Three years! Seriously? It seems like only a short while ago that I decided to switch from occasional posts to my blog and put together something more consistent. I wanted to include my take on the various components of writing, along with updates on my current projects, an interview with another author or the occasional character, and of course, music. There must be music!
And to make my newsletter a little different from so many others, I opted to release it on the 19th of each month. Starting with March made perfect sense, since that combination of numbers 3 19 will always be special to me.
So here we are, three years later, with issue 36. With a tip of the hat to the legendary comic, Jackie Gleason, let’s get the party started.
“Away We Go!”
Writing is a solitary business unless you’re collaborating with another author. So whenever I get the chance to trade samples with others, I’m eager to take it. Recently I had the opportunity to participate in not one but two writing workshops. Being surrounded with others who are seriously working on their own stories is an absolute blast. About ten people were able to read excerpts from their projects and get feedback and reactions from the group. That’s priceless. In the interest of time, we kept it to a maximum of seven minutes, so that others would have a chance to read as well.
During the second workshop, I was able to chat with a couple of people who were at the first session. They both enjoyed hearing other writers share their scenes, but the more impactful part was the reactions they got. Seeing the expressions on people’s faces and hearing the comments they shared is vital to any writer. Getting that feedback can help take their efforts to the next level.
One lady said that she found those interactions inspiring and she’ll channel that into her own efforts. I encouraged her to share her work with others next time. The group is not a competition, it’s about supporting each other on the writing journey.
Work In Progress:
The crime story featuring Leo Agonasti and his good friend Maximo Aurelio continues to develop. Other responsibilities have kept me away from the keyboard more than I like, but different scenes, interactions amongst the players and more twists keep coming to mind.
For some reason three o’clock in the morning is often when inspiration strikes. Most days that’s enough to get my brain firing with different ways an idea could work into the manuscript. As soon as possible, I enter these ideas into the file and review them later in the day when I’m more alert. As a nun in elementary school once said ‘crude, but effective’. Call it what you like, but it works well for me.
The Virtual Event:
Last month’s virtual book festival was a tremendous hit. Many people participated, watching the antics from this crazy band of creative writers as we tried to identify the culprits.
Multiple attempts by Diana, the facilitator and moderator of the group, to rein us in and keep the investigation flowing led to more hilarity and oddball questions.
Diana, in her wisdom put replays of all the episodes on YouTube and created a yearbook of all the authors who shared their work and were part of this zaniness. Links are provided here. You might just discover a new favorite. There are works in every genre.
I’ve been fortunate to connect with many great authors from different parts of the globe. There is so much talent out there, beyond our borders. It’s my pleasure this month to introduce you to Lynn Griffin who hails from the United Kingdom. Welcome, Lynn!
Tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve done a wide variety of jobs, from child-care to lecturer and along the way have met really fascinating people. Some of their stories have been funny, but some have been so shocking it would make your toes curl. I wanted to hug them. My education was nothing to shout about but I could read, and I could write, and I wanted to help those who couldn’t. After all, at the very least it puts us all on a level playing field. Anyway, as said, I love writing and have been writing around the paid job for years. However, I’ve never had the confidence to submit my work until very recently. If it wasn’t for someone giving me a huge nudge with a “get it out there before you pop your clogs mate,” I don’t think it would have ever happened. When I was offered a contract by The Wild Rose Press, I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a scam. Seriously! I double checked. Of course, it wasn’t. So, to anyone else out there thinking about submitting their work. If I can do it, then so can you.
Do you ever imagine of your novels being made into a movie or television series?
Absolutely. In fact, most of my readers have told me that it would make either a great movie or TV series, and the latest review on Goodreads suggests exactly that. Such a compliment!
When I write, I see everything in film as if it is happening right before my eyes. The trouble is when I bump someone off it can get a bit scary.
Any favorite actors you’d cast in the lead roles?
Hmm. Oh, my goodness. Richard E Grant, or Hugh Grant, maybe for the part of Uncle Jack, British, kind eyes, and great all-rounders. (Seems like there might be a bit of a name theme going on). But I’d also like to give a chance to an upcoming young actor for the female roles. I never forget where I started, and we all have to start somewhere.
What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you write the chapters in sequence?
I have an idea in my head and start writing. Then I stop and use a timeline on a flipchart to make sure everything works, then once the bones are there, I start fleshing it out. The trouble is my imaginary friends are really bossy, they shout at me in the middle of the night, when I’m shopping, anywhere in fact, and it can get a tad embarrassing. I find myself telling them to be quiet, whilst they are shouting at me to hurry up and get on with it. I get strange looks. But then I am weird. Stay weird I say.
Tell us a little bit about the characters in your latest book.
The Twenty-One-Year Contract is set 1950s London. But the story begins much earlier. In 1939, Devilishly handsome Jack is a pilot, and an engineer and his skills much sought after across the world troubleshooting mining disasters. When Jack learns WWII is about to break out, his immediate instinct is to return to his native home in the UK to offer his skills as a Spitfire pilot.
In Brighton, Jack meets Cassandra. From the moment he sets eyes on her he knows she is the one. Deeply, madly, in love, he intends to ask her to marry him. Luck is not on his side. Cassandra returns to London, before he can discover her true identity. While fighting for his country he never gives up hope of finding her. But when he arrives in London, the street she has mentioned have been bombed, and though his search for her becomes a fruitless task, he never gives up hope.
Kathleen is a little wild, popular, fun, and talented. At fourteen her adoptive parents are involved in a tragic accident. Stricken with grief and guilt she takes a chance; she becomes Kate and runs away to the bright lights of London. She starts working for atelier where her talents are instantly recognized, but very soon she becomes drawn into the seedy underworld and is determined to put wrongs right.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
There’s a mixed answer to this. My central characters are there, in my face. I know them instantly, but they have this habit of introducing me to their friends and acquaintances. I have to listen, don’t I?
What is your latest book about?
Fourteen-year-old Kathleen Gray— talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family. Suddenly, they are gone, she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her. Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.
The Twenty-One-Year Contract – sequel (also standalone) to Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox.
Can you share an excerpt?
'After a glass of water, Jack made himself a cup of tea and returned to the job in hand. This was going to be much harder than he could ever have imagined. Working deep through the night, Jack methodically sifted through volumes of paperwork until light inched its way through the curtain. Though he felt thoroughly ready for bed, he continued searching, his aim to find at least a smidgen of information about his niece. Randomly tidying up as he went, Jack noticed an encyclopedia oddly extended over one of the top shelves. He tried pushing it back into place. It was jammed. It looked awkward. Pulling it out to check the depth of the book, he found a box file hidden behind. Upon the side panel was one word, capitalized in thick bold lettering: KATHLEEN. As the hazy sunlight grew, Jack pulled the curtains to lend natural light, took the file off the shelf, sat back in Henry’s chair, and looked inside. He ran his hand through his hair, exhausted, this was going to be far harder than he could have ever expected…’
What’s the next project you’ll be working on?
I have two works in progress. The one I’m focused on at the moment is a contemporary romance. I needed to write something fun and sassy and it certainly is. I am really looking forward to seeing it finished, though I know it will be a loss as I know I will miss Georgia, I love her and writing about her escapades.
Here are the buy links:
Since my guest Lynn hails from the United Kingdom, it was the opportune moment to feature one of my favorite bands from there.
The Rolling Stones have been entertaining the world for more than six decades now. Recognized by many as one of the most popular bands of the rock era, the Stones have sold more than 240 million records worldwide. There are rumors about that the band may actually tour this year, but nothing definite has been announced. Yet.’
Here are my top five favorites.
Jumpin’ Jack Flash: https://youtu.be/qGd7SkdETro
Sympathy for the Devil: https://youtu.be/GgnClrx8N2k
You Can’t Always Get: https://youtu.be/Ef9QnZVpVd8
Can’t You Hear Me Knocking: https://youtu.be/3fa4HUiFJ6c