FAQs – and some answers (iii)

My first thing in the morning posts over the past few days have all been triggered by an original post entitled Frequently Asked Questions. I wrote this as part of a challenge a fellow blogger and I have somehow managed to set ourselves, to write seventy-three blogs from a pre-determined list… and I arrived at number twenty-seven, FAQs!

Having shared a number of questions I frequently get asked, it seemed churlish not to answer them! So here are the next five on my list:

  1. Do you do a lot of research? Yes. Most of my novels are set in my fictitious setting of the small town of Easthope, and the nearby city of Strand; you might think that since they are imaginary I just make up all the details of their geography and history, well, yes I do but it doesn’t mean I don’t have to do research. The latest thing I investigated was geological – there is an old disused quarry which features in many of the stories and I had to research the geology of that type of working. Ancestors of one of my character worked in local brickworks, and another in an umbrella factory – so off to find out about eighteenth and nineteenth century brickworks and umbrella factories. There is a suburb of Strand which was built by an eccentric early twentieth century builder and so I looked up Tudorbethan architecture…Most recently I have been finding out about Zeppelin raids in Norfolk in WW1!! I set one novel in an actual place, Oldham; I was living there at the time and I did a lot of research in terms of how long it would take to get from one place to another – walking or driving, the geography of some parts of the town I didn’t know, little things like that.
  2. Do you work out your plot before you begin? No. I might have some general idea – four brothers, stalked woman who stalks the stalker, PTSD, but it’s only a general idea and the eventual narrative goes off in all sorts of directions I never guessed at before I started!
  3. Do you write women’s romances? I am amazed at the number of people who, when I say I write and self-publish books, ask if I write romances or chick-lit (if the genre still exists) No, I do not; there is often a romantic aspect to the relationship some characters have with each other – but that’s life, isn’t it, and also it is only an aspect – not a main feature. Sometimes love is a powerful motive and trigger for things to happen, but it is usually for some plot reason. I don’t write sex scenes – except in one novel where it was crucial to the reason certain things happened.
  4. Do you know what the ending is going to be when you start? Sometimes I have a rough idea, or a particular scene in mind, but usually no, I have no idea! Having said that, as I wrote I gradually work out where things are heading and have an ending in mind – but it might change!
  5. Do you start at the beginning of your story when you are writing or do you write the exciting bits first then join them together? I usually start from a particular point and work forwards. However, sometimes I think again and start the story earlier in the narrative, or sometimes I write things out of time sequence, so might go back and have extra scenes before the first I wrote.

This is a link to the story I wrote set in Oldham:


… and here is the one about a stalker stalked:


… and here is a link to all my books:


One Comment

  1. Array

    I await the novel Four set off for the Mars and ponder on how you persuade NASA to foot the costs of a] the research journey b] a years supply of red wine


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