Oh err… Never done one of these before. Thank you to Judith Barrow for inviting me to join. I’ve nominated some other writers below and I hope they will take up the mantle… So here goes.
What am I working on?
At the moment I am working on a number of projects… Here’s the list (yes I know I take too much on).
- The second book for Stage Fright series needs to be roughed out (a children’s book for 7+)
- Illustrations for Stage Fright
- A picture book (can’t get the illustrations to look right – I will get there though)
- A young adult novel about a serial killer (this is being written)
- Research into a children’s book ages 7+ about a girl who fixes time loops
- Illustrations for a chapter book (5+) and again I’m not getting them to look right yet.
- Slowly writing some short stories for a Halloween anthology that will be out this year
Wow! I think that’s it. What can I say…? They all work well together because I am able to get ideas from each. Of course this doesn’t include the pieces that are written and awaiting in slush piles or at publishers.
Love Just Is – an anthology of stories about love (not just love stories) is with the publisher and I am awaiting my proof copy.
Stage Fright is languishing in a slush pile waiting for a publisher to pick it up. It is also my MA dissertation and is currently being marked. Gulp! Everything is crossed for a good grade.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I mostly write creepy books for children. Even my short stories are a little twisted. I think it is a reaction to the fact I used to make soft toys for a living, but it also has to do with the people I read. I love reading books and stories that are a little off the wall, just a bit out-there. Consequently my writing is.
I also have an odd turn of phrase. This I place in the court of the dyslexia. I construct sentences that can be clumsy but at the same time are… well, different. Just read some of the stories on the blog and you can see it. Try An Unexpected Guest, a ghost story that shows what I love to write. 🙂
Am I different? I suppose I am. I’m not scared to give kids horror. In ‘Stage Fright’ I allow the reader to become scared, as the lead character faces down a Queen, Ogre and roses that suck his blood. But at the same time no one is truly hurt and the ending is happy… sort of. I like to push the boundaries even in my short stories and I’m not scared to write about anything.
I hope I have a style and I have been told I do, but I don’t really think about it. I just write.
Why do I write what I do?
I didn’t learn to read until I was 11 and it has effected me in ways I never really understood. When I look back to my childhood reading there is a massive gap. I remember the picture books, vaguely, but after that I jump to Black Beauty and fairy tales. There was nothing in the middle. Now I find that I write for the ages 7+ much easier than I do for younger children. I mean, I have books that cater for the younger reader but they never seem to get past planning. It’s almost as if I don’t know what is expected.
So, I write for children that are older. And also adults… Except that, although the adult content is different, a little scarier or a little more risque, they are done in a similar style. I suppose it is most like a fairy tale. But then I only started writing in 2011. Up to then I spoke my stories.
I’m surprised that my family didn’t tell me to shut up. What I’d do was just launch into a tale I’d made up on the spot. Do I remember them? No, course not. But that is the idea for speaking a story. They are never the same. They change, a bit like Chinese whispers. And I suppose that is what I find very different about writing. Once it is down it doesn’t change, after the edits.
But the audience is much larger. I do know one thing, if I don’t write I start to talk to myself and I get very depressed. I don’t know why. Writing keeps me sane.
So I write because I have to.
How does my writing process work?
I normally start a story with an idea or a smell or a sound. Just a single thing. I then take it and daydream. In school I was always being told off for daydreaming, but now I do it to develop an idea. Once there is a rough story I decide where it sits… Is it for children? A book? A short story? Once that decision is made I rough out the tale, either using a pen and paper or a white board. The story is then broken into chapters and each chapter is roughed out.
It takes a while but after that is done I sit down to write. I type direct onto the computer but keep a pad next to me. Each character has its own page, where I write down a physical description and flaws. I also have a book of chapters that has an outline of each chapter after I’ve written it.
Sounds confusing? It isn’t and it does mean that if a character that left in chapter 3 comes back in chapter 18 I only have to flick to the character page and look at the summaries to find out what happened. I do find the logistics of writing a book very difficult.
A short story? Well, that is much easier. I start and allow myself to wander into the tale. Being short I can hold the whole tale in my head. No need for notes unless it is research.
My nominations for the tour…
I have chosen writers that I love to read. So please look at their work even if they don’t pick up the baton. 🙂
Also Paul Jennings – a prolific writer of excellent short stories
And lastly – Justin Meckes, a great writer of short stories specialising in magical realism.