The Final Final Final Edit

A discussion about the stage of ‘final editing’ on twitter prompted me to create this post. In fact, I wasn’t just prompted to blog, I was compelled to make the whole thing a statement and reminder of what we must go through to get to the end point. The proof of which I present in the mug below.

This shows all ‘new’ writers out there that editing  (and all the zany backed up versions of it) is about as much fun as checking your monthly bank statements. Though it does become a part of our lives, along with drinking too much coffee or tea.

 

Yes I know that I sometimes swear at myself for lying when I tell people I am currently working on the final edit,  when actually I’m just sitting on my phone telling people. I swear, however,  this time, I actually AM getting it done and that’s a fact.

One last thing…

What is the final edit exactly?

Well there never would be one if you didn’t simply decide that you were never going to change the manuscript again.  At some point you have to say.. “THIS is what I’ve achieved and it’s the best I can do, and I never want to read it again unless I am forced to at gunpoint.” That’s the final, final, final because nobody wants to really die after putting in so much hard work. That’s when you either self-publish or sub it along with your query letter and  move on to the next project with momentous relief.

 

 

 

 

 

Discussing “Losing Emmy” – A New Novel Available This Xmas

It’s time for some exciting news at last. You’ll never have guessed that I’m diving into a new genre in my next book. Is this brave? Perhaps. But I believe that a story, (any story really) speaks for itself when it is written both with an author’s passion and imagination combined.

I confess… I love a challenge, and the chance to offer stories that make readers think deeply. My readers have noticed a common theme in my story-telling, a bittersweet realism in how my characters struggle to survive, not only with the world around them but with their own deepest desires and choices.

You might be surprised to learn that I’ve always had an interest in the occult, and this is one angle of my new book.

So how do I lead you into this story?

Let’s start with a brief on the main characters. Emmy and Charlene are twins who were raised by Lalia, an adoptive parent of Spanish descent. As a small child, Lalia lost her own mother in a tragic accident, so she has already experienced a grave loss. Subsequently her monstrous stepfather abused her for years until he was jailed and she managed to escape to England.

Here begins Emmy and Charlene’s story. Twins abandoned at birth they were raised by the loving, yet naturally over-protective, Lalia. And life is good… until Emmy begins to get sick in her teens and cancer becomes a slow, life-sucking force that tests the courage and strength of all of these characters.

After years of harrowing chemo treatments Emmy is finally told that she has just a few short months left to live. The girls are now on the cusp of womanhood. They decide to spend the last few months of Emmy’s life at a secluded coastal village called Sennen Cove. Here they meet Michael, an isolated guy who possesses some mental health issues and demons from his past (literally.) Charlene finds herself drawn to him and intrigued by his unusual and rare disorder, Spectraphobia.

The girls wish to spend Emmy’s last days in peace and solititude… but this is far from what happens.

As they struggle to cope with Emmy’s worsening condition, plus the inevitable, Michael’s supernatural-related difficulties force Charlene to question her close spiritual connection with Emmy. She feels the pressure of time ‘running out’ and struggles to comprehend why her beloved twin is becoming so distant and pulling away from her. Will their unique connection die when Emmy is gone?

Lalia, must also confront a great demon in her past; Estefan and his legacy of cruelty. As well as the pain of losing one of her precious twins, could she ever be strong enough to move on and trustingly allow a man into her life?

At the climax of this sensitively written story, my aim is to highlight that we are all connected, no matter what each of us endure, or the many different demons we might carry inside us. Each of us carries a different battle, it can live inside us, unseen, but the negative effects are often extended to those whom we love the most.

Yes, I take joy in portraying sensitive and emotional topics. In researching this story I learned about a strange mental health condition that I didn’t know existed, but it does, albeit a rare one. It is the struggles in life that I fully understand because they create better humans out of us. In fact the bigger the struggle, the better kind of humans we ultimately become. These are, of course, the main ingredients to life. As an author I pursue them head on and challenge my characters to endure them, then to finally breathe out and reach a life-turning point of understanding and acceptance.

“Losing Emmy” will be available on Kindle this Christmas. If you’d like to receive emailed updates on this book, and/or  any other news relating to my books you can Subscribe here. I don’t spam and am grateful to you, and each and every one of my readers for their support and interest.

Lastly, a big thanks to John Morris, my publisher, who walks every step of my journey through each page of my books and really ‘gets’ what I do and why.

Life and Death in Writing

I cried in my bed last night. I read the last few chapters of ‘The Time Travellers Wife,’ once again. It made me think of life, death and all the hues inbetween.

My review of ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ in another blog post was made prematurely. I believe I gave it a good review when I should have given it an excellent review. I was disheartened by a few things, but then again, just like life, books can have their rough and bitter edges, and will give us occasional words or sentences we might prefer to skip over inattentively. To be honest, I cried over the sad letter Henry wrote to his wife (such letters ought to come with a box of kleenex).

I was blown away. Niffenegger took an ordinary couple and made them extra-ordinary. Not just for their dedication in trying to live a normal life within Henry’s transcendental and universally mind-blowing illness, but as a reflection of humanity, their endurance teaches us that we can and do survive the many cruel blows along the way.

And all for what?

Well for love of course.

Time travelling became the norm for these characters, and the consequences of that were sadly accepted long before any bitter-endings arrived. This is the cream of characterisation. Whilst most authors settle on less impossible scientifically brain-puddling themes, the message is the same everywhere, we endure all, because we must.

When I created Maggie in ‘The Last Gift,’ I wanted her to overcome a life of slavery and upper class brutality, even though thousands didn’t survive it. But if she hadn’t my book would have closed its doors by Chapter Two. Maggie had nothing to live for, really. Possibly all she had was the (less than perfect) air which she breathed and the protective love of her kind parents, who too frequently had troubles of their own to contend with. The fact that my heroine smelt the scent of death every day only served to make her a stronger and more resilient human being.

In the story, Maggie lives on to witness and experience better things, whilst many of her loved ones perished. No matter what century we live in, we can relate to that. To love and death. Its equal intransigence and totality. It is the sum of all things of which we care and write about.

I relate to death in fiction because I feel I am always sitting within it’s ever present sneer of inevitability. I know it will grab me one day no matter how many crunches I do on a weekly basis. La vida es asi! Through books we should be able to visualise the brutality of life and its beauty; the same with death. As a writer I will always strive to comprehend the two, and then my aim is to be able to make my reader feel what it is that I have learned.