QUESTIONS I’M OFTEN ASKED…
(If you have any other questions do please email me. I’ll do my best to answer them and include them here.)
How long did it take you to write Blood-Tied?
The short answer is - about 3 years from initial idea to final draft. I think! The plot went through several changes in the early stages of its evolution and I’m not really certain when this particular version actually emerged. Also that takes account of the protracted nature of the writing as I was also writing short stories and generally reading about and learning the craft of writing as I went along.
How long did you take to find a publisher?
To start with, as per the usual advice, I tried to get an agent interested. Although several rejection letters had encouraging comments scribbled in the margins saying my submission was well written, no one was prepared to take it on. After 15 rejections in as many months I decided to try a few publishers direct and put together a list of those who accepted unsolicitored manuscripts, focusing on the smaller ones in the hope that their slush piles weren’t as big (I don’t think that’s necessarily the case, by the way!). After trying a couple I then read a piece in Writing Magazine which mentioned that Robert Hale Ltd responded quickly to submissions and as they were one on my list I gave them a go. As the article suggested they did reply quickly and within a couple of weeks offered to publish.
Do you have a plan or just sit down and write?
I’m definitely a planner. I like the security of having things worked out. However that doesn’t mean to say that I don’t change things. Nothing is cast in stone. Sometimes just starting to write will spark other ideas, better ideas of how the story could develop. It's exciting to suddenly be inspired at a turn in events that I hadn't thought of. The down side is, it usually means lots of rewrites! But if that's how my brain works - and every writer is different - I just have to go with it. It usually means the book will be better for it.
How do you go about constructing a plot?
I start with an idea, something which intrigues me, and bring in other connecting ideas and then I will chew these over for a period of time, reading and researching until a story line starts to emerge. I will then scribble this down, adding to it as other ideas develop, to create a linear route. From this I plot the story line into scenes, the gist of each scene I write on numbered index cards which I can re-order, alter or add to as I go along. Then I’m ready to start writing the first draft using the cards as an aide memoir.