 Feb 2015 03:00 AM PST
It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Christine Campbell, a new novelist friend of mine, and someone who understands balances family and a writing life. Enjoy her guest post! Love, Samantha.
_____________________________________

Searching for Summer FinalIn my latest book, Searching for Summer, Mirabelle, the main protagonist discovers at a young age that writing has power:

‘Learning to read and write turned lights on for Mirabelle: the realisation she had such an awesome tool of communication shone brightly for one so young. Stories in her childish printing lined the classroom wall, interspersed with those of her classmates, although praise and recognition had dried up at home since her father’s departure.
Writing made her feel good.
She instinctively knew she held in her hand the ability to reach other people, even her father in his distant home. She had looked at the map in the classroom, standing on a chair, her little finger tracing the distance from Scotland to Jamaica, her young brain computing, if the whole island in which Edinburgh was a tiny speck, smaller than the full stop she’d learned to put at the end of her sentences, if the whole island of Great Britain was narrower than her finger, then the large expanse of ocean wider than both her hands put together meant Jamaica was a world away. Out of reach of her presence but, thanks to the postal service she had learned about at school, not out of reach of her pencil.’

In that respect, at least, I have something in common with the character I created — or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say she has something in common with me. Like Mirabelle, learning to read and write ‘turned lights on’ for me.
From very young, I used books as a refuge, a place to escape the harshness of reality, and writing as a way to express the effects of that reality.
As I grew up, married and had a family, reading and writing still played an important place in my life, but it had to play a lesser part to the day to day needs of my children, so I wrote short stories and an occasional column for the Women’s page of a weekly newspaper. But there were novels bubbling away inside my head, stories that couldn’t be told in a mere 1,000 or 2,000 words. They needed a bigger canvas. So, as my children became less dependent on me for filling their needs, I started writing novels.
I have been richly blessed in my life because I met and married my best friend, and he has always understood my need to write in order to make sense of the emotions and stories that swirl about inside me that can only be expressed that way. He is ‘an enabler’ and he has always tried to give me space and time to write.
Still, it is a balancing act. Everyone has obligations to fulfil, whether they be work, children, older parents or dependent spouses. Whether we have meals to prepare, books to balance, shelves to stack or boards to sit on.
Writing, for most people, has to be balanced against these other responsibilities. And that’s not always easy. There are those whose work is their writing, and perhaps the rest of us envy them, thinking it would be luxury. I doubt it. If writing is their work, then it, in itself, becomes an obligation.
But the lights ‘turned on’ by learning to read and write have never dimmed for me. Reading and writing give so much joy. I am passionate about them both. Now that the children are all married and having children of their own, I have so much more time to indulge that passion, to feel that joy. My days now would feel empty if I was prevented from tapping out my novels.
Just as learning to read and write turned on lights, so too did discovering the power of the author. As creator of our characters, we have the power to dump our negative emotions on their shoulders: ‘There you are! Get out of that one!’ We can allow them to sample pleasures we may never have time or opportunity to sample ourselves: ‘There you are. Is that not wonderful?’ And we can give them the comeback lines we wish we’d said.
Such power. Such pleasure. Such joy.
There are many things in my life that I juggle with, many things I love and want to do well, but I hope writing will always be one of the clubs twirling up there in the stratosphere of my imagination, falling neatly into my hand and onto the page.

~~~

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Searching for Summer is my latest novel, and the first in a new series about Mirabelle, a very reluctant detective.
It is set in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland.

“Mirabelle loved living in Edinburgh: loved the atmosphere created by a city whose main shopping street looked across the road to a castle, Edinburgh Castle standing guard over Princes Street, its severe façade softened by the gardens skirting it, the gardens themselves cocooned from the bustle and noise, folded into their own tree-lined valley, with paths dipping into and out of its depths.
She knew the adage, Edinburgh was ‘all fur coat and nae knickers.’ She was well acquainted with its underbelly, its darker side, saw its dirty linen, but loved it anyway.”

And, as the blurb on the back of the book says:

“Mirabelle’s daughter, Summer, disappears one Friday night, and Mirabelle would dearly love to rewind that day and live it differently. Instead, she is left not knowing if Summer is alive or dead, went of her own accord or was taken against her will.
Casting all other concerns aside – food, sleep, work, relationships – in her desperate need to find the answers, she takes to the streets of Edinburgh in search of Summer.
Searching along wynds snaking behind old buildings, through ancient doors and tiny spiral stairways, showing Summer’s photograph to everyone she meets in shops, museums and nightclubs, Mirabelle becomes a reluctant detective, gathering clues, trying to make sense of them in order to find her missing daughter.”

So Mirabelle leads us through the streets of Edinburgh, up hills and through wynds, into parks and garden, and hidden courtyards. We get to see Edinburgh and Mirabelle at their best and worst as Mirabelle searches for her daughter — and keeps finding other people.

Searching for Summer
Available to buy now
on Amazon
http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00TDYRLGK

FeadaRead.com
http://www.feedaread.com/books/Searching-for-Summer-9781785104879.aspx

or to order in bookstores
ISBN 9781785104879

 

Searching for Summer

Yes, I know! I’m a bit early. We’re still waiting for spring, here in Scotland.

That’s if I was searching for summer, all lower case. But I’m not.

I’m Searching for Summer, or, at least, the main character in my brand new novel is.

Searching for Summer

The first book in the The reluctant Detective Series.

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And, before I tell you anything about the book itself, I have to tell you how delighted I am with the cover! The artwork is by Michelle Campbell, and I am delighted to have the original 27x36cm, signed, framed painting on my wall. It is beautiful.

There is more of Michelle’s paintings on her Instagram page, SHELLSBELLSART, and she can be contacted on fragglecamp (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested in commissioning her for your book cover.

Tim Pow converted the painting into the book cover, another great job, and Tim can be contacted via his website http://www.timpowfilms.net

He made a fantastic job of the back cover too:

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 So what is Searching for Summer about?

The first novel in The Reluctant Detective Series.

Mirabelle’s daughter, Summer, disappears one Friday night, and Mirabelle would dearly love to rewind that day and live it differently. Instead, she is left not knowing if Summer is alive or dead, went of her own accord or was taken against her will.
Casting all other concerns aside – food, sleep, work, relationships – in her desperate need to find the answers, she takes to the streets of Edinburgh in search of Summer.
Searching along wynds snaking behind old buildings, through ancient doors and tiny spiral stairways, showing Summer’s photograph to everyone she meets in shops, museums and nightclubs, Mirabelle becomes a reluctant detective, gathering clues, trying to make sense of them in order to find her missing daughter.

~~~

Set in Edinburgh, Searching for Summer could be called Kaleidoscope Fiction: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, a relationship novel with a hint of romance, a soupçon of crime, and more than a dollop of mystery.

If you don’t know Edinburgh, you will get to know it as Mirabelle wanders its streets and wynds.

Mirabelle loved living in Edinburgh: loved the atmosphere created by a city whose main shopping street looked across the road to a castle, Edinburgh Castle standing guard over Princes Street, its severe façade softened by the gardens skirting it, the gardens themselves cocooned from the bustle and noise, folded into their own tree-lined valley, with paths dipping into and out of its depths.

She knew the adage, Edinburgh was ‘all fur coat and nae knickers.’ She was well acquainted with its underbelly, its darker side, saw its dirty linen, but loved it anyway.

A novel to take you through a multitude of emotions as Mirabelle searches for Summer.

Trouble is, she keeps finding other people.

~~~

Searching for Summer

Available NOW

On Amazon

FeedaRead.com

or to order in bookstores

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What’s That Book About?

flying free cover 2290x1520mmAmazon Link: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00HUHGQW2

Flying Free is my third novel.

The blurb on the back of the book reads:

When Tom asks Jayne to marry him, he unwittingly opens her personal Pandora’s Box, and now she can’t seem to close the lid on all that rushes out at her, whirling her into a cycle of self-sabotage.
Unable to commit to a relationship, she pushes Tom away…along with everything else that’s important in her life.
There are things she had chosen to forget. There are others she can’t remember even when she tries. What she does remember is fear.
Feeling emotionally trapped by her past, her biggest challenge is to break through its bars and fly free.
Then she finds someone to help her make sense of what’s happening, but, instead of slamming the lid shut on all that has been let loose, he helps her open it wider and makes her face her fears in order to overcome them.
Remembering the past helps her make sense of the present and allows her to begin the process of healing and she finds that, as in the fable, there is one last thing left in the Box. That thing is hope.
But, when she is ready to commit to a relationship, will Tom still be waiting?

~~~

There is also the short video I made where I read the first chapter of Flying Free.

You’ll find that over there on the right, in the sidebar.

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But what is Flying Free about?

I’ve made you a short video by way of explanation.

Amazon Link: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00HUHGQW2

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I’d love to get your thoughts on both the subject matter of Flying Free and on whether it is helpful to have the video.

Thank you.

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Tagged again!

Hello everyone! I was invited to participate in another tagging Blog Hop by Vashti Quiroz-Vega, a delightfully exotic name and a delightfully exotic lady. Vashti writes a blog which you can find at http://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/writing-process-blog-hop/

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Vashti has published a novel called The Basement, a tale of angst, teamwork and solutions, treasure hunts and adventure, and facing fears. It is a focus on the small world of one group of preteens and the very real and wondrous world they face. You can buy it on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/The-Basement-Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/dp/162510555X/ref=cm_rdp_product

There are a few simple rules to this blog tagging:

1/ I must answer the four questions below.

2/ I must link back to the person who invited me to this Blog Hop.

3/ I must name four writers who will continue this Blog Hop and notify them.

Questions:

1) What are you working on?

I’m in the later stages of editing my NaNoWriMo novel. Its working title has changed several times and at the moment it is ‘Enough’  but I can’t make up my mind if that’s a great title or a terrible title. Any comment on that would be most welcome.

The novel is about Mhairi, a mother and grandmother who knows she did some terrible things when she was young, but can’t remember if she committed the heinous crime she was accused of. The trauma at the time and subsequent medication blacked out the memory, allowing her to built a good life with a loving husband, family and friends.

Her past feels like it belonged to someone else.

But now her daughter’s project is threatening to blow her life apart, exposing her for who she was. Rhona has decided to trace the family tree, to delve into the past and search out its secrets. Like a bloodhound, she refuses to be distracted from the hunt. Mhairi has to keep one step ahead or go on the run.

 2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

The last time I was asked this question I kinda opted out by saying that every writer’s work is unique, and I stand by that, but perhaps, in fairness, I should give you more than that.

I think my work differs from others in the genre in that I don’t think it quite fits into any genre.

Yes, it is Contemporary Fiction, written about ordinary people living here and now. Yes, it is General Fiction, which could appeal to men and women, old and young, and it is about coping with extraordinary ordinary problems. But it is so much more than that. My novels have an element of suspense in them, often a bit of crime and detection, sometimes romance, sometimes Family Saga, always exploration of relationships. They are character driven but with a strong plot line too. So, if any of you have read any of them…could you please tell me to which genre they belong?

3) Why do you write what you write?

I write about things I care about and things I am fascinated by.

I have always been fascinated by how someone can just walk away from their life, their family, their friends and disappear, leaving no trace, only heartbreak and worry. I explore this concept in my first novel, Family Matters.

Being happily married and surrounded by family, I care deeply about the loneliness others suffer: the causes of it and the solutions. I’m also fascinated by the modern phenomenon of shopping addiction, and its causes and cures. So, in my second novel, Making It Home, these are the areas I investigate.

My third, newly-released novel, Flying Free, takes a look at another subject I feel passioately about: recovery for victims of childhood abuse. I don’t know that there is ever a true recovery, but it is important to try to help there be at least a measure of healing. In Flying Free, the main protagonist’s life has been blighted this way and the story traces her route to recovery, in as much as that is possible. It is an ultimately uplifting, optimistic book.

4) How does your writing process work?

I’ve always been a bit of a ‘pantser’. Writing as I feel and as it comes. I try to have a notion of where I’m going, but it isn’t usually clearly mapped from beginning to end. The things I have a clear grasp of are who the characters are, what they want, what they need and what stops them getting it. And I know how the story ends. Apart from that, I like to go where the story takes me.

Look for the Blog Hop to continue next week at these sites:


Alana Munro, the author of Woman Behaving Badly, a book that attempts to understand women and to make sense of the huge expectations women place on each other. How can we avoid toxic women? What bad behaviours should we be looking out for? This book attempts to understand what is really going on between the females in our life. Alana is a great supporter of other authors and her blog is rich in writing tips, author reviews and other great stuff. Link for Alana Munro: http://alanamunroauthor.com

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Dyane Ford, author of The Purple Morrow, book 1 of her adult fantasy series. As one reviewer says, ‘The Purple Morrow leads the reader on a romp through a detailed fantasy world at war.’ Another calls it, ‘A light fantasy with great characters.’ You can find out more about Dyane, her book and her writing tips on Dyane Ford:  http://droppedpebbles.wordpress.com

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Stuart Turnbull, a poet and author of stories both short and long, including the wonderful Tweeties, stories in 140 characters or less. Great fun. You can check out Stuart’s writing on his blogsites. I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself.

Stuart Turnbull: http://diamondsanddross.blogspot.co.uk

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Amanda L Webster, author of two books, Loosely Collected: A Book of Poems and NaNoWriMo Gone Wild: The Quest for 50,000 Words. Plus she writes an amazingly helpful blog, which you can find at  http://writeontheworld.wordpress.com

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All blogs I’m certain you will enjoy for various reasons, so do visit them and be entertained and amazed.

Enjoy!

How To Be Happy

Are you a happy person? Can anyone actually be happy all the time?

I think of myself as a happy person, but I know sometimes I can be desperately unhappy too.

When I came across this on my Facebook page, I realised there is a difference between being a happy person and knowing how to be happy, and I reckon I know how to be happy. This list sums up my philosophy so there is clearly someone out there with whom I am in sync. Now there’s a thought.

Putting these twelve things into practice works.

If you are someone who makes New Year resolutions, you could do worse than making this your list.

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Express Gratitude

*When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.

Cultivate optimism

*People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times 

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison

*The only person you should compare to is yourself before now.

Practise acts of kindness

*Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside

Nurture social relationships

*The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. 

Develop strategies for coping.

Learn to forgive

*Harbouring feelings of hatred and bitterness is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Increase flow experiences

*Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.

*When you are so focused on what you’re doing that you have become one with the task.

Savour life’s joys

Commit to your goals 

Practice spirituality

*Recognise life is bigger than us. 

Take care of your body

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