|Posted by Liv Thomas on January 26, 2014 at 5:50 PM|
Thanks, Cathy Mansell, for inviting me to take part in this blog chain. I have to confess, my blog has been sadly neglected of late because we spent a good part of last year editing and promoting Beneath an Irish Sky.
We're also in the process of completing our second novel, An Irish Promise. It hasn't been easy with real life interfering, so unfortunately, some things have suffered. Blogs, housework, husbands etc...
I'm full of good intentions, but wasn’t it those that paved the road to hell?
Cathy, on the other hand, is parent to a lovely, and well kept blog. A shining example to the rest of us. Well, me.
MY WRITING PROCESS
What am I working on? Currently, my co-writer (Val Olteanu) and myself are revising our second novel. It’s called An Irish Promise, and will hopefully be out towards the end of the year to tie in with the winter season, which is when the story takes place.
Set in a village in Ireland, it deals with the short and long-term effects of bullying, both on the bullied and the bullies. There’s a strong hero and a very determined heroine, though both have been damaged in the past. As with 'Beneath an Irish Sky' there are things which might not always be quite as they seem.
How does my work differ from others of its genre? In both novels we have focused on serious issues such as bigotry, bullying, racism. I wouldn't say this is unique to us though. The main difference with our writing is probably nothing to do with the genre, but the fact that there's two of us. Another aspect of our writing that might differ is that we have multiple viewpoints, and not just those of the hero and heroine.
Why do I write what I do? I think, like most novelists, we write what we’d like to read. We try to deliver an absorbing plot and characters our readers will care about. We've dealt with topics that we feel strongly about, but our novels always include the all-important element of romance. The rocky road to love is never smooth in our novels - and we do make our characters suffer - but some kind of reconciliation will always happen at the end. Whether it's one the reader will want remains to be seen.
How does my writing process work? I write directly onto Word, on my laptop in the living room! I’ve learned to tune out the sounds around me. I prefer to be on my own, but don’t like complete silence, so the TV is invariably on. Val and I always structure our writing – we will generally plan the basics, chapter by chapter, from the beginning, so we know where we’re going, but as we write, the story will generally develop from our original thoughts. As we write, we're always open to new ideas and new directions. Being co-authors is an advantage because if one of us doesn't know how to progress the plot, the other one usually jumps into the breach. It's such a creative process all round when there are two of you. We have day jobs, and it’s often hard to do all the things we have to do in a day, and write too, but we support and encourage each other to keep going.
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I’m now passing the baton to two more Choc Lit writers, Berni Stevens (cover designer extraordinaire) and Rhoda Baxter.
Berni trained in graphic design and has worked in various UK publishing houses designing book covers, for more than twenty years. She has had several short stories published, and her first full-length novel was published in the US in 2011. Dance Until Dawn is the first book in her paranormal romance trilogy, and will be published by Choc Lit UK in April, 2014.
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A former scientist, Rhoda’s forte is contemporary romantic comedy. Her novel, Dr January, will be released by Choc Lit this year. Her first book was shortlisted for the RNA New Writing award in 2012.