What, Why and How I Write …

url Recently, I was asked by fellow writer Juliet  Wilson ( left) to take part in a blog tour on the theme of What, Why and How I Write. I was delighted to be asked by Juliet because she is a wonderful poet, an enthusiast of all things natural, a great writing tutor and generally a lovely person who is two thirds through writing her first novel.

Okay, this is how the blog tour works … a participating author answers four questions about their writing on their own blog, and then nominates another couple of writers to answer the same questions on their blog some time later, in turn, they nominate further participants and so on.

Here’s Juliet’s contribution from last week:  http://craftygreenpoet.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/writers-blog-tour.html

Juliet nominated me and Nasim at velogubbed and now it’s our turn. Here are my answers …

What am I working on?

I am in the process of finishing writing the sequel to bestselling  Food of Ghosts, the working title of which is Double Lives, Double Deaths. For those of you who don’t know, Food of Ghosts is a mystery crime novel set on Tarawa, a tiny remote  island  in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. My detective is DS Louisa Townsend.


In Double Lives, Double Deaths,  DS Townsend is visiting Fiji for a conference. There’s a murder  (of course!)  and Louisa gets caught up in the search for the killer. Double Lives, Double Deaths is due out in October and although I am way behind with my edits I am hoping,  fingers crossed, I will get everything finished  very soon and the book will be ready on time 🙂

How does my novel differ from other novels in the crime genre?

My DS Louisa Townsend crime novels  are set in remote faraway countries in the Pacific. Why there?  I have always been fascinated by foreign places and travel and spent some ten years living and working in the Pacific area. I was so blown away by the natural beauty of the region and the wonderful generous nature of the peoples that I wanted to share with others the uniqueness and quirkiness of the countries. However, there was also a darker side to life in these paradisiacal places, and I wanted to write as much about that as the good stuff. So, hopefully, the reader will not only get a sense of what it is like to live in these wonderful faraway places when reading my novels, but will also glean a sense of the darkness that lies beneath the surface of the beauty.

My detective Louisa Townsend is different from your usual detective sergeant in that she suffers from a secret obsessive compulsive disorder. She is also half Scottish and half Kiribati, which means she has one foot in both worlds but fully belongs to neither. She is feisty and fearless yet vulnerable – a maverick “outsider”.

Suva market, Fiji

Suva market, Fiji

picnic at nature reserve with me and number one son, Viti Levu, Fiji

picnic at nature reserve with number one son, in Viti Levu, Fiji

Fiji sunset :)

Fiji sunset 🙂

As soon as the edits for Double Lives, Double Deaths are finished I will start my next novel,  The Brown  Paper Package. The Brown Paper Package is the sequel to The Blue Suitcase. The Blue Suitcase is an historic fiction and is the story of a German Christian girl, Antonia, growing up in Nazi Germany. The novel finishes in 1947 and is inspired by my mother’s life.

ref=sib_dp_kd   mum's house, wlen, poland
The Brown Paper Package  is set in Leith, Edinburgh, and begins where The Blue Suitcase finishes, with  Antonia leaving Germany for Scotland. It tells the story of a middle class, well educated, catholic German girl,  who’s been forcibly expelled from her home, who falls in love with a working-class, uneducated, protestant  Scottish laddie ( my dad!). In other words it’s about poverty and culture clashes, perseverance, survival and love.

mum DAD

Why do I write what I do?

I love reading crime fiction and have many fond memories of staying up to the wee hours, gripped by a crime story, unable to put my book down until I had discovered who had done it and why – and that they were safely locked up! I believe a good crime novel can tell us as much about the dark side of society as any literary novel, and I am fascinated by the dark side of society – I think most of us are.  When I started writing it seemed natural to me that I should write a crime novel.

My historical fiction novels are based on my mother’s life. I was inspired to write the books  after finding her private letters and diaries. Her story is both shocking and sad and compelling and inspirational.

How does my writing process work?

I  like to write  Monday to Friday  for about 5-6 hours a day. I have weekends off and I also take holidays.  Some weeks I get more writing done than others  – I wouldn’t be behind with my edits, otherwise 😉 – but that’s okay because writing is sometimes like that.  That said, I do always try to write something every day Monday to Friday.

“The one ironclad rule is that I have to try. I have to walk into my writing room and pick up my pen every weekday morning.”
Anne Tyler

Okay, that’s my four answers.  If you have any questions about my answers, do ask!

Meanwhile my nominees are:

Louisa Dang, author of a collection of short stories, Up Pops The Devil; a great wee  guide on how to publish your e-book, Publishing and Selling Your ebook on Kindle; and  the wonderfully quirky and engaging Rest and be Thankful; and the soon-to-be-released YA novel Rain Catcher! http://southernwritersnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/

ref=la_B00DP96I0E_1_1 ref=la_B00DP96I0E_1_2 ref=la_B00DP96I0E_1_3


And Natalie Scott , author of the wonderfully evocative Berth, Voices of The Titanic.


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