Thank you so much Monique for having me on your blog. I’m delighted to write for you and your followers about my inspiration, my favourite characters and how I write.
Four years ago I started writing a short story when I was diagnosed with MS. It caused severe pain, and eventually permanent damage in my hands, which stopped me from typing. I had to teach myself how to use voice software and a good friend gave me an opening line to get me started on a short story.
I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction and found myself gravitating to it. I shared pieces of the story with my sister and a small number of friends, received positive feedback and encouragement, and I just kept going with it. By the time I was let go from work, I had 35,000 words written and several ideas on how to take it to novel length!
The short story morphed and became my debut novel Path Unchosen.
That opening line is no longer in the story … but the chapter it inspired is.
Setting is very important to me. In fact I wrote a blog post on this subject a while back – “The importance of being Welsh”. The setting was always Wales in my head. No-one wants to read paragraphs of description anymore, so the trick is to give a snippet of setting in a context that sets the scene for readers. I hope I've achieved that!
I love all my characters! But if I had to choose my absolute favourites I’d have to name my dragon Aymon, and my imp Lyken … erm I mean Meagan’s dragon and imp!
The best writing advice I was ever given … is to write, rewrite, and ship the finished product. I can’t work very quickly, but I write every day, and I employ the best professionals I can afford to make sure the book design is good, and my writing is as polished as it can be.
Morning seems to be my most productive writing time, but I’m also woken up by brilliant ideas at 4am. My muse doesn’t keep to a regular schedule!
I’ve never liked plotting, but my editor has convinced me to use an outline to keep myself focused on the main theme, and a cause and effect plot progression from beginning to end. I use Scrivener and love the way it lets me create an outline, use cards to summarise scenes, and work on the text at the same time.
I’m currently working with my editor on the final revisions to Truth Unveiled, book two in the Daughter of Ravenswood series. I’m also writing the first draft of book three, and preparing an outline for a brand new book ...
Resigned to dutiful spinsterhood after the death of her fiancé, Harriet obediently accompanies her father to Australia in 1857. Still grieving, she turns to Spiritualism to find her fiancé and say one last goodbye. But when she uncovers a mysterious disappearance and a cold-blooded murder, she has to shrug off Victorian conventions and risk everything that matters to her.
It’s a work in progress titled Harriet’s Hiatus. What a terrible name! I’m currently addicted to historical mystery and absolutely loving:
The Victorian San Francisco Mysteries by Louisa M Locke,
The Captain Lacey series by Ashley Gardner, and
The Lady Darby Mysteries by Anna Lee Huber
I advice all fledging writers to keep writing. To be brave and share your work with other writers in writing groups and online forums. To be resilient and listen to feedback that will help you, shrug off criticism that won’t. And most importantly to stop tinkering and finish the book!
Thanks again Monique