Wednesday 29 January 2020

Acting like normal people

Wrestling with my tax return this week, the thought occurred to me, along with a lot of swear words, which we will not go into here - when did you last read a book where someone was doing the same?  I'm sure there are references to doing accounts, making up the books, doing paperwork and so on, but a down and dirty, throwing things at the wall encounter with the delightful wad of incomprehensible forms? Maybe I'll use that sometime. Romantic novelists joke about whether you could ever have a hero who was a tax inspector. Now that has started a hare in my brain. The brain of a novelist ...

The tax return thing got me assembling a mental list of other stuff you rarely see - the ordinary stuff of living:

Doing the ironing
Sorting the recycling
Paying the window cleaner - and what about a hero who is a window cleaner?
Visiting the optician and getting new glasses fitted. That's got me on to a hero/heroine who wear glasses.
Changing library books ...

I bet you can add more.

On the other hand, based on a very unscientific skim through my own reading, heroes and heroines spend a lot of time hanging out in coffee shops, either working or meeting cute baristas, or both. Also there is generally a lot of drinking coffee/wine/gin, baking wonderful cakes, or having disasters while attempting it, walking on the beach, interacting with a cute dog/cat, having minor traffic accidents to provide the meet cute (and yes, the traffic warden is another 'not my hero' area). There's a lot of cute stuff in here. Also characters in books often have careers in the media, or publishing. They seem to suffer from an higher than average tendency to sprained ankles (see also meet cute, above). I saw a tweet last week too that mentioned that lots of characters seem to suffer from amnesia. And there is an exceptionally high instance of close relative suffering death by air or car crash. Which is not good if you happen to be a close relative.

And that's given me an idea for another post, so I'll do that one next week.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Serial Offender

Readers like books series, which means that publishers like them too. There are of course different types - some feature the same characters in different adventures - a lot of police procedurals follow that pattern. Some have a theme that runs though a set of stories - a family, an organisation, a quest. Sometimes individual books are episodes in an overarching and continuing story, a bit like a TV soap.

The question I'm toying with at the moment is 'How do you decide that this book is going to be part of a series?' As a romance writer who insists on a HEA ending - my hero and heroine have to complete their story and make a commitment to each other - I'm old fashioned, so that tends to be marriage - and so my stories tend to be stand-alones. The first and third options are not really going to be my thing. To tell the truth, as a reader I tend to avoid door number three as well. I don't go for cliff hangers. Which leaves the middle choice. Now that I can do, and will be, when I finally get the academic stuff put to bed, with the Riviera Rogues, which are kind of adventure/mystery romance.

That one began because I really enjoyed spending time with Cassie and Jake, was reluctant to let them go, and the potential of the detective agency which Jake takes over gave me some scope for further stories, each with a new central couple, but with the agency as a background. It gives me a chance for a new love story and to let characters wander through each others stories. I have Nadine and Ryan and Lisa and Mick lined up, with Michelle waiting in the wings for her story.  After that, who knows?

I have an idea that has gelled for a much more romantic series around members of a book group who are starting their own businesses, and lots of ideas for romantic suspense. That plan has an overarching background of a private security agency and sets of books in threes with groups of heroes who work together. I have one that is kind of a stand alone within the series, which I am now wondering might form a line around another theme, probably code breakers of some sort.

All this is very fine. When is someone going to invent the 48 hour day?

Wednesday 15 January 2020

What's your problem?

Over the holiday I've been doing some writing - pause here for round of applause. This involved going back to the Christmas novel, or novella, not sure which, that has been on the back burner for a while. Which meant I had to re-acquaint myself with the characters. And their problems.

I was motoring along, unfolding some of the plot, which was fine, when I came to a stop. Hang on a minute - remember this is a romance! Now that he's stopped thinking she is one of the bad guys and she's stopped thinking he is remote and stand offish, isn't it about time hero and heroine spent some quality time together?

The only one who was going to give them that quality time was me - and I had the backdrop of the French Riviera to do it in, so there was no excuse for getting on with it. But I needed to get back under the skin of the characters to make it happen.

This meant I spent a happy morning excavating family trees, reacquainting myself with the things in their backgrounds that have made them who they are and how that will bring them together. In other words figuring out their problems. And how to resolve them. Wheels within wheels, because they still have to sort out the crime caper I have dumped them into as well.

It's complicated stuff, this writing lark. 

Monday 6 January 2020

Promises, promises

As regular readers know. I don't really do New Year resolutions. 2020 has also started rather inauspiciously, as I have been stuck down by a rather nasty lurgy, which has taken a while to shake off. I'm still not functioning on all cylinders, but getting there. As a consequence I have done a lot of reading and sleeping, but I have done some work too, and the Christmas Riviera Rouges has gained some pages. I'm not yet sure if it will be Rogue 2.5 or Rogue 3 - depends how long it ends up. It was going to be a novella, but now I'm not so sure ...

Now that the holidays are over, I am also back doing corrections and final proofing for the PhD, which will be getting priority for the next few weeks, so the writing will be on the back burner again.

So - no resolutions, but a few promises to myself - that once the academic stuff is finally done, there will be writing - lots of it, I hope. Also some location visiting. And won't that be fun.


Wednesday 1 January 2020

Happy New Year

Best Year Ever?

I hope so. I have lots of new books pestering me to be written. All I have to do is get on with it.

Happy New Year, everyone.