In the week ahead on this blog I have some fun things planned.
I'll announce the winner of the Midsummer Eve giveaway tomorrow/Sunday.
Tuesday I'm going to the launch of Edwina Shaw's Thrill Seekers at Better Read than Dead in Sydney so I'll have some lovely photos of that, I hope.
Now the sun is out I'll aim to get out and get some more photos of where Allegra hangs out in Mr Right and Other Mongrels.
I have interviews with authors Lisa Becker and Azra Alagic as well.
That's just the tip of the ice-berg (let's hope there are no actual ice-bergs I'm already over winter) so please stop by and leave your comments. I really love hearing from visitors.
1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
The first kernel of The Ottoman Motel was a tiny scene I wrote about a young boy with his parents at a roadside cafe: the boy's observations about the minutiae of the place, and the feeling that the whole family was on their way to somewhere they'd rather not be going to. I didn't return to the scene until some months after I'd written it, which was when the first outlines of plot began for my novel. Once I decided on the inciting incidence of a disappearance of the boy's parents, I tapped into that feeling that we've all had in our childhood of losing our parents, even momentarily, and the worst-case scenarios that your mind immediately plays out.
2. When did you take up writing?
I'd enjoyed writing stories ever since grade one (although those ones were more about scores of army men blowing each other up), but never really considered making writing a legitimate career until after I left school. I enrolled in a Creative Writing course at uni, and haven't looked back. I still work another job on top of writing, but one day hopefully it can become a full-time pursuit!
3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
Place is very important in my writing, as it (for me at least) pervades the mood of the characters and the story. In The Ottoman Motel, the town of Reception (a fictional holiday town on the NSW north coast) plays a big part in the central mystery of the story. It is a repository for all the characters in the story, who all have their reasons for ending up there.
4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
Because my novel has three distinct voices (and a large cast of characters), it would be hard to choose. But if I had to choose a character that I'd like to write about again, it would be Pony, a young man with a mysterious past who becomes perhaps Simon's greatest ally in the search for his parents.
5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
Show, don't tell.
6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
I try to. For me, the biggest challenge when writing is setting a routine and sticking to it. At the moment, Monday, Tuesday and Friday are my day job. Wednesday is for writing admin and side projects, Thursday and Sunday are for working on my new novel. I try to treat my writing like any other job, which means starting at a set time, and working in significant blocks of time. Life has a way of throwing its spanner in the works of your good writing intentions, but you just have to try and stick to it!
7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
I'm more in the winging category. If I plot, I tend to get bogged down in it, and end up endlessly tinkering with scenes as a procrastination tool. For me, the sooner I start writing the better. I try to go in with a basic outline of the story, but I do let my writing take me where it will.
8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?
At the moment: "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach; "The Orphan Master's Son" by Adam Johnson; "Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk" by Ben Fountain and "Floundering" by Romy Ash.
9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
My first book, The Ottoman Motel, which was a modern gothic mystery, whereas my new book is more character-based and (hopefully) a lot funnier. At its heart is a man trying to come to terms with his new-found notoriety after falling off a mountain and surviving.
10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
Work harder than any other writer you know, and be nice to people.
The Ottoman Motel is available at all good bookstores.
You can learn more about Chris and his writing at his wonderful blog.
| www.furioushorses.com |
In honour of the passing today of the wonderful Nora Ephron I thought I'd include a few scenes from some of the wonderful movies she wrote. As a fan of romantic comedies she was always one of my favoutite writers and directors. I may have harboured a secret fantasry that one day she would direct a movie based on one of my books (oops the secret is out!)
I love her dialogue and her chracterisation. I love the way she wrote friendships. I love the way she captured the details. I love the way she writes family.
These are just a few of my favourite scenes....what are yours?
If you are in Sydney then you might be interested in attending the local launch of Thrill Seekers by the lovely Edwina Shaw.
I interviewed Edwina on this blog earlier this year. Go have a read of the interview and learn more about Edwina here.
The launch will be held at Better Read than Dead, Newtown on Tuesday July 3rd at 6pm.
For more information visit:
1. What was the inspiration for your current novel?
I had seen lots of contemporary fiction novels focus on days of the week, months of the year, seasons etc. One day I thought why not the signs
of the zodiac. From that I went on to research and flesh out 12 well rounded main characters, whose lives, careers and personalities would reflect their star sign. The deeper I went into it, not generally being particularly interested in astrology, the more fascinated I
became and the more real the characters became.
2. How important is setting/place in your writing?
Very. I think to depict places you have to have either been there (preferably) or know a lot about it. If you can draw the places well, your readers can imagine them so much more easily. Most of Sign of the Times is set in Scotland, so I wanted to mention landmarks and streets which the average Scottish reader and also any tourist would know. The beginning of the novel is set in a tiny village, called Bibbiena in Tuscany where I went on holiday ten years ago. I have been lucky enough to travel quite extensively, although unfortunately not Australia just yet ! Am making do with your wine for now! There will be many places I’ve been to featured in future novels, as I love reading novels set in exotic places and other cities, so naturally enjoy writing about them too.
3. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
Mmm...favourite male is Ben, the mountain rescue volunteer. Apart from being gorgeous , he’s very
understanding, has had a bit of a rough ride and deserves happiness.
Favourite female character –well, it depends. I loved writing Maria’s chapters the most. Holly is great and in many ways is similar to me (although not based on me, I must point out) simply because she is Sagittarius. But there is one character who I think is amazing and that’s because everyone loves to hate her. You’re going to have to read it to find out who!!
4. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
Just write –get the thoughts down. You can fix it in the edit.
5. You chose to enrol in KDP select exclusively What motivated that decision?
I had read Jeff Bennington’s book The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe. In it, and I am paraphrasing here, I
believe he said that after analysing his sales data, 90% of sales came from Amazon (this was pre KDP days).
So, for the amount of work that went into having it on Smashwords and all the other platforms, it was a no brainer.
I figured that was pretty good advice. And quite frankly, promoting on one platform is labour-intensive & all-consuming enough. This advice was also replicated in several writers forums I had viewed.
6. Can you tell me how you promoted your free days on the program?
Twitter. Pretty much 95% Twitter. I mentioned it on FB, but I am not a big FB user (I am trying now, but it doesn’t come as naturally to me as Twitter). I didn’t get everything right for this promo. I should have submitted to Digital Book Today well in advance, but didn’t do it in enough time. There are a few other sites, again whose deadlines I missed. It was the first time for me and whilst I did a lot of things well, I also missed some things. I used the bots – BYNR, writersRT etc and I was retweeted by my followers a ridiculous number of times (thanks to any of them who are reading this). I mentioned on Goodreads that I was having a free promo & joined a few FB groups for free books.
7. I notice you promoted the Amazon UK link. Was the book free in the US at the same time? If so why did
you choose to promote the UK over US (I realise you’re in the UK so that may be the answer).
Actually during the promo I tweeted constantly both links, sometimes on the same tweet & sometimes on separate tweets. This was purely for space reasons. When you only have 140 characters and you want to get a message across, an excerpt or a quote, you don’t want half of it taken up by links. It is true, however, that in the last few weeks, I have mainly been tweeting the UK link and that’s simply because I am in the UK and the vast majority of my sales have been here. But I am aware I have to do more non-UK link tweets too.
8. You had phenomenal success over that period? How has it been in the weeks after?
Thanks. Well immediately after the free promo, you drop down into the paid chart around, very low down, in my case about 35K, but in 3 days it rose to #202. It was number 8 in contemporary romance. In the month following the free
promo, I sold twelve times more copies than normal. Obviously once you reach your peak sales, there’s a gradual decline, with the occasional rally. Reviews, interviews, good blog posts, interacting with readers etc can all help bring your chart position up again.
9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
I’m currently writing The Dating Game due out later this year. I am almost half way through and am busy redrafting the earlier chapters. I don’t have an official blurb for The Dating Game yet, but here’s a little taster:
Workaholic recruitment consultant Gill McFadden is sick of her friends trying to match-make for her.
Up until now her love life has been a disaster and she’s going through a drier spell than the Sahara desert.
Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency. Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love? But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.
10. What advice would you give to a fledgling indie writer to assist them on their journey?
Visit my blog – www.susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk. There are too many issues to mention in answer to this
question and I cover them periodically in my blog, where I post at least once a week. Everything from Marketing, Redrafting, Dialogue and Taking Criticism is covered there. And of course, believe in yourself. Start marketing before your novel is launched. I wish I had done and have been making up for it ever since!
Finally - Good luck!
Last week I began my posts on the sountrack from Mr Right and Other Mongerls with Deborah Conway singing Only the Beginning.
Today is another classic song that I listened to a lot when I was writing the book and which does also feature in it. I hope you like it. The next one I post has a very funny story to go with it about music downloads and messing them up (from back when there were free ways to download music that were semi-legal at least).
While I have so many popping in during the Midsummers' Eve Blog Hop I thought it might be fun to ask everyone a simple question or two ...to make commenting easy and also because I am a well known sticky beak.
They are simple questions really?
1. What are you reading this weekend?
2. Are you reading it as a print book or on an e-reader?
3. Bonus question - do you leave reviews on Amazon, Goodreads etc for books you like? I'm curious how many people actually do this.
Hopefully someone is reading my novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels and enjoying it.
You can get it here.
It's been a busy Saturday here in Sydney. It was a cool day but gorgeous and sunny. Now it's a freezing night.
I'm having a fun weekend reading through my next novel, Hearts Afire, which I hope will be released in August. As an extra bonus I'm also editing an annual report as part of my day job.
With that in mind I thought today I would go with some pictures rather than quite as many words. I'll do a photo run soon and get a few more location shots.
In Mr Right and Other Mongrels the main character Allegra lives above her bookshop in Manly on a street that runs off The Corso.
A street that is in fact quite a bit like the one on the left. Can you see her bookshop...it might be tucked in there somwhere on the left.
Hopefully this photos give those of you have never seen Sydney what it's like in this little corner anyway. I'll add more photos in the next
This weekend I am doing another read through and edit on my next novel Hearts Afire. I haven't read it in a while so there will no doubt be lots of things that jump out at me and have me shaking my head and thinking "How did I miss that last time?"
Part of the book takes place at a resort on a tropical island.
Today's question is this. If you could name a tropical paradise what would you call it?
Don't forget to check out Mr Right and Other Mongrels at Amazon.
You can enter to win a print copy on the front page of this site. Print version will be out in July.
I am participating in this Mid-summer's Ever Giveaway Hop run by Inspired Kathy at I Am a Reader Not a Writer.
There are 200 blogs doing giveaways - look at the link and visit the sites to enter the give-aways on each site. I'm number 200 so I'm easy to fin!
I'm keeping it simple here are the rules - leave TWO comments on my blog (ie here) between June 20th and June 26th to go in the draw to win a $10 Amazon GC which I will e-mail you.
You can be from anywhere in the world to enter.
See that's simple comment TWICE between June 20-26th and you can win the Amazon GC.
Got it? A comment is a sentence or tww not a simple one word answer just so we're clear.
And yes I know it's not Midsummer's Eve in Australia but it is in the No