Blog Tour: The Book of Air by Joe Treasure.

Today I have a second stop on a blog tour, this time for Joe Treasure, author of The Book of Air. He has stopped by to tell us what inspired him to write his book.

What inspired the story of The Book of Air?

Inspiration is a mysterious process. You can start with a fragment of an idea so insubstantial that you can’t explain, even to yourself, why it holds your attention. I’m fascinated by the way random things survive destruction and get passed on and acquire meaning. I have a diary that my mother kept for a couple of months when she was 14, living in another country in a time of political upheaval. There’s rioting, mass arrests, guns are fired in the street and she’s caught up in it. Meanwhile she’s fighting with her teachers and helping with the birth of a baby nephew. It reveals only a tiny fraction of her life out of all that I’ll never now discover, but it opens a door on a lost world.

In the far-future section of The Book of Air almost everything that constitutes our world in 2017 has disappeared, including most of the human population. People hold on to the objects from the past. Some of them have practical value, like knives and spades. Some are useless, meaningless even – a microwave oven, a laptop. In Agnes’s village, their most treasured possessions are three books. One of them, the most substantial, is Jane Eyre. Alongside the tough physical work of tending crops and animals, some of the villagers make time to study, specifically to copy passages from Jane Eyre. They have no practical use for literacy. They don’t write letters or shopping lists. They don’t make laws or keep the minutes of meetings. They have no concept of consuming stories for pleasure. They read and write for this purpose only – to keep alive the knowledge of the books. It’s irrational, but it’s also creative. It’s irrational in a very human way.

I hadn’t thought of this until I began writing this piece, but perhaps unconsciously it was the memory of my mother’s diary that prompted me to begin The Book of Air with 15-year-old Agnes writing an account of her life. In Agnes’s mind, this is an almost blasphemous act, to misuse valuable ink and to put herself somehow on a level with Jane Eyre herself, her only model for this kind of writing. It’s a community built on elaborate rules. And in the very first sentence of the story a rule is broken, which will lead to danger and to radical questions.

To understand how Agnes’s village came to exist in this unusual form, I realized I had to tell another story, set just a few years in our future – the story of the contagion that destroys civilization. So I invented Jason, Agnes’s ancestor, who experiences the strange symptoms of the virus, and survives. I resisted writing this half of the book. One of interesting things about writing fiction is that one thing leads to another and you find yourself pushed into uncomfortable territory. The logic of the plot makes demands on you. But what bubbles up out of the unconscious in response to that pressure is unpredictable.

I can see, now the book is complete, that there’s an interest in communities running through it. Agnes’s village is just one kind of community. When she ventures beyond the village, she finds more freedom but also more chaos. Jason’s story involves a number of communities, some benign, some isolated and cultish. People cluster together, or are pushed together by circumstances, and work out ways of living. When Jason escapes from London with his young nephew Simon, he finds squatters in his house, two women who already know how to live without electricity or running water. The women nurse him through his sickness. Meanwhile three other people turn up who have met on the road. They have nothing in common except the need to survive.

As Jason thinks back on what has brought him here, and what has brought the world to this desperate state, he remembers other communities – including the travelling band of Christians with whom he spent part of his childhood, and the various groups that his younger sister Penny, Simon’s mother, got entangled with during her short life.

I think it’s no accident that I’ve written this book at a time when there’s a lot of anxiety floating around, a strong sense of existential threats, political or environmental. How do we cooperate and remain open to each other in the face of such dangers? I didn’t set out knowingly to write about these things, but I think the book is a response to them, even so.

The Book of Air

Retreating from an airborne virus with a uniquely unsettling symptom, property developer Jason escapes London for his country estate, where he is forced to negotiate a new way of living with an assortment of fellow survivors.

Far in the future, an isolated community of descendants continue to farm this same estate. Among their most treasured possessions are a few books, including a copy of Jane Eyre, from which they have constructed their hierarchies, rituals and beliefs. When 15-year-old Agnes begins to record the events of her life, she has no idea what consequences will follow. Locked away for her transgressions, she escapes to the urban ruins and a kind of freedom, but must decide where her future lies.

These two stories interweave, illuminating each other in unexpected ways and offering long vistas of loss, regeneration and wonder.

The Book of Air is a story of survival, the shaping of memory and the enduring impulse to find meaning in a turbulent world.

 Purchase of Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Air-Joe-Treasure/dp/1911525093

About Joe Treasure

Joe Treasure Photo

Joe Treasure currently lives in South West London with his wife Leni Wildflower. As an English teacher in Wales, he ran an innovative drama programme, before following Leni across the pond to Los Angeles, an experience that inspired his critically acclaimed debut novel The Male Gaze (published by Picador). His second novel Besotted (also published by Picador) also met with rave reviews.

Website – http://www.joetreasure.com/

Twitter: – https://twitter.com/joetreas

 

Blog Tour: The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World by Richard Daniel Curtis.

 

I’m quite excited about this blog tour, being a parent and facing a whole new world that did not exist when I was a child can be a bit scary so I am pleased to be able to share some Do’s and Don’ts for parenting in the modern world.

The top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Modern Parents

Taken from The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World

By Richard Daniel Curtis, The Kid Calmer

The modern world is full of new threats that many parents never had to encounter when they were growing up.  It’s overwhelming at times and causes all sorts of parenting headaches, especially when your children can out-talk you on technology.  I talk to hundreds of parents each year and understand the dichotomy of trying to keep them on the straight and narrow, whilst also not ruining your relationship.  So here’s the top 10 do’s and don’ts from the book when it comes to raising a teen or soon to be teen.

Do’s

  • Be the friendly, non-judgemental ear for your child. They will encounter sex, drugs, alcohol, pornography, and bullying whether you like it or not – it’s far better for them to have you to turn to when they do.
  • Share your teenage experiences with your teen, without giving them all of the gory details; help them to understand that you were teenage too.
  • Only give your child a smartphone when they are mature enough to be able to talk to you about bullying issues.
  • When it comes to using the internet leave them with an understanding that even if they are on a dodgy site they can come to you for support or advice without being judged.
  • Get your child to check links on suspicious emails by checking the from address matches the company and also hovering over the links and looking at the link address (often in the bottom left of the browser) to make sure they match.
  • Be open to talking about how easy it can be to crack default passwords and why you should change them.
  • As your teen starts to use social media, teach them to always stop and think before posting comments, photos or videos.
  • Teach your child to report inappropriate posts or comments and to be able to ignore them.
  • Invest in tech insurance and protectors!
  • Finally make sure your child knows that you will never be angry with them and that you are there for them to turn to when they experience problems.

Don’ts

  • Compare the pressure your child is under to what you experienced; today’s world is very different.
  • Deny your child the emotions they are feeling as they experience social problems, your child is unlikely to have learnt that they will fade and they will feel very real to them.
  • Be judgemental, it’ll only make them move further away from
  • It’s impossible to block out the impact of terrorism on the modern world, it’s far better to educate your child so they don’t pay an unhealthy interest or become anxious.
  • Let your child take their phone in their room overnight.
  • Rely on your internet blocking set up. Education is far more important than dependency on software, as the moment they no longer have the software they will struggle to cope.
  • Avoid the conversations; your child will come across malware, trolling or pornography at some point online, it’s better to have given them the tools to choose to avoid it.
  • Be heavy handed with taking away tech as your child does their homework; if they’re used to flicking between things they’ll need a gentle approach to getting used to more focus.
  • Minimise the emotional and physical sensation of the experience of games, the technology is so advanced it can provoke the same reactions as though they went through it, your child may need your support to cope with the after-effects.
  • Assume your child will know when to use technology; they’ll want to consume it. Teach them to make decisions about whether it is the best thing to use.

 

The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World

Raising a child in the 21st Century is scary! There are so many threats to your adolescent that you worry about what they are up to in their bedroom, let alone when they are out with their friends.

The world is so different than when we grew up, young people nowadays have different expectations about life and use so much technology. It’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed at times. Even things that were simple have got more complicated, issues like gender identity or sex. It’s hard to know where to start with technology, every time you feel you have a grip on what your child is into, they talk about something else you’ve never heard of.

Life as a parent is overwhelming!

The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World gives you the answers to the worries you haven’t even realised you have. Starting with a section on how your child’s brain develops and explaining why their personality changes so much during puberty. It even helps you to structure any difficult conversations you need to have with your teen or soon to be teen.

The book then goes through over thirty different aspects of the modern world, telling you about the risks associated with each, plus the dos and don’ts for you as parents. Following this, part three focusses on the predictions for the world your child will be an adult in; helping you to understand the things you can do now to give them the best chances in life. Finally, the book contains a handy glossary of terms your young person might be using.

Worried about how to help your child understand these risks? Why not buy them the sister book The Young Person’s Guide to the Modern World.

Purchase on Amazon UK  here.

About Richard Daniel Curtis

Richard Daniel Curtis

Based in Southampton with his partner and their young son, Richard Daniel Curtis is an internationally renowned behaviour expert and futurist passionate about helping people understand mindset and psychology. A former teacher, and mental health support worker, Richard is known for his impact with turning round some of the most extreme behaviours and is consulted about adults and children around the globe, even having two assessments named after him. He has founded The Root of It -an organisation of qualified professionals available to support schools and individuals with behavioural difficulties- for which he was awarded the Gold Scoot Headline Award in 2015 and Best New Business in 2014. Most recently he launched The Mentoring School to train the psychology related to mentoring people of all ages. For his work and expertise he has been interviewed for the BBC,ITV and Sky News TV and various international print media and radio. His previous titles include: 101 Tips for Parents, 101 More Tips for Parents and 101 Behaviour Tips for Parents (2014) and Gratitude at Home (2016).

Website: The Kid Calmer

Twitter: @thekidcalmer

Facebook: #thekidcalmer

 

 

 

Blog tour & review: Winterscroft by Anita Waller.

winterscroft

I was so excited when I heard that Bloodhound Books were publishing another book by Anita Waller. I had read and really enjoyed one of her previous books, 34 Days, and so I really wanted to read Winterscroft. As is often the case when I read books by authors that I’ve previously read and enjoyed, I didn’t know anything about the book, only that it was by an author that I’ve previously enjoyed and published by a publisher that I trust to release good books.

My 4* review:

Having read and enjoyed the author’s previous book, 34 days, I was keen to read this one. I started it without knowing anything about the book, I hadn’t read the blurb, which is something that is often the case when I read books by authors that I’ve read before. I quite like it that way, I have no expectations and can just enjoy the journey that the book will take me on.

I’m especially pleased that I hadn’t read the blurb for Winterscroft because if I had, I’m not sure that I would have read the book. I don’t believe in ghosts, or unsettled spirits coming back to seek revenge and so I expect that had I read the blurb I probably wouldn’t have read this book.

So I am pleased that I hadn’t read the blurb as I did enjoy this book. I did have to just go with the book and not think too much about how unbelievable it was. This was generally easy to do as it was such a good read, and I loved the characters. Lavender’s family were genuinely lovely, believable and interesting characters who I enjoyed reading about and spending time with.

The author writes well, weaving the story and sucking the reader into the lives of the characters within the book. I liked them, I wanted to read more about them and although I thought that it was all a little bit silly, I wanted to know what was going to happen. In fact, I was very frustrated when the book finished as I wanted to know what was going to happen next and how the family would move on from the events in the book. And, having finished the book, I have found myself thinking of them quite often and wondering how they’re doing. Definitely a sign of a good book and believable characters.

Thank you to Bloodhound books for my copy of Winterscroft by Anita Waller. All thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

When the beautiful Lavender is killed in a tragic car accident her family and fiancee Matt are left devastated. As the year’s pass and wounds begin to heal Matt, who has remained close to Lavenders family, meets Beth and falls in love again. When the happy couple announce their engagement it sparks a series of bizarre and disturbing events. Then when Matt and Beth make plans to wed at Lavenders family home, Winterscroft, the frightening truth becomes apparent. Lavender is back. And she is not happy. From the bestselling author of 34 Days comes a tale of love, death and revenge.

About the Author:

anitawaller

Anita was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and has lived all her life there. She has three adult children and seven grandchildren ranging in age from 9 months to 21 years. Anita and Dave have been married almost 49 years!

She wrote Beautiful in 1985 and had it accepted for publication. They were the contract stage when the publishing house went into liquidation.

Like many another book it ended up in the loft until two years ago when she resurrected it, retyped all 100,000 words (it was orginally written on an Amstrad 8256 and all she had was a hard copy!) and sent it off to Bloodhound Books.

She is now retired from my life of being a Patchwork Tutor and HGV driver’s wife and concentrates on patchwork for the pleasure of it and writing. She started writing at around the age of 8 – she clearly remembers writing ‘novels’ at that age which were actually short stories split into chapters!

Anita’s genre is murder – but murder with a good reason behind it!

Winterscroft is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blog Tour: Games People Play by Owen Mullen.

gamespeopleplay

Today is the final stop on the blog tour for Games People Play by Owen Mullen. I have content from the book and my extract carries on from where Emma The Little Bookworm left off.

Extract:

‘The water was freezing. What the hell had Jen been thinking? This was Scotland, for Christ’s sake. He swam to where he’d last seen her and went under. Mark was a good swimmer but it was dark. His frantic fingers searched until the pressure in his chest forced him to the surface. He took in as much air as he could and went back. Something bumped against him. He grabbed hold and dragged it up. Two boys ran into the water to help: the footballers.

They hauled her body the last few yards and Mark fell to his knees. Jennifer wasn’t breathing. People appeared on the beach, silent witnesses to the nightmare the day had become. Where had they been when he needed them? He shouted, half in anger half in desperation. ‘Somebody call an ambulance!’ The crowd kept a respectful distance, they believed what he believed, that he’d lost her. Jennifer’s face was white. Mark covered her mouth with his and breathed into her. His hands pressed against her chest demanding she come back to him. One of the boys took over with no better luck. Mark tried again, refusing to let her go. He pumped her heart, whimpering like a child, sobbing for himself as well as his wife. Jennifer’s eyes fluttered; she retched and vomited water. Mark turned her on her side and rubbed her back, whispering reassurance, blinded by tears, aware his prayers had been answered. A siren sounded in the distance; it was going to be alright. She was safe. They would be together again. The three of them. He raised his head and saw ambulance-men racing towards him across the sand. Mark jumped to his feet. They must have drifted… except the boat was there. His voice rose from a cry to a scream. ‘Lily. Lily!’ He spoke to the group who had offered nothing. ‘I left a baby here, somebody must’ve seen her.’ They stared, no idea what he was talking about. A new terror seized him. He ran a few steps up and down the beach, lost and afraid. The bag lay where Jennifer dropped it. But no push-chair. No sign his daughter had ever been there. Lily was gone.’

Sounds good doesn’t it?!! Games People Play by Owen Mullen is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blurb:

A powerful new crime thriller:

Thirteen-month-old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland while her parents are just yards away.

Three days later the distraught father turns up at private investigator Charlie Cameron’s office. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has stolen his daughter. And why.

Against his better judgment Charlie gets involved In the case and when more bodies are discovered the awful truth dawns: there is a serial killer whose work has gone undetected for decades.

Is baby Lily the latest victim of a madman?

For Charlie it’s too late, he can’t let go. His demons won’t let him.

 

Blog Tour & Review: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart.

 

aboymadeofblocks

A Boy Made of Blogs by Keith Stuart.

 

Today is my stop on the blog tour for a very special book. A Boy Made of Blocks has been out for some time in eBook but the publishers are doing a tour to mark the release in paperback.

My 5* review:

It isn’t often that I give a book 5 stars when I nearly gave up reading it. When the book starts it seems like it is going to be very similar to another book, Shtum, a book that was ok but in my opinion (which seems different to many others), not great. I was not keen to read a book that was so alike. I kept going though and I’m so pleased that I did, sure it was a bit slow to get going but once I got into it I loved it.

A Boy Made of Blocks tells the story of Alex, his wife has asked him to leave, she needs some space and time to work out what she wants from the relationship. Sleeping on the floor in a friend’s spare room Alex finds that maybe it was him that needed the time apart to get himself together.

Alex has spent his life running, running from the haunting memories of his brother’s death as a child and the guilt that he carries as a result. His relationship with Jody was fast forwarded when she got pregnant and Alex found himself with a mortgage and a baby who as he grew became more and more difficult until finally the diagnosis of autism was given.

So when Alex found himself lying on the floor and thinking about his life he was forced to face the reality of how he had thrown himself into a job that he hated but was rather good at, in order to keep himself from dealing with his son, Sam, and the consequences of his diagnosis.

The author clearly has personal experience of autism, and I loved how he wrote about it in this book, it was very matter of fact and honest. If I’d known how much the book talks about the computer game Minecraft then I might have been further put off reading it, but I didn’t know for that I’m grateful. I still only know what the book told me about it but the game became a character in itself in the book, it was very well written.

I’m sure that you won’t be surprised to read that Alex changed as the book went on, that his relationship with Sam changed, it was so beautiful to read about Alex’s journey of self-discovery and love for his son. In fact, as Alex found his love for his son so did I as the reader.

I could gush a bit more but I won’t. A Boy Made of Blocks is a well written debut that takes the reader on a journey with the characters. It really is something special.

I received a copy of A Boy Made of Blocks from the publishers but I was under no obligation to review it.

A Boy Made of Blocks is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blurb:

In the tradition of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls comes a warm and tender novel in which a father and his autistic son connect over the game of Minecraft.

Alex loves his family, and yet he struggles to connect with his eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. The strain has pushed his marriage to the breaking point. So Alex moves in with his merrily irresponsible best friend on the world’s most uncomfortable blow-up bed.

As Alex navigates single life, long-buried family secrets, and part-time fatherhood, his son begins playing Minecraft. Sam’s imagination blossoms and the game opens up a whole new world for father and son to share. Together, they discover that sometimes life must fall apart before you can build a better one.

Inspired by the author’s own relationship with his autistic son, A Boy Made of Blocks is a tear-jerking, funny, and, most, of all true-to-life novel about the power of difference and one very special little boy.

Blog Tour & Review: Dark Minds by Bloodhound books.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Publishers, Bloodhound books, have done something very special. They have brought together a group of crime authors and each of them has written a short story that together makes up the new book, Dark Minds. The proceeds of the book go to two amazing charities, Hospice UK and Sophie’s Appeal making the book even more special.

You can watch a promo video of the book to get you in the mood, but there are so many authors contributing to Dark Minds that everyone is bound to find something that they enjoy. Perfect Christmas present I think, so much so that my brother will be getting a copy.

darkmindssanta

darkmindsallstories

I was sent one story to read but I really wanted to support the book and was keen to read many of the stories by some of my favourite crime authors so I also bought an ebook of it. I’m still reading the book but loving it, I’ve never read short stories before, it’s something that I’ve never really been interested in but I think that Dark Minds has changed my mind. I’m enjoying the fast pace and the stories are short meaning that I can read one or two in a sitting which works well for me. At 400 pages the book is a big one, but broken down into smaller stories it is easy to read. As I haven’t finished the whole book yet I’m just going to talk about the stories that I have read.

15542133_1185300924868380_8347541699500614332_nAuthor B.A.Morton kicks the book off with the story Ten Green Bottles, telling the story of Zoe who wakes up in hospital, covered in blood that isn’t all her own she slowly pieces together the pieces of what happened and faces the full consequences of her actions. Is it her fault that people died?

londoncrawling-darkminds Next Emma Pullar gives us something completely different. Jody leaves work to find London deserted, a thick fog covers everything and she has no mobile reception. As she walks the empty streets she can’t help feeling spooked but is there a good reason for that? Of course there is! This book was really creepy and definitely got under my skin!

theshoe-darkmindsThe fabulous Louise Jensen‘s The Shoes Maketh The Man gives us some twists and turns as Bill, an old man living in a nasty area fearful of being attacked in his own home like many other pensioners in the area. When he hears his upstairs neighbour Bill’s reaction is not what you think it will be, that’s for sure! She has another book out this week, The Gift, and this short story has made me determined to read it soon.

15621584_1313581865350367_6086013827764944870_n-1Then comes Never Tell a Lie by Tara Lyons who co-authored The Caller which I really enjoyed. I loved her story about a man working in a coffee shop and looking for the woman for him. He has some unusual ideas about what that might mean though!! Yikes.

15590180_1313623128679574_8747783979732814351_nRichard Burke gives us his story, A Christmas Killing about a man who gets an intriguing delivery and has some very strange things in his fridge. The story leaves you guessing and trying to get your head around just what it is that is in his fridge.

15622219_1314657988576088_4639021279306110985_nAuthor Betsy Reavley who has published two brilliant book this year, The Optician’s Wife and Frailty, doesn’t disappoint with the unsettling By The Water, about a woman who finds herself in a river covered in blood, did a doctor’s attempt to cure her from her mental health problems actually cause more damage?

15578915_1315061125202441_1666168732298414783_nNext up is Tony Cox with his story, A Cup of Coffee and a Slice of Life. A man in a cafe overhears two old ladies talking about old times, it all seems innocent until the woman start to talk about events that are anything but innocent. This story gave me the shivers.

15349549_1315098708532016_7459202053480914597_nS.E. Lynes gives us Slow Roast Pork, a woman’s husband goes missing and she deals with it by cooking. Guests get given plenty to eat, including the police who particularly enjoy her roast pork. But is all as it seems?! This one got under my skin, and the end was not what I was expecting!

dark-minds-strangers-eyesFinally, I read Paul Gitsham‘s story, A Stranger’s Eyes. In this story, we follow a man who wakes up in a hotel room, beaten and bloodied he can’t remember anything, not even who he is. In his room, he finds a stash of money and soon enough a knock at the door tells him that whatever he has done, the police want to talk to him about it. Panicked he runs, but what is it he did and will he get caught by the police?

 

So far I have enjoyed all of the stories and I hope that many of you are tempted enough to buy a copy for yourself or for someone as a present. It always feels even better buying something when the proceeds go to two amazing charities. I will be publishing my full review when I have finished the complete book.

Dark Minds is out now and available from Amazon UKAmazon USWaterstones and all good book stores.

Blog Tour: Guest Post by Angela Corner Author of The Hidden Island.

hidden-island-blog-tour

I’m delighted to have Angela Corner, author of The Hidden Island on If only I could read faster today giving us some writing advice. As I’m still trying to finish my NaNoWriMo project I’m still really interested in getting all the advice that I can and I have to say that I found a lot of what Angela had to say interesting. I hope that you do too!

Writing Advice

Do you write every day or wait for inspiration to strike?

One of the things I learned for writing for soaps is that if you get up in a morning and wait for inspiration to strike then you’ll never finish anything.  There are days when writing feels easy. The ideas flow, your sentences seem to appear on the page as if by magic, you are ‘in the zone’ and it feels great.  But then there are the days when your mind is blank. The keys on your keyboard might as well be in Chinese. The temptation to eat cake and chocolate or even do some house work is almost impossible to resist.  It is those days when you have to battle and sweat and just write something. Anything. It will feel like total rubbish, and may well be total rubbish, but you have to force yourself to keep writing. It’s a habit, a discipline. And even on those bleak, painful days you may produce something worth keeping. Or the germ of something worth keeping.  

Where do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere. From the news, from family and friends, from eavesdropping on conversations on trains, in pubs and in shops.  There’s a thing called the creative bubble or the creative cloud.  It’s populated by everything going on in the world, locally and nationally.  Everyone can access it and draw inspiration and ideas from it. Sometimes people will reach into the bubble, pull out the same things and come up with very similar ideas at similar times.  It then looks like people are copying each other when in fact they’ve simply got the same ingredients from the bubble and put them together in the same way.

Using friends and family’s experiences – including the most shocking and upsetting ones – as a basis for stories can be difficult to reconcile.  Every time someone confides in you the writer part of you will be thinking of ways it could be made it into a story whereas the ‘human’ part of you will be sympathising and trying to help or console.  It’s a conflict that all writers have and it is essential to keep enough distance between real life experiences and what you use in your stories, either by time or by altering aspects of the story. Otherwise you may end up with no friends and lots of family conflict.

It’s a good idea to have an ideas notepad. You might be working on something else but have a new idea. Write it in your ideas notepad for future reference. It’s very easy – and tempting – to have a great new idea and abandon whatever you’re currently working on to start the new idea. It’s the grass is always greener phenomenon.  New ideas always seem better than the one you’ve been sweating over for weeks and months.  A bit like the excitement of a new relationship. But if you constantly move onto the newest idea you’ll never finish anything. All writers are guilty of it.

Do you plan or make it up as you go along?

All writers are different. Some plan to the nth degree. Others start at chapter one with no idea where they will end up. Most writers are somewhere in between. If you are a writer who has started many books but not managed to finish any then I think planning the structure and major events/turning points is a sensible idea.  It gives you a framework and keeps you focused with certain points to aim for.  With The Hidden Island I started with a fairly detailed plan of each chapter.  This did change to varying degrees as I went along with some aspects removed and others added in.  The original plan included lots of flashbacks to Beckett’s previous investigation on the Island but during the writing process I found this slowed the action too much.   The other big change to the original plan was the ending. This changed when I was writing the synopsis to send off to publishers and agents. In writing the two page synopsis (easily the most difficult part of novel writing!) I realised the original ending wasn’t working as well as I’d liked and a different ending popped into my head.  I put the new ending in the synopsis and then rewrote the final chapter.

My writing day

It’s important, or at least to me, to get into a writing routine. Most writers seem to have a routine that suits them and their lifestyle and mine has had to adapt to changes in my own life.  My preferred time of day to write is actually in the evening and on into the early hours.  However this routine is not conducive to a healthy relationship!  I also struggle to write if anyone else is in the house.  Complete immersion in my made up worlds requires no real world distractions.  So my writing routine now means writing during the day whilst the house is empty. I have a minimum word count of 1000 words a day.  If the writing is going well then I will continue on past 1000 words and keep going until I get beaten by the clock or simply feel too tired to carry on.  If it’s one of those struggling days I will write my 1000 words and then stop but I will make myself do a 1000 words however long it takes and however horrible those 1000 words feel.

Edit as you go or just keep going?

It’s tempting to start each new day by going back over what you’ve written the day before and rewriting it.  But this can really stall all forward motion.  I will edit as I go during the day but once that day’s writing is done, in general, I won’t go back over it the following day. There are exceptions to this – if something really isn’t working, or if I get a lightbulb moment that evening about a new way of doing things or an extra story strand to add.  It’s important to keep going and bury any self-doubt until you’ve got to the final full stop, of the final sentence, of the final chapter.  Then put the manuscript aside for a few weeks, or months. Work on something else. Start a new book, or at least the research and planning of a new book, before picking up your first draft and beginning the editing process.

The Hidden Island by Angela Corner is available now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blurb:

The Hidden Island: an edge of your seat crime thriller

Sex. Drugs. Murder.

Hidden behind the crystal seas and beautiful beaches of a Greek Island dark and dangerous secrets lurk. Beckett has had his fill of adrenaline fuelled criminal investigation and with a broken body and damaged career goes to the Greek Island of Farou to head up the Criminal Investigation Bureau. Serious crime is rare, the weather is great and the beer is cold but his ‘retirement’ is cut short when a pagan cult resurrects and bodies start showing up.

With doubts about his mental and physical ability to do the job, a British police detective is sent to help with the investigation. DI Lee Harper is everything Beckett is not – young, ambitious and by the book.

As well as tackling the new case Beckett must overcome the demons from his past.

Family loyalty, power and money are at the source of the investigation where appearance is everything and nothing is what is seems.

Can Beckett and Harper work together to find justice for the victims?

Will the idyllic island ever be the same again?

Sometimes paradise can be hell.

“This gritty thriller is a brilliantly plotted and refreshing read. Angela Corner is one to watch for those who like their books with a bit more bite” Betsy Reavley, best-selling author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife and Frailty.

Angela Corner is a debut author who mastered her craft as a screenwriter on top serial dramas including Eastenders and Hollyoaks. The Hidden Island is the perfect read for fans of authors like Lisa Hall, Katerina Diamond, Kathryn Croft and Caroline Mitchell