Welcome to the Monday Blogs Writing Process Blog Hop!
The talented Jenny Lloyd invited me to post and many thanks to her for including me. Jenny is the author of the compelling historical novel “Leap the Wild Water” – set in Wales in the early 1800s; a deeply moving romantic drama and very authentic social commentary on the times. You can find Jenny’s book here. And visit her blog here.
Writing is a different process for everybody. But every writer experiences the personal intensity and overwhelming compulsion that is the process of writing. If you’re not excited all the time about writing, then you’d better be off doing something else. Writing is the view into the valley that no one else sees – and to engage and enthrall, you have put that vision into words. To give you an idea of how I go about the process of writing, I have answered the following four questions:
What am I working on?
At the moment I’m working on two novels. ‘The Ghost Road’ is the sequel to ‘The Vampire Castle’ currently available only on Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, Apple, and suitable for children 9 – 12. The story continues the adventures of Elspeth as she unravels the strange and frightening secrets of ‘The Shadow Garden’ at her grandfather’s mysterious mansion, Whitterburn. Whitterburn is unlike any normal house – there are doorways, passages and wormholes to all sorts of strange worlds – and a grid pattern in the garden that if coded incorrectly – can take one into the most terrifying situations. Part of Elspeth’s adventures entail learning who she really is -and how to use the codes in the ‘Shadow Garden’ effectively.
My new mystery novel involves a strange and reclusive family living on the east coast of England who have maintained ties to their ancestors’ pagan rituals – and who hide a darker secret in their old family home. Grace, a statue specialist, finds herself searching for her missing friend, Ruth. She is employed by the family to repair the statues in their wild garden but is really there to find out why Ruth has disappeared. What she discovers is a terrifying mix of history and the supernatural – and an ancient, appalling evocation of evil.
How does my work differ from others in this genre?
I like to write women’s thrillers as opposed to general thrillers – and there’s not that many writers in this genre. My books are for women specifically – but perfectly readable by anybody. I don’t write romance, romantic thrillers or chick lit. My focus is less on relationships (although that plays a part) but more on the story, the action, the development of intrigue, pace and tension – and how ordinary women cope with extraordinary situations.
Why do I write what I do?
I write these stories because I rarely find what I like to read. Usually, women’s thrillers beat off down the same old track of predictable romance. I don’t do that because I like to be surprised. I like the unexpected character who doesn’t quite do the right thing at the right moment. I like flawed, real characters who can do wrong or make mistakes. I like to understand why a character’s mind would work the way that it does – and I like to put them into unusual situations to see what happens. I hate padded writing and always try to keep the mystery building at a pace because that is what I’m looking for when I read a thriller. Best women’s thriller I ever read? ‘Beneath the Skin’ by Nicci French. Oh, and ‘Total Eclipse’ by Liz Rigby – superb read.
How does my writing process work?
Difficult question. Usually I begin with one idea in mind and end up with something else entirely. I’m a pantser writer – I write by the seat of my pants. I see how a character is developing and then I challenge them – this way I learn more about them. And the more I learn, the more pressure I pile on. But always my focus is on the reader: how can I stop the reader from putting this book down and going to do something boring like the washing? There must be a cliffhanger-type ending to each chapter – and the more I reveal of the mystery, the more I must deepen it. I prefer first person narrator because that gives the story more immediacy and more personal connection to the character. I can’t plan too much because I can’t write unless I surprise myself along the way – and hopefully the reader will enjoy that surprise as well!
My books are on all major sites but you can find out all about my writing on my website: http://www.malladuncanbooks.weebly.com
Please keep a look out for other writers I’ve tagged in this hop – most specifically Jill Paterson and Nicole Storey and Christoph Fischer – writers you do not want to miss.
Jill Paterson is the author of the highly popular detective series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn. She has already published three mystery books and is working on a fourth – not to mention her very informative Pocket Guides to Writing and Self-Publishing. Jill lives in Australia and owns just about the biggest cat in the world. She takes much of her inspiration from the lovely country surrounds where she lives. Find her cosy mystery “The Celtic Dagger”, here. And visit her blog here.
Nicole Storey is the author of an outstanding children’s series “Grimsley Hollow” and has raced up the charts with the release of her first paranormal fantasy YA novel “Blind Sight”. Nicole lives in Georgia, USA, and is currently working on the sequel . She is an avid Holloween fan – as you’ll find out when you read her wonderfully gripping, frightening stories! Find Nicole’s book “Blind Sight” here. And find her blog here.
And I’m also tagging Christoph Fischer even though he’s already been tagged and done his ‘hop’ so to speak! Christoph is the acclaimed author of ‘The Three Nations Trilogy’ series on WW1 with the first book entitled “Sebastian”. Christoph lives in England and goes out of his way to support other writers. A top 500 reviewer on Amazon, he is also an accomplished writer able to recreate the dark days of WW1 with pathos and accuracy. Find Christoph’s book “Sebastian” here. And find his blog here.