Seeing as though I’m currently writing my third novel this year (the last in a trilogy), I thought I might start this blog as a kind of therapy or something, some escape from the other writing I do perhaps!
I thought maybe I might start with the topic of how I came to write in the first place. I suppose it all started when I was about eight years old. I immersed myself in books from then on and have since read a whole bunch of genres, from classics to romance, chicklit to YA fiction, sci-fi and fantasy, thrillers and biographies. I don’t much like horror or detective novels. I don’t know why, but they are not really my taste.
For my English degree I wrote a dissertation on the Brontë sisters’ novels, focusing on the use of the supernatural in them. It is where my literary education started really, in Yorkshire, that is. I’m using a quote from WutheringHeights to head my third novel and it kind of sums up the whole trilogy really (even though in my books I weave quite a few genres together). I am trying to explore the question of whether romance ever really mirrors real life, or whether it is always going to be a genre that ultimately glamorises love in one way or another. Does romance simply gain audiences because it appeals to women/men’s notions of imperfect perfection? Of a love lost but a journey well-travelled? Of a love found amongst the most unlikely circumstances? Stories themselves can be whatever they want to be, fiction can take us into realms we never thought possible and force us to ask the questions we often don’t like to but which we secretly need to. Sometimes we race to the end of the book hoping for one ending, and get given another. That can be terribly frustrating. Sometimes we don’t like that ending (mentally rail against it even) and curse the author for days afterwards for killing off our favourite character or concluding a love story in a way we never expected. Surely if we are thinking about a book for days afterwards, that means the author did their job properly. I love the debate. It’s why I read books within a day sometimes. It’s why I’m writing my third novel this year.
So much is down to taste, so much is in the art of the storytelling, and a lot else is in pure talent. After all, how many people in their lifetimes actually turn an idea into a novel, and from there, make it a success? Few. But it is the writing of it to me, that seems to make it all the more worthwhile – book deal or no book deal. The experience can take you to places you never expected.
It was when I had a child some 18 months ago, I was figuring out a story in my mind while I was busy breastfeeding. I was sat watching the Royal Wedding and it seemed so much like a fairytale. Everyone wants to believe in that. I am inspired by everything and everyone around me. I remember tiny details from childhood sometimes rather unexpectedly, out of the blue, and it can sometimes lead me to pursuing an idea for a plot or something. You have to relate to your characters/stories/locations, otherwise, it wouldn’t be tangible.
I started writing when my daughter was off the boob and sleeping through the night. I knew first and foremost I wanted to set my book in the future. I also started with the vague idea of a bridal house being the cover for a resistance group fighting against a terrifying organisation that seem to have been responsible for a terrible catastrophe some decades before. Before long, I was spending nights tapping away at the keyboard like a madwoman. The creative process for me was organic. I never had a notepad by my side. I kept mental notes of all ideas, and sometimes if necessary, I wrote a bunch of bullet points in a word document to remind me to add bits in or take bits out. I showed the finished product to my husband and he could not believe what I had managed to turn out. I am a woman who has done little creative writing in the past (too scared to see where my mind might take me), never did creative writing while at university (was too busy examining feminist fiction) and now I was suddenly tackling a full-blown 100,000-word novel. But that’s the person I am. All or nothing. And I’ve since had a few people tell me they also really like what I write.
So, there we have it. I’m a fledgling writer with a desire to write something new and dynamic. Maybe I’ll talk about how I weaved so many genres together at some point. But I think next time I might tell you why I chose to self-publish, and explain the effort involved in that.