A fellow author and good friend, Javier A Robayo, kindly invited me into a Writing Process Blog Tour. I’ll do my best to answer his questions below, then introduce two more authors, to keep the tour moving forward. Great idea.
All book links are to the UK Amazon site, as I’m UK based, but all are available on the USA site too.
First a little about Javier, by way of a ‘thank you’. Mr Robayo writes extraordinary emotional novels. His contemporary dramas, set in America and England, take risks. Not only can he successfully inhabit the female mind as an author, but he writes as a British girl in his first book The Gaze.
All this from a man who, as a young immigrant to the States, had to learn English in his teens. His strong following is well deserved.
Javier does obsession well and makes us question ourselves. I loved his complex heroine Samantha in The Gaze and revelled in the sequel, The Next Chapter. I have to declare a slight leaning towards his opus My Two Flags, a coming of age story in which his own history clearly feeds the narrative. All his work is heartfelt and his support as a fellow author has been overwhelming.
And now for the questions…
What am I working on?
I launched my first novel The Treeman in 2012 and this year released the sequel, called The River Girl. These form The Hanningdon Magic Series and tell the contemporary story of a village in England that pulls gifted people into its fold. Romance and magic both feature in my work.
A key role in both books is the gypsy Mari Roman, who has magic in her blood. She is the ultimate matchmaker, yet we see mere glimpses. It is her legacy that is potent. I began to wonder where her line of magic stemmed from. Some things write themselves, so a short novella on Mari’s ancestry is on its way. A wee fantasy of births, deaths and sacrifices.
A third book in The Hanningdon Magic Series may happen, but other ideas are in need of exorcism. Various short stories, a book of verse and a radio play are in motion. I’m also halfway through a musical script/novel set in the contemporary world of burlesque. This involves a powerful love triangle teased by an old mystery.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’m not entirely comfortable with genres. My categories for Kindle are ‘romance/suspense’ and ‘romance/paranormal’, which seemed the closest available. Yet it’s the interweaving of relationships that interests me. The magic is there to enhance, rather than being the plot device. I open pathways from the human mind to secrets in the natural world, to see how an unexpected gift might affect egos, desire and relationships. Hopefully the delicate balance between paranormal activity and the demands of the human heart makes my work different. Hmmm, yes – that sounds good. Let’s leave it at that!
Why do I write what I do?
I always seek the company of ghosts and the gifted in my writing – even with my musical theatre work. I grew up on a mix of romance,sci-fi and fantasy, so influences were in place. Yet there’s a level of realism involved for me. I love a good vampire for example, but haven’t been pulled in that direction as a writer. I want to see what the human mind is capable of on its own. We’ve almost exhausted the possibilities for exploration on planet Earth, but the human mind still taunts us.
How does my writing process work?
I like quiet, but I’ve learnt to block out noise. I share an office with my husband and son, so I’m gypsy in my habits. I travel the house in search of nooks and crannies where I can hide with my laptop. I have notebooks everywhere, full of scratchings. There’s always one by the bed and, as I fall asleep, my mind fixes things. It’s when I close the missing links and I love these tiny triumphs. My beta readers are wonderful and tell me off when I lose the thread. I always write too much and cull to frightening lengths. Treeman lost 30,000 words before launch. I take pride in releasing work that has been carefully tended and probably worry too much. It’s why I don’t blog as much as I should.
My first intro is for the lovely Carol Marrs Phipps, who writes in collaboration with her husband Tom, all the way from the Land of Niarg. Carol’s warmth and kindness know no bounds and we have developed a kinship that I hope means as much to her as it does to myself. Yet in her work with Tom, she can handle the harshest scenarios with aplomb. No-one is safe in Elf Killers, set in a genocidal world, where brute force holds sway. A fine read. The first book in their Heart of the Staff series, Good Sister, Bad Sister has a lighter touch, but there’s still this wonderful sense of unease. And of course, it introduces the witch Demonica, who I imperiously demanded should provide an encore. I had no need to worry, Carol was grinning as she and Tom released an entire run of books in the series! All of which have phenomenal covers by the way.
My second intro is for the masterful Kensington Gore, the infamous Hammered Horror film director whose death has been much exaggerated. Just when you thought it was safe to be tucked up in bed, he’s back to scare the pants off you… along with his writing partners, Graeme Parker and Leesa Wallace. Yet, get to know this rascal and you find a man who cheers other writers on, helps to promote and publish them, and goes to great lengths to build their confidence. His charity venture Twisted Tails presents a collection of animal tales with bite and venom, offering a range of stories from up and coming new writers. Good to see such encouragement Mr Gore – guess you’re not quite as scary as you’d have us believe eh? I recently read his story Robot Love. Set in the future, women have eradicated men and have perfect robot lovers who also do the housework. Don’t fret too much boys, we like you really. A worthy skit on Stepford and a fine romp. I will be embarking on Seasoning of the Witch next and looking out for more from the old master. (He’s fun too.)
Best wishes to everyone in the Writing Process Blog Tour and happy reading to all who visit!