Historical fiction writer, E M Powell, author of The Fifth Knight, recently asked me to take part in this Blog Hop and I happily agreed. I’ve been involved in a few blog hops over the past couple years and I find them fun and a great way to connect with readers and other writers. The title of this Hop series is The Writing Process, where writers answer four set questions about that topic. It was the perfect topic for me as I’ve just started working on a new novel and am enjoying the experience so much that I’m eager to talk about it. E M Powell has written her post and you can read all about it here. She has tagged me and so now it’s my turn! At the end of this post, you’ll find out a bit about Patricia O’Reilly who comes next. She’ll be posting on 5th May, 2014. Okay, let’s get to the questions.
What am I working on?
I’m writing an historical romance which has a paranormal element to it. It’s set in Northern Ireland against the backdrop of the Second World War and the influx of American soldiers into the province. One of these soldiers, Mike Keegan, has an Irish mother who moved to America before he was born and has always refused to talk about her life in Northern Ireland. While preparing for deployment to the European front, Mike meets and falls in love with local girl, Ellen Corrigan, and delves into his family’s past and the secret that drove them from their homeland.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This story doesn’t follow the common pattern in the genre of a mortal falling in love with a fantasy being. The paranormal entity is malevolent and Mike has to do everything in his power to stop it harming his friends and the woman he loves.
It’s also set in the countryside in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, an unusual location for a war story. There are some great stories to tell about this locale during the Second World War but they have rarely been explored in writing so I wanted to change that.
Why do I write what I do?
This story is a little different from what I have written before. I had never written a supernatural story but they intrigue me and I love reading them so I decided to try my hand at it. I think heartwarming is a good word to describe my writings. I want to leave readers with hope and a good feeling at the end of each story so I guess it’s natural that there’s a romantic thread in this one. I also love history and have gleaned some interesting facts about Northern Ireland during the war years from my reading so I was keen to have a chance to use some of them.
How does my writing process work?
Usually an idea pops into my head and I think about it for a while, considering whether it’s feasible and gradually adding characters and complexity to it. Over a period of time I jot down any ideas I have related to it and when I have enough material gathered I consider how it all fits together. Then I write a plot outline and character descriptions.
I don’t sketch out every detail in my outline but I include the major events and a timeline. Then I start writing. I work on one scene at a time, usually in order. When the first draft of each scene is done I jot down any facts I need to remember (eg. The colour of a character’s hair or an important memory or event in that character’s life) and to do some basic editing. If I allowed myself to do what I really want to, I would spend ages editing every scene as I went along and it would be a very slow process. So I try to keep myself going forward, writing new scenes until I get to the end then editing the whole manuscript.
I don’t have much time to write each day as I work fulltime and also have chores to do in the house and on our small farm in the evenings and on weekends so I dedicate an hour each evening to writing and squeeze in any other writing time when I can. When it’s possible, I like to work early in the morning on weekends when I am free from any distractions other than the cats clamouring for more food (I feed them first, honestly!).
So that’s it – my writing process. I’m now tagging Patricia O’Reilly who’ll be telling you all about her Writing Process next week. You’ll find her post here next Monday. Make sure you check out her blog – and her books!
Her fiction: A Type of Beauty, the story of Kathleen Newton; Time & Destiny; Felicity’s Wedding; Once upon a Summer.
Non-fiction: Writing for Success; Working Mothers; Earning Your Living from Home; Writing for the Market and Dying with Love. Her short stories are published in magazines and anthologies.