Ooh er, it's ages since I've blogged and it's also ages since I've done something like this. But my lovely twin Virgina Moffatt (http://giniamoffatt.blogspot.co.uk/) has tagged me for this, so here goes...
What am I working on?
At the moment I have two projects on the go. The first is the third and final book in my Hope Christmas trilogy. It picks up the story a year after the end of A Merry Little Christmas, and we find out what's happening to Cat, Marianne and Pippa, who become embroiled in a campaign to stop a new hotel complex being built on the farmland near Pippa and Marianne's homes. I have taken a lot of inspiration from my favourite film, Local Hero, and have finished the first draft, so am currently waiting on the edits. As usual for my first drafts, the story is there, but I need to do a lot of infilling and pulling strands together to make it suitable for public consumption. That's what editors are for, thankfully.
The second book I'm working on is completely different - a teen fantasy about dragons, which was suggested to me by my late lovely agent, Dot. So it will mean the world to me if it gets to see the light of day. Also I'm having a blast writing it, and it's planned as a trilogy, so I really want to write the next two books. The first draft is nearly complete, so fingers crossed...
How does my work differ from others in the genre?
Oh blimey. I'm not really sure. Though I would class myself as a romantic novelist, I think my adult stuff tends to have as much about family life/relationships in it as the romance element.. So maybe it differs from the norm that way. I also find it impossible to write fluffy light stuff (and really wish I could), so it probably tackles a few more serious issues then some books in the genre, but then all my favourite writers (Marian Keyes, Kate Harrison, Jo Jo Moyes, Rowan Coleman ) tend to do that too, so maybe I'm not that different, though clearly not in their league!
With the fantasy, I have tried to write the fantasy story I would like to read. I have always loved the genre and have really enjoyed the freedom of letting my imagination rip. I'd like to think it owes something to alot of my favourite fantasy writers (Tamora Pierce in particular) but that it has my own stamp on it.
Why do I write what I do?
For fun mainly. I love making stories up, and enjoy reading both the genres I am currently writing in. Particularly when real life is tough, I enjoy throwing myself into my imagined worlds. In fact, there is always a story going on in my head pretty much,and would be even if I wasn't published. Which is the way I like it.
How does your writing process work?
Oh I am hopelessly disorganised. I spend weeks and weeks faffing about before I actually get down to writing anything. But usually there is something bubbling away in the back of my brain, which means when I do start writing I have something to say. I do try and work out a loose structural plan, which I follow roughly, but not exactly. Ifind that easier then just launching into the story. Though with my dragons book I wrote the whole thing using a programme called Write or Die, when you give yourself a word target to a complete in a deadline. It is immensely good for a procrastinator like me, but quite scary too, because the computer screen starts going red if you fall behind. On the highest setting (which I was far too chicken to use) it actually starts eating your words, but that seemed a tad too masochistic for me!
Generally though, I write my first drafts out by hand, as I find it easier filling a notebook then looking at a blank screen. I then type it up, making revisions as I go, print it off, read through it, make further revisions, and then reread and revise a final time before sending it into my editor. So in fact, my first draft is really my fourth! And that's the point when I dare show it to people. NO ONE but no one sees my first scribbles! My editor will then send it back with the first round of edits, which tend to be the structural things, and making the plot work better. I usually go through the book at least twice before sending it back, and then I get line edits, which are about adding in detail, avoiding repetition, making sure the words flow etc. Finally I see copyedits, which are insuring my facts are right, that the spelling, grammar etc are correct and things are consistent. The very last stage for me (but not my publisher) is checking page proofs, which in theory should be perfect, but which in practise tend not to be). I find it immensely easy to miss stuff at page proofs, hence my two biggest booboos:in Last Christmas, Cat makes meringues with egg yolks not whites and in A Merry Little Christmas, I gave Lucy cystic fibrosis instead of cerebral palsy. And yes, people did write to let me know....