Monday, 2 December 2013

Blog Tour Day

Today is blog tour day, which is a great way to get to know the work of other authors, the emphasis being how we manage our creative process. If you look at the title of my blog, you'll get some idea as to mine, but I'm becoming more structured as I try out new genres - historical ones that is.

Thus far some of the bloggers write ancient history, so I hope they don't mind the fact my stories don't go further back than England in 1642.

Here is a link to a previous example from the Writing Process Blog Tour from Erin Albert, a writer I don't know but then that's the point of a tour so we can get to know one another:

Then there is Adam Haviaras' Blog, and finally the writer who invited me, Jen Black who writes about Eleventh century Vikings and Nineteenth Century Smugglers as well as Scottish Tudor Courtiers.

What am I working on?

A cozy murder mystery set on board a steamship between New York and London in the year 1900

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don't know that it does. Murders on board ship aren't unknown, nor are single ladies in long dresses who ask awkward questions a phenomenon created from my own mind.  However I hope my characters are engaging enough to make the stories interesting. They don't just root out criminals, they have personal histories, secrets and tragedies of their own which help mould their inquisitive characters. Otherwise why would they be interested in the fates of strangers?

Why do I write what I do?

I'm a bit of a dabbler and like to cross genres and test out my ability to write credibly inside different character heads. My first stories were historical family sagas with multiple PoV's. Then I switched to a main PoV and write two Victorian romances, followed by a historical biographical about a woman who lived during the English Civil War in first person, present tense. This last was something I didn't intend, but the character decided she wanted to be written that way, so I had no choice but to let her.

I wrote two romances because, well to prove I could step outside the 17th Century. Then I attempted cozy mystery writing because firstly, I love reading them, and because I like the idea of the history being the background and the atmosphere of the story rather than the sole purpose of it. It allows my own creativity in the plot and scenarios, but there is a certain amount of research needed to make the setting credible.  I have no idea of they will go anywhere but I enjoy writing them - and that's the whole point.

How does my writing process work?

I used to begin with a vague idea and allow the characters to tell me where to go. This didn't work 
with the Elizabeth Murray book as she was a real person, so I had to select certain events in her life, and stick to a timeline, incorporating several threads to to make the story real.

The cozy mysteries needs far more organising, in that I start at the end, i.e. the killer, then work 
backwards with the elements that bring them to commit the murder in the first place, sprinkling clues and red herrings along the way for my amateur sleuth to find and mull over. No one should be too obviously bad or good so the solution is unclear for as long as possible.

This process is the most challenging, but also the most fun. Sometimes I change my villain half way through when the story leads me to giving a particular character a reason which had not come to light before then and the story works better that way.

My Three for 9th December

Wendy Laharnar, is the author of the YA medieval novel The Unhewn Stone, about a modern Swiss teen experiencing life inside the William Tell legend in 1307 AD. Wendy was a nursing sister, but in later life enjoyed working in a college with text books and students. For many years she raised beef cattle on her grazing property in the Southern Highlands of NSW. She has now retired with her husband and mini Schnauzer to the seaside on the east coast of Australia.

Alison Stuart is an award winning, cross genre Australian writer of historicals with heart.  Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or waywards ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes.  She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town.  She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her website, facebook, twitter and Goodreads.
Blog:  “Ms. Stuart requests the pleasure of your company…”

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and two cats who think they are dogs. She has sold over 80 short stories to women's magazines, and her work appears regularly in the People's Friend. Her debut novel, Doubting Abbey, has just been published by digital-first Carina UK Harlequin.  She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her websitenovel, facebook, twitter and Goodreads.


Alison Stuart said...

Writing mysteries is an entirely different discipline to writing historicals with romance, but fun!

Wendy said...

It's great to hear you write in several genres, Anita, and that you are now writing a contemporary mystery. Your talent for presenting history will benefit this novel too, which represents our history for future readers.