Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The villain of the piece

Practically every writer I know, and most of them are really very nice people, will tell you that they love writing villains.

Why?

An expert would probably have theories about it, but all I can say is that it is extremely satisfying to let your imagination free to be nasty. The term villain can be a broad one, from a bossy mother in law to a serial killer and everything in between. It is still fun to write. Should I really be saying that? Fun?

Thinking about my own writing, I suspect I get something from knowing that evil will eventually get its 'reward', because I am the one manipulating the plot, and that is how it is going to be. I like to tie my endings up with a positive resolution, and because of that, I won't let the bad guys thrive. No ambiguity or cliff hangers. Not always true to real life, I know, but as I have said before, I write escapism, so I can decide how the order will apply.

My villains are villains, and come to a sticky end, but there is also the big issue of the hero with the Dark Past. I have a few of those, and I like them too. Guys who have walked the dark side, know all about how it works, and have turned away from it. But, of course, they bring a lot of stuff along with them ...

I've got an idea that has been a long time brewing, for a series that is sort of the reverse - good guys going over to the dark side to put right something that can't be managed any other way. That one takes a bit of thinking about, because I'm cautious about anything that looks like vigilantism. I'm still working that one through, but it will get there. That one started with a Georgian romance that I partially completed for fun, before I was accepted for publication, and I realised that the group of spies and assassins I'd created there could easily carry forward into the present day. An organisation for justice that has survived for a couple of centuries. Plenty to play with. As I said, working on that one. Hope I might have enough time to write the series from both ends. Wouldn't that be fun.




Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Returning to the scene of the crime

I like to write romance. I like the developing love story, the baggage that the protagonists bring to the party - lots and lots of baggage, please - and I definitely like the happy ending. I can find plenty in the real world to depress me, so between the covers I like things to have a positive resolution and hope. I'm an escapist reader and I write for those who feel the same way. So why do my books always seem to have a crime in them?

And it's getting worse. The romantic suspense have crime, that's a given, that's the suspense bit. I love writing them, and exercising my darker side. But now the rom-coms are going that way too. Summer in San Remo had what I call a light dusting of crime, but the sequel, on which I am now working, centres around attempts to catch a con artist, and the two others that are floating about in the ether, have jewel and art thieves. They are still the lighter, more glamorous side of crime, if you can call crime glamorous, which is, of course, very debatable. No one wants to be on the receiving end of a crime, but there is no doubt that we like reading about them. I expect learned theses have been written about this, but I think it comes down to vicarious excitement. A little walk on the wild side, from a safe place. My rom-coms are about jewel thieves on the Rivera and the Ocean's Eleven type efforts to thwart a villain, but even if it's jewels and art it's still crime. Theft and fraud, but still crime. Somehow it seems that stealing art and jewelry make it more romantic. Which is weird, when you think of it, but there it is. Two of my favourite films are the two versions of the Thomas Crown Affair, which must have an effect on the romantic comedies. Also there is the plotting. Not the kind that goes into the book, but the sort you see on the screen or page, a team or an individual planning and executing something that eventually runs like clockwork. Sometime the watcher doesn't even understand what's going on, but it's still fascinating.

No one dies in the rom-coms, unlike the romantic suspense, when quite a lot of people die, and some of then in a quite unpleasant ways. My next romantic suspense has a gruesome opening setting, of a murder/suicide, although you don't actually see anything. I think my imagination, and yours, can paint a picture without too much description.  I know that detailed descriptions are quite popular at the moment in some books, but its not for me. I'm more interested in the effect that the horror has on my hero and heroine, who manage to lose each other on that night, and only re-discover each other after a long period apart. And, of course, that means there is quite a lot of baggage ...

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Now what?

It is a week since I handed in the thesis. I'm still very tired, but I have seen friends, replaced two light bulbs, done the ironing and cleaned the kitchen. And slept a lot. I have not been anywhere near the garden, rehung the cupboard door or sorted out my tax return, although I have made an appointment at the dentist.

I have also dug in the depths of the metal trunk that keeps my special paperwork and unearthed the partially completed manuscripts. There are three rom com, including the complete first draft of the second Riviera Rogues book, at the moment called A Wedding on the Riviera, and a couple of chapters of a Christmas novella, Christmas in Cannes. There are also three manuscripts for romantic suspense novels in various states of completion. Now I just have to sort them out and get my head back in the game.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Freedom


Eight years of my life came to a close today, when I finally handed in the PhD thesis. The little blighter was finished a 3am yesterday morning!

The first call I made yesterday, after taking it to the print shop, was to my hairdresser, The first facebook post when it was finished, was to my Romantic Novelists' Association Chapter, both of which probably say quite a bit about me.

My writing friends have been with me every step of the last year, writing up 80,000 words that was not a novel. Now I'm wondering about making a popular history out of it. But that is the future. I have to get through the viva first. I also have a hundred and one jobs to do in the house. Don't mention the jungle that was once a garden, and all the paper work, starting with the tax return, and I really need to go to the dentist. And the first thing I did, today, having handed the thing in at the History Department Office, was to sign on for an evening class. Some people are just nuts. It's all about fairy stories, with a fabulous tutor, and I know it is going to be  a lot of fun. So there might just be a fairy story in my future,

But that is the big thing. I now have the chance to write again. If my publisher still wants me, there should be some new stuff next year. It will be good to be back.

Update



There will be news.

Later!

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Written in haste ...

Just to say total panic here. The deadline for you-know-what is one week away and I have my head into proofing and correcting. Normal service will resume as soon as possible!


Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Looking a lot like Christmas?



Okay - with publishers presenting their festive offerings and my local restaurant leafleting their Christmas Menu, it looks like Christmas now begins in August.

I'm focused on a date  much closer than that. The thesis has to be delivered two weeks from today and .... well, you've all seen a building site ,,,,

When I do finally get it done, the to-do list is a mile long, beginning with fixing the cupboard door that fell off yesterday, changing three light bulbs that require steps .. and please don't mention the tax return ....


One thing though - writing is there on the list. I'm even hoping, dimly, that there might be something fit to go to the publishers by, well, Christmas.

I can't actually promise that. But there will be writing. Books are definitely on that list. That is a promise.