The Writing Process Blog Tour

This is my contribution to the “blog tour” game going around the Internet (#Mywritingprocess). Authors blog about their writing process and then tag someone else to do the same. I was tagged by Sandra Moran, an author I’m very happy to have met recently and whose book ‘Letters Never Sent’ was the first full-length novel I’ve read in ages. It was definitely worth breaking my fiction reading block for this excellent book. See her blog post here.

1. What am I working on?

I released my fourth novel ‘A Place Somewhere’ in March (along with a song for the book), and promised myself a break to deal with moving from Ireland to America. However, as seems to happen every time I finish a novel, another one bubbles to the surface.

So now I’m working on the third in the Vision Painter series. I I have an outline worked out and the characters have been talking away to me on my many walks with Clio through my new (temporary) neighborhood.

I’m still at that early stage where decisions can shape the whole outcome. As they say, every journey of a thousands steps begins with one step. If that step sets the novel off in the direction of the East instead of West, it will end up completely different. I find that thought exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.

Falling Colours and Casting Shadows (the first two books in the Vision Painter series) were quite different from each other, and I enjoyed both in different ways. Falling Colours introduced the unique concept of vision painting and its power while Casting Shadows delved into the origins and secrets of the profession.This, as yet untitled, sequel will focus more on the beauty of the unique concept of vision painting, and its future. And there will still be love, pain, deception, and a few twists along the way. Kiran has to face a whole new set of challenges, including a new vision painter in town.

2. How does my work differ from others in the same genre?

I‘d be a lot more able to answer this question if I knew in what genre I wrote and so counted as the ‘same genre’.

I don’t really write by genre. I write the story I need to tell, and everyone’s story is different. I draw from my diverse background as an Indian, born in Nigeria, living for many years in Ireland, and with all my family in America. From my educational and career background as a doctor, an IT person, a restaurant/bar owner, a writer. Even from my brief experiences in summer jobs as chambermaid, inventory clerk, pizza cutter, physiotherapy assistant, flower-stall ‘manager’. From my interests, my daily life, my loves, my failures, my successes.

My work will always, therefore, be different from the work of other writers in any genre. In the same way that their stories will be different from mine.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write to find out what I believe, what I feel, what life is about, what love is about. To answer the many questions that I have. I write characters who are not me, but they allow me to live in them, to see what could happen in another world, to achieve a temporary sense of control, to say and do what I should have, to make sense of what others do.

I’ve always been an introvert and sometimes, in the past, I’ve lived through my avid reading. Since I started writing stories, I have lived in the minds of many different characters. I’ve had their voices playing in my head. In those years, there have only been a few weeks, between projects, where I’ve woken up to just my voice, to the ‘reality’ of a life where none of us has any control. The sensible advice would probably be to ‘get out more’, but I feel less alone by having the capacity to live in those parallel lives, to have the company of my ‘imaginary friends’ as well. And sometimes I discover things in my characters or my fictional worlds that help me in my ‘real’ life.

4. How does my writing process work?

I’d love to be able to answer that now in the same way that I did for a blog post months ago or years ago. But it has changed again. My writing process seems to be changing along with me, as I grow and learn.

I still work along the basic lines of – get an idea (or get hit on the head with an idea), develop the idea into a concept by asking ‘what if’ questions, work out an outline, design the architecture of the story, write the scenes. I edit as I write, so the next step for me is to get the manuscript to trusted beta readers and see if there is anything that isn’t working for them.

What has mostly changed for this novel are the mechanics of writing. I’m not at my usual writing spot, with my usual PC/laptop. (I’m supposed to be learning MAC programming so I’m now Windows-less and that’s a big change after so many years). When I wrote longhand, it was on the back of old typed printouts of my previous novels. Now I’m carrying around a purple ruled notepad that I stole from my nephew’s collection for school. I try to keep the notepad near me, but usually get whole conversations playing out in my head while I’m on my many walks with Clio (I know, I know, I’m repeating myself, but she really has become very demanding). The walks can be very good for percolating, and I’ve managed to come back from them and get a few conversations down on paper. Which is another change that I noticed from the last few months of writing ‘A Place Somewhere’. I’m writing down more conversations between characters and then building scenes around them.

The best analogy I can think of for my writing process is that of a train. I decide that I’m going to take a journey, I pick my departure and destination and construct a railway line with stations along the way. I create the scenes as compartments of the train. While all of that might seem very structured and mechanical, I need it to keep on track. I invite the characters on the journey and give them the freedom to be themselves within the compartments. They can have a riotous party or they can talk quietly amongst themselves. There are times when I’ve caught them running along the roof of the carriages whooping and hollering, but ultimately we all remain on the train and it is up to me to keep them on board and drive that thing to the destination.

At the moment, with the WIP, I have gathered everyone together for the journey and I’m laying out the tracks. I wrote the Prologue (got too excited about writing again and jumped ahead of myself), but I’m not allowing anyone on board until I’ve figured out the journey. Some characters have already started to have conversations on the platform, so I’m taking notes. With everything that is going on in my life, they’re going to have to be patient..

I’m tagging Caren Werlinger, author of Looking Through Windows, Miserere, In This Small Spot, and Year of the Monsoon. Her newest release, She Sings of Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things, will be available in May. You can find out more about her work at www.cjwerlinger.wordpress.com.

I’m also tagging Kate McLachlan, author of RIP Van Dyke, Rescue at Inspiration Point, Hearts,Dead and Alive, and Murder and the Hurdy Gurdy Girl. Her latest book, Return of an Impetuous Pilot, was released in March 2014. Please check her out at http://www.katemclachlan.com.

And last, but certainly not least, I’m tagging my best hugger 🙂 Tonie Chacon McLachlan, wife of Kate McLachlan, and author of Struck! A Titanic Love Story which is being published in April 2015. http://www.toniechacon.homestead.com.

Going to add another tag 🙂

I’m tagging Suzie Carr, author of Staying True, Inner Secrets, The Fiche Room, Tangerine Twist, A New Leash on Life, The Muse – A Novel of Romance and Discovery, and Two Feet off the Ground. Her latest release, The Journey Somewhere is now available. Find out more at http://curveswelcome.com.

Announcing the publication of A Place Somewhere

I am thrilled to announce that my fourth novel, ‘A Place Somewhere’, is now available on Amazon and Smashwords.

DigitalFrontAPSHow far would you go? Would you lie to protect the innocent?
ALEX HART risked everything to be with her online girlfriend of two years and moved from Ireland to America. But the unthinkable happened and she is emotionally and financially ruined. Devastated, she turns her anger and betrayal into a mission to root out those who deceive the innocent online.
When a mother pleads for Alex to protect her daughter from an online predator in Ireland, Alex must become what she hates.
How far will she go before losing herself in her own web of deception?

A Place Somewhere on Amazon.com
A Place Somewhere on Amazon.co.uk
A Place Somewhere on Smashwords

It arrived earlier than expected and the song of the same name that was to be released with it is only going to be recorded on Thursday and should be available on iTunes etc by Friday.

Casting Shadows is now available

Casting Shadows – The Further Misadventures of a Vision Painter

Casting ShadowsKiran is still the only vision painter in Ireland but she cannot express her gift as she struggles with the consequences of its misuse. When everything she loves is threatened, she must protect her family by uncovering the history and secrets of the vision painters in Kerala. But there are those who will do what it takes to keep the truth locked away in the shadows of the past.

Casting Shadows is a story of love, sacrifice, betrayal and guilt. Of love and hatred that spans time and place. Of history that casts shadows on the future.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00B6UFULM

 

Pre-Launch of Casting Shadows: Falling Colours & Heart Stopper – $2.99 for a Limited Time!

In anticipation of the launch of my third novel Casting Shadows – The Further Misadventures of a Vision Painter, I am running a promotion on my other two novels. This promo runs for a limited time so if you haven’t already got the first in the series, this is your chance to catch up.
You can get the first novel in the series, Falling Colours – The Misadventures of a Vision Painter, at the reduced price of
$2.99 on Amazon.com and
£1.92 on Amazon.co.uk
You can also get Falling Colours on Smashwords for $2.99 by entering the Coupon Code: JR73J

While you’re there, check out the new cover for my first novel, Heart Stopper. And get it for
$2.99 on Amazon.com and £1.92 on Amazon.co.uk
You can also get Heart Stopper on Smashwords for $2.99 by entering the Coupon Code: AP69B

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I’ve been tagged by fellow author Alison Grey for the 24th week of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.

The idea is to hop from blog to blog to discover exciting books we might not have heard about or that are still works in progress. Each author will answer the same ten questions, then list authors who will answer the questions on their blogs next Wednesday.

So let’s get started..

What is the working title of your book?

My work in progress is Casting Shadows – The Further Misadventures of a Vision Painter. It is a  sequel to Falling Colours – The Misadventures of a Vision Painter but due to personal circumstances I’m now not sure whether it will be finished so I’ll be talking more about Falling Colours which was published in June 2012. 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I was writing exercises for writing classes and working on my first novel Heart Stopper, I kept finding that life was imitating my writing in small and slightly scary ways. Over the previous few years I had already discovered the power and danger of writing out your visions for your future. When an exercise was set to write out a short story using magical realism, I thought of the idea of someone with the gift of turning people’s vision into reality. I did not want to write about a writer doing this, and since I enjoy painting, I came up with the concept of Vision Painting. I wrote a short story called The Vision Painter which I turned into the novel, Falling Colours.

What genre does your book fall under?

Falling Colours does not really fit into any category. It has elements of magical realism, lesbian romance, and suspense. It has been nominated in the General Fiction category for awards for this reason.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

When I wrote Heart Stopper and had an Irish-Indian character, Priya, who had no Irish blood in her, I found that people assumed that Priya was me. So I tried to change the protagonist’s ethnicity in Falling Colours but still wanted her to have an Irish-Indian background. I based Kiran on Aishwarya Rai who has beautiful and different coloured eyes to the norm of an Indian woman. So I guess it would make sense that Aishwarya could play her. Ashley was based on a crush I had at the time on a straight redhead. She grew more developed in my mind as I wrote Casting Shadows but I guess Julianne Moore or Jessica Chastain could play the Ashley that appears in Falling Colours. We are talking wishful thinking here, right..? 🙂

By the way, it didn’t work.. People still see Kiran as me..

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Falling Colours: Everything changes for Kiran, the only vision painter working in Ireland, when she meets a woman and makes a tiny wee mistake.

Casting Shadows: When everything she loves is threatened, Kiran has to uncover the secrets buried in the history of the vision painters.

What is the longer synopsis of your book?

Kiran is a vision painter. The only vision painter working in Ireland. Her vision painting  practice isn’t doing too well and she works as a waitress in a struggling restaurant in Connemara. Everything changes when she meets a woman. And makes a tiny wee mistake.

Falling Colours (as described in a review) while thrilling in its pace and plot turns, is also a truly unique study of love and its effects.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Falling Colours was self-published as an e-book (at Amazon and Smashwords) and as a paperback through CreateSpace.

My first book Heart Stopper was also self-published as an e-book (at Amazon and Smashwords) and as a paperback through CreateSpace.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I wrote and edited Falling Colours in five months. The writing flowed and I did most of my editing as I wrote. I found that the characters in the book pretty much told me what to write and I had a lot of fun especially in the interactions between Marge and Kiran.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Falling Colours was inspired by the idea that someone could help people find their own happiness by getting them to visualize it clearly.

Casting Shadows was inspired by a curiosity about the details of the entirely mythical profession of vision painting. How did it start? How does it work? How did the rules come into play? What happens when things go wrong?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I hope it will get readers thinking about what they wish for in their lives and why. Also, there are challenging characters in the book, especially the character of Marge, and that is the only criticism I have received of the book. I wouldn’t change Marge for the world. I wrote her as she presented herself. I find I can’t write if I don’t believe so I can’t write books that are just populated with likeable, loveable, happy characters. We all know people who are so damaged that they can be difficult to love or like. I wanted to explore the point of view of a character like that, one who is not inherently evil and doesn’t mean to be hurtful but ends up causing such pain.

Next Wednesday check out Clare Ashton’s blog to find out about their Next Big Thing.

If you are an author and you want to participate in the blog hop, please contact Clare.

 

Galway Launch of Heart Stopper

May Over The Edge Writers’ Gathering

at The Kitchen @ The Museum
(text by Kevin Higgins, Over the Edge)
The May Over The Edge Writers’ Gathering presents readings by John Corless, Elaine Cosgrove, Mick Donnellan & visiting Australian poet Ross Donlon. The evening will also see the launch of novels by two unique Galway-based writers Rejini Samuel & Yvonne McEvaddy. The event will take place at The Kitchen @ The Museum, Spanish Arch, Galway on Wednesday, May 9th, 8pm. All are welcome. There is no cover charge. 

Yvonne McEvaddy has been dabbling in the written word since early childhood, having decided at the age of 5, when she read her first Enid Blyton book, that she wanted to be a writer. Her summer holidays were often spent writing adventures in the remaining pages of her school copybooks. When not writing she was daydreaming about her books being available in her local bookstore. Her novel, Passion Killer, is just published. 

Ross Donlon has featured at poetry festivals in Australia and England. He has won spoken words events as well as international poetry competitions including the Wenlock Festival Poetry Prize (U.K.) judged by Carol Ann Duffy (2010), the MPU International Poetry Competition (2011) and was shortlisted for this year’s Bridport Prize (U.K.) from 8, 200 entries. His latest book, The Blue Dressing Gown and other poems, is published by Profile Poetry.

Elaine Cosgrove is 26, comes from Sligo and lives in Galway City. Her writing has been published online at wordlegs, minus 9 squared and UpStart. She was short listed for both the Over the Edge ‘New Writer of the Year Competition’ and the Fish Publishing ‘One Page Story Prize’ in 2010. Most recently, two of her poems were included in the wordlegs ’30 Under 30′ ebook anthology of thirty younger Irish writers. Elaine was long listed in the poetry category of the Doire Press ‘1st Annual Chapbook Competition’. She has recently being accepted onto the MPhil in Creative Writing at Trinity College Dublin.

John Corless lives near Claremorris, in County Mayo, and is a vastly experienced creative writing tutor. Many satisfied students have taken John’s creative writing courses at GMIT Castlebar, over the past number of years. John’s debut poetry collection, Are you ready?, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2009 and has been a poetry bestseller. He is the judge for this year’s Over The Edge New Writer of The Year competition.

Mick Donnellan is originally from Ballinrobe. He had an immensely successful year in the theatre in 2011. His most popular plays to date – Sunday Morning Coming Down, Shortcut to Halleljuah and Gun Metal Grey – have sold out across the country, inspiring excellent reviews and standing ovations from sell-out crowds. Mick Donnellan’s artistic metirs are now also being recognised in the fiction world. His debut crime novel, El Niño, has just been published. 

Rejini Samuel was short-listed for the 2011 Over the Edge ‘New Writer of the Year Competition’ and she was the only entrant to have both her fiction and her poetry long-listed for the Doire Press ‘1st Annual International Fiction and Poetry Chapbook Competition’ in January 2012. Under her pen name R J Samuel, she has just published her first novel Heart Stopper. 

There is no entrance fee. The Kitchen @ The Museum has a wine licence.
For further information contact 087-6431748.

Over The Edge acknowledges the ongoing generous financial support of the Arts Council and Galway City Council.http://www.overtheedgeliteraryevents.blogspot.com/