Thursday, 30 October 2008


But I suspect it'll be a while before I can forget Tristan de Losada Montavalo...

In the meantime I have to hit the ground running with all the things that need washing/ironing/cleaning/arranging before we go away for the weekend tomorrow. And as it's my husband's birthday on Monday there's a fair amount of buying and wrapping involved too. Often feel that my life is horribly reminiscent of some banal Reality TV show where the tasks are increasingly unachievable (but also very dull).
The only thing that's cheering me up is that it's His 40th birthday! Haha! Since I haven't exactly excelled myself on the planning, any ideas for presents or ways to mark the milestone would be greatly appreciated...

Friday, 24 October 2008

It's a good job...

that the clocks go back this weekend.

That gives me a whole extra hour before I have to submit this book.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

India Falls Down a Deadline Hole, and Abby Green Takes Charge!

India Grey has asked me to blog for her to try and distract people from the fact that she’s not blogging. Listen, I don’t mind, the longer her glowing blog stays up about my book the better!!!

But I do feel like I owe her something in return so lucky you, you’re stuck with me. Now the only thing is, what to blog about?

Inspiration is something I’ve been thinking about lately and how essential it is to the whole process. Because ultimately if you’re not being inspired, you’re not getting excited about something and that’s one of the nicest parts of writing. It’s the first step in the process. And brings the most original ideas, sets you apart from the pack, helps to get you published…

I always find that after you get the spark of inspiration, and then sit down to write the thing, you start to veer off on tangents and when you look back at the thing that inspired you first, you’ve come a million miles in a different, not necessarily bad direction. That original kernal usually gets lost in the mix somewhere and sometimes that’s all it was ever meant to be, the intial spark.

You’re also getting into the hard nitty gritty of making something work, crafting your story and all the twists and turns you never dreamt of. And it is hard work!

For my current book (The Spaniard’s Marriage Bargain), I can’t remember what sparked the idea, but I can remember thinking to myself: what would be one of the worst things a woman could do? And to me that would be to abandon her child/baby. There is very little justification for that in the eyes of the world and society. And then I wondered what would make a woman, a mother do that, what possible reason could she have? And then the story grew from there.
I find magazines a great source of inspiration, I keep scrapbooks and I pull pictures out all the time. It can be anything, just a hint of an idea within a picture. The way a woman looks, a model in an outrageous outfit.

And movies! Movies are a veritable coal mine of inspiration, for instance, one of my favourite sequences of all time is the bar/love scene in Out of Sight, and I’m shamelessly using that as inspiration for my current WIP.
Check it out here:
The thing is, inspiration is all around us: pictures in galleries, stories on the news, pictures in magazines, scenes in movies. It’s just a matter of staying open to seeing stuff, not getting bogged down in the logistics of thinking something might not work. And then you have to keep asking yourself, what if?
What if that person met that person? What if he thought she was like this, when she’s actually like that? What if she misjudged him? What would be the absolute worst kind of person for this person to meet? What does this person want? And why can’t they get it/have it?
I think it can get very distracting to spend a lot of time ‘casting’ real people, which invariably means actors, in the roles of your heroes and heroines. Ultimately they have to be in your head. It’s nice to have a face to go with the person in your head but I think we can end up identifying too much with the actor/actress we’ve cast in the role, and that takes away from the unique character we need to build up…
Having said that, I’m using Laura Bailey the British model as my current real life model for my heroine

I have her pictures on the desktop of my computer but it only serves as a guide, something to bring me back to thinking of her in a concrete way – I don’t really want to know about Laura Bailey the person. I have no model/actor picked out for my hero because I can’t find one, but it’s ok because I can see him in my head, and as long as I can transcribe him believably onto the page, that’s all that matters. Whether I pull it off or not remains to be seen!
My current WIP has had a bit of a helping hand in that the characters already appeared in another book. I introduced the hero Tiarnan Quinn (*) as the brother of Sorcha in Bought For the Frenchman’s Pleasure. He only appeared briefly but seemed, to me at least, to make a huge impression. And Kate, my heroine is Sorcha’s best friend, who also only appears briefly. For some reason I wanted Kate and Tiarnan to have their own story, and who knows what made me think that, or to even set them up in such a way. But now I’m in the process of trying to figure out how to get them together and what’s keeping them apart…
So in the spirit of looking for inspiration, I hereby now command you to go out and buy yourself a copy of the magazine of your choice. Be utterly decadent and go for November Vogue, or in light of the current economic climate you might want to go for something like Elle. But buy something, and buy some chocolate and indulge. Pull out pictures, make a collage of images that strike you - for whatever reason - it could be a place, or a person, or a story. Or if that sounds like too much hard work, the new James Bond movie is out in a couple of weeks…

just watch and enjoy!

And now it’s time for me to get back to work and forget whatever it was that inspired me to do this current story in the first place…and then the whole process will start all over again with any luck!
Thanks Abby... now get round here and write my book, do the ironing and clean out the fridge.
(*) Tiarnan Quinn. Seriously, seriously hot hero....

Friday, 10 October 2008

Your mission for this weekend...

...should you choose to accept it. (And I strongly recommend that you do...)

  • Go to a supermarket. Buy a large bar of chocolate (minimum 500g), a box of tissues, a bottle of wine/ indulgent beverage of your choice, and a copy of Abby Green’s latest book The Spaniard’s Marriage Bargain.

  • Return home, thinking of a plausible story that will get you out of all domestic and social responsibilities for at least 24 hours.
  • Unplug phone, make excuses to nearest and dearest and smuggle all purchases up to bed.
  • Read Rowan and Isandro’s story, eat chocolate, drink wine and weep. And weep some more. And then probably read again...

    This is a seriously special book. And I’m honestly not just saying that because Abby Green is my friend—absolutely the opposite in fact, as I’m very fond of telling her (as publicly as possible—preferably in front of editors) that her books are completely terrible and that if she ever wants any writing advice she only has to ask. So naturally it pains me deeply to have to report that this is a cracking, whole box of tissues, edge of your seat, emotionally wrenching page-turner of a read. The characters are perfect: both of them are real and fragile, and their struggle to come to terms with past hurt and move on from it is brilliantly drawn, as is the irresistible sexual tension between them. The story itself is actually pretty breathtaking in its simplicity and emotional logic, with a twist that I just know will make you gasp out loud (and thank me for reminding you to buy the tissues.)

    Just don’t tell her I said so, OK?

Monday, 6 October 2008

A good spell of writing.

I love it when it's like this: when the plot fits together, the words flow and the characters don't stop talking-- even when the computer is off and the house is full of noise, distraction and plumbers. I'm even loving getting up at 5, which is most unlike me, writing faster and happily sinking deeper into the world of the book.

Usually the only things I sink happily into are large glasses of wine, and bed, so this is good. I am very ready to sink. Sinking, in this context, is an extremely positive thing.

(It is also not before time.)

This is my most cold and ruthless hero to date. As a rule I don't go much for cold and ruthless; I tend to find laid back and laconic much more sexy. I think living with the plumbers for so long has brought out my unforgiving side.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Yikes-- it's October!

Which means that my deadline really is getting horrifyingly close. I never did report back on how the ‘slow and steady’ approach was going, did I? I think that in itself probably tells you all you need to know.

Yesterday I took an hour out from panicking over my keyboard and went to the Harvest Festival at daughters #2 and 3’s school, leaving the army of plumbers who had turned up to finally take the new bath from the front room, where its been situated for the past month, and put it up in the bathroom. Felt guilty as I slipped out, clutching my box of harvest gifts, partly for palming off much of our courgette glut onto the elderly of South Cheshire, but also because I felt that I really should have invited the army of plumbers along to the event since they’ve been here so blooming long they’ve become almost part of the family (although not really in a good way.)

Anyway, enjoyed a quiet hour in church contemplating the cycle of the seasons and mentally planning my next sex scene while listening with half an ear to daughter #2 recite a poem (with some difficulty since, as of Sunday morning she has two missing front teeth) and daughter #3 say a prayer. (‘Thank you for good food—for wine, bread olive oil’. Yum...very Jamie Oliver, I thought...) However the highlight of the service was the reception children singing a fabulous song called ‘Jesus you didn’t make my sandwiches.’ I’ve noticed He doesn’t empty the dishwasher much either.

Got back feeling spiritually uplifted (and very smug about getting rid of so many courgettes in one simple stroke) to discover the beautiful new bath in situ but set at a distinctly sloping angle, so the water has no hope of ever draining out properly.

Should have taken the plumbers with me, after all.