Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Cover story

 Now that the latest manuscript has gone to the publisher I have a new set of milestones - what the readers' panel thinks of the book - I hope it's positive because the next two depend on it - the edits - not so much fun - and seeing the cover which is always exciting. You often hear horror stories of authors who hate their covers so maybe I am lucky as I have loved all mine. If we get that far, it will be interesting to see how the designer interprets the villa and it's garden. There will definitely have to be roses. 

There are fashions in covers. I am just a little bit addicted to standing in front of the book display in ASDA admiring them. There are good old tropes - back version of a woman usually dressed in a red coat - although lately I have seen bright yellow creeping in. She is walking or running depending whether it is a romance or thriller. Or there's the back view of a man - these are thrillers - with some sort of desolate urban scene in the background. Lately romances seem to be either rural or beach scenes with either a house or a figure or simply a plain pastel background with a variety of odd items scattered over it. Pink and turquoise seem to be popular colours. Crime/thrillers have been featuring hard blues and yellows for a while, with an indistinct background for a bold font for authors name and title and often with a sub title interleaved thorough it. 

I have to admit that when you are looking at a row of books - at least when I am - they tend to blur into each other. A bit of variety might be nice. On the other hand these covers clearly give out a signal for readers about the contents - that solitary guy walking down sepia mean streets probably isn't going to find romance at the end of them - or if he does she will probably meet a nasty end at the hands of the villain so he can go back to walking those mean streets alone, just that little bit more damaged and jaded. Cynical? Me? 

I know it is good for readers to understand what they are getting - to be able to pick up a book with confidence that they have a head start on the possibility of enjoying it, but it's that blurring again. But then fashion is fashion.

And I still can't wait to see what sort of cover the new book might get. Will it have roses?


Wednesday, 2 June 2021

So many tropes, so little time

 Well book three of the Riviera series has gone to the publisher. Now we have to see what the readers' panel will make of it. In the meantime, I have begun book four - but it will probably be slow going as I do have housekeeping tasks that have been on hold for too long to be ignored much longer. 

What's the new one about? At the moment it seems to be somewhere between a county house mystery crossed with something creepy involving Egyptian mummies, but I'm going to have to sort that out shortly!!! Books sometimes change quite a bit in the process of being written, the latest one did. 

My trouble? I'm easily led. If I read something that I enjoy, then I want to have a go. Sometimes that involves turning the idea on it's head, which is how A Wedding on the Riviera came out of reading a couple of runaway bride books in quick succession.  I've always wanted to play with an amnesia book and I definitely have plans for a treasure hunt book, with clues and cyphers and everything, and then there's stolen art ...

I've just been reading the Josephine Tey classic Brat Farrer and now I want to write an imposter book - one where a long lost heir comes back to claim an inheritance. Mary Stewart's The Ivy Tree also has a hand in that. It's interesting - two different treatments of the same idea. You know from the start that Brat is an imposter. In The Ivy Tree the identity of the heroine is much more ambiguous. It's many decades since I read that one for the first time, but I recall changing my mind several times over whether this really was Annabel the lost heiress. 

Thinking about it, it would probably be much more of a challenge to write a contemporary version - DNA being what it is - but maybe that would be an added attraction - how to get around it. I think you'd need more than one conspirator - not just a coach to ensure the imposter had all the knowledge and background but someone in the house, to run interference. See - the possibilities are fizzing around already. There's a whole lot of tension just walking in the imposter's shoes, wondering if they are going to make a slip ... 

Another trope to put on the list.