I was tagged by Una McCormack to take part in this – so here are my answers to the questions!
What am I working on?
My novel White Feathers, which is currently in edit/rewrite stage after being acquired by the O’Brien Press’s Brandon imprint last September. It’s a novel based during WWI and its premise is: a young girl’s family try to push her into giving a white feather of cowardice to the man she loves.
That’s it, for the moment; these edits are taking up all my time. It’s hard work, but I enjoy it.
Before the edits started, I was working on the first draft a second novel about Germans in Czechoslovakia in 1938 and a dangerous love affair, but that’s on hold for the moment.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I’m not sure I’m that bothered about difference for difference’s sake. I’d rather write a good story that is in an identifiable genre than a wodge of text in some sort of “oh I wouldn’t call it X” category. I suppose it’s a story from a very popular time period that doesn’t often get told, and protagonists that perhaps wouldn’t tell it. Other than that, I don’t know really – and it isn’t important to me.
I do feel that in historical fiction a certain – if not reverence then workmanlike respect, at least – for the facts is necessary. One can take (acknowledged) liberties with the facts to a certain degree. But if you drop an anachronism into your work, be prepared for readers to notice and, rightly, judge you.
How does my writing process work?
Before I resigned in January, I worked full time while I wrote. The novel I’m currently working on took four drafts, with breaks between. I wouldn’t say I wrote every day, but as the process got more intense, I had more motive to finish the draft and so naturally wrote more often. I rarely write early in the morning – I’m an owl by nature. Now that I’m home, I do write mid-morning. I plan a few scenes ahead each time – particularly for a first draft that helps as while I have an overarching knowledge of where the plot is going, I haven’t always worked out the fine details. This is when I start making private notes on a dedicated blog space. I have a tag for every character and I just make notes for each one.
Every November I take part with an online writing group in a group writing project which has enormously helped my writing process because of the feedback for each small segment each one of us posts.
When I’m near a final draft, I print the thing out, bring it to a nice café and scribble all over it!