Here come the four questions about my writing process…
What am I working on?
My second novel The Perfect Affair has just been published. So I’m currently busying myself with promotional stuff around it. I have, however, just finished a draft of another novel which is ‘resting’ until such time when I can revisit it objectively without finding myself getting tangled up in my characters’ lives at the expense of proper punctuation and syntax! Also occupying me is my MA dissertation on the twentieth-century American poet, Elizabeth Bishop. If one day I could write just one line of poetry as stunning as hers, I would be a happy woman …
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a tricky question! But, to attempt to answer it without seeming in any way too self-conscious, the one thing I try to do is to think as a poet when I write prose. Like many others I am wedded to the idea of STORY, but am also conscious of the rhythm and musicality of sentence structure, I choose words carefully and add in the odd unusual image to stir things up a bit. Having said that, the crows of doubt are habitually flapping their wings around my head so all I really aim to do is to produce something which hopefully others will enjoy and value reading.
Why do I write what I do?
Like Kerry said in her blog last week, I also love writing about ordinary people who find themselves tested and who have to think and act their way through the sometimes extraordinary circumstances of life. For me, each of my characters is on a journey of some sort and the joy for me is to put them in certain settings, expose them to certain challenges and see how they react. I love tracing their narrative arcs and the ebb and flow of plot. I’m also a great believer the tension created when chance and choice collide. I guess therefore that these are the influences at work in the background when I put finger to keyboard. The rest is in the detail.
How does your writing process work?
It can start with the smallest of things: a piece of music, a thought, a photograph, an anecdote. And then the people come. They take up residence in my head and stamp their feet until their story is told. I do plan to a certain extent, but only loosely. I’d rather not be bound by chapter plans which don’t allow for the unexpected. When I’m writing a novel, I normally do so in the morning. 1,600 words is a good day; more than that is exhausting, less than that is somewhat dissatisfying. Then I’d rather wait for the next bit of the story to ferment rather than force it out. This may mean I only have 2 or 3 writing sessions a week. The rest of the time is ‘research’ or thinking time. I am also a great believer in the subconscious. So, if I dream something I sometimes ask myself why and whether the dream is trying to tell me something about what I should put in (or take out) of my story. Rarely do I let myself know how the book will end, though. I like to be surprised!
Next week, there is a huge treat in store – next on the blog hop are:
Amanda Jennings is a writer of contemporary fiction. Her book Sworn Secret was published in 2012 and her second book is coming out at the beginning of May. She lives in Henley on Thames with her husband and their three daughters, and when she isn’t writing can generally be found walking the dog or mucking about on Twitter (@MandaJJennings).
Her blog can be found here.
Kate Furnivall writes sweeping historical novels laced with passionate love stories and gripping adventure set in troubled times. Her first book, The Russian Concubine, shot on to the New York Times bestseller list and was translated into over twenty languages. Since then she has written six more books and is currently working on one set in Italy 1932. She loves to put strong gutsy characters into a richly colourful setting and then test them to the utmost!
You can find her on her website, on Twitter at @KateFurnivall and through her Facebook page at Kate Furnivall (author).