David Tennant is “Gorgeous, Funny and can do a Chin-up.” – Harrogate Part 2

Apologies for the delay in this second Theakston’s crime writing festival post. I know I said it would be on Tuesday but my hopeless EDS body decided it would take precedence and crash for a couple of days and it did it in style. But, I’m back now!

So, where were we?

That’s right, we finished on Friday night with the very lovely ‘Robert Galbraith.’

Saturday saw me drinking lots of tea in the wonderful marquee on the front lawn of the Old Swan. Perfect for giving attendees that little more room as the festival grows in fans. It also was the morning of the “selfie”, where I attempted to get photo’s of myself with as many people as I could. I always walk away from these events with nothing to remind myself of them, so this year was going to be different. See below for a smattering of said pics.

Then, before leaving the tent, I passed the Dead Good Book stand with Mel Sherratt and PamReader and we were asked if we wanted to try the lucky dip and possibly win some sweets. Well, as I’d been hassling the Dead Good Book stand all morning – they are great people! – and I do love some sweets, I stuck my hand into the suitcase filled with what looked like black shredded paper and was told I was fishing for a bone. Well, look what was attached to my bone! ( I had to read it three times before I started squealing!)

Next up was the Broadchurch panel. Yes, the TV show Broadchurch was starring in the Old Swan. We had the writer, Chris Chibnall, Jodie Wittaker who played Beth Latimer and Olivia Coleman (any introductions needed?) Also on the panel was Erin Kelly who had written the book of Broadchurch. She and Chris stated they had a lot of fun working together and some of the characters were able to be expanded upon more in the book than television allowed. So, all you book lovers – one up for you!

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There was a great moment when Olivia was asked a question and she looked at Chris for help and said she couldn’t remember what she was allowed to say and what lies she had told who! There has been a great deal of secrecy over the first series of Broadchurch which worked really well on the UK audience and took off brilliantly and has now got so much attention, the team feel the paparazzi are intrusive and rude as they take long lens photographs of them even when they are doing costume changes.

During audience questions, Olivia was asked what it was like to work with David Tennant and she replied “He’s gorgeous, funny and can do a chin-up!” What more does a girl need?

As this post appears to have gone on for so long, I shall finish the Harrogate line up off on Saturday. Tomorrow returns to the First Draft Questions.

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This Is How You Pronounce Rowling – Harrogate part 1

21.7.14 004Thursday last week saw the annual trek to Harrogate for the Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival held at the beautiful Old Swan in Harrogate. It’s a place where well established crime writers, new up and coming writers, still trying to be published writers, and readers, all mingle together in the same space without segregation and talk all things crime with copious amounts of their favourite tipple on hand. Be that tea, coffee, wine, Theakstons of course, or something a little shorter. It is one of the highlights of the crime writers year.

 

My first stop however had to be Betty’s tea shop in town to sample the delights of the China Rose Tea and of course the cream tea alongside it. And on the way out I bought some China Rose tea to bring home with me. I also couldn’t resist taking a photograph of these little fella’s!

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Piggin out at Betty’s

21.7.14 029Friday Morning saw the start of the panels. The first one I saw was ‘The Good Old Days‘ A discussion chaired by Martyn Waites with guests James Oswald, Mel Sherratt, Mark Edwards and Mari Hannah, discussing the different routes into publication – self publishing and traditional publishing. It started with Martyn Waites attempting to do a large hall selfie but not quite getting it right, then being corrected by Mari for pronouncing her name wrong. (It’s Mari as in Sari.)

James Oswald stated that if you intend to self publish then you are in for a lot of work as you are doing everything yourself.

Mel Sherrat said she does a bit of both…

There was some heated talk about the cost of ebooks and what readers are willing to pay for certain items such as cups of coffee but not books.

It then moved on to audience questions and in response to one question from the audience member who asked at what point the panel called themselves writers, Edwards seemed to struggle with this but Oswald stated ‘If you write, you’re a writer.’ Hear Hear!

In the ‘Worse things happen at home‘ panel, a discussion about violence in the home, Cath Staincliffe gave the best quote for me, when asked in audience questions whether it was nature or nurture, that whichever it was, we still have to take responsibility for our own actions.

Friday evening saw the highlight event. The prize attraction for many. Robert Galbraith was coming to Harrogate! AKA J. K. Rowling. Unfortunately, photographs were not allowed, so I have none to share on this post.

Galbraith was interviewed by Val McDermid and it was a relaxed affair. Galbraith wore a smart suit and tie for the occasion and carried it off well! She stated that the reason she turned to crime – in a manner of speaking – following children’s fantasy – was because she had always read it and is a lover of the genre. So for us crime lovers, that is wonderful to hear. She is a classic crime lover. Preferring the whodunnits like Christie and Allingham. She talked about squealing and dancing around her kitchen when she got a glowing blurb from McDermid before anyone knew her identity. A funny thought considering her highly regarded prowess with a keyboard, but writers are insecure creatures. And she did confirm that the reason she attempted to go it alone and undercover of pen name was to see if she could make it without her name giving her the advantage. Hence the dancing in the kitchen.

She talked about her character Strike and said she has no plans to stop writing him, so crime fans of this series can sit easy. She is happy in the genre and knows enough about him to keep going.

One thing she did say, was that she wished she had been published after she had been married, that way she would be J. K. Murray and everyone would know how to say that, but as it is everyone gets her name wrong. So, for your information – you pronounce is Rowling as in Rolling, like rolling down a hill :)

And here’s my signed book of The Silkworm!

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More on Harrogate tomorrow….

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What’s Your First Draft Like? – Tim Adler

 

Today in the first draft hot seat is thriller writer Tim Adler.

Tim_Adler_headshot-copy (2)Tim Adler is an author and freelance journalist, who has written for Financial Times, The Times and the Daily Telegraph, among others.

Tim’s first book, The Producers: Money, Movies and Who Really Calls the Shots, was published in 2004. Bloomsbury published its follow-up Hollywood and the Mob, an exposé of how the Mafia has corrupted the movie industry. The Mail On Sunday made it Book of the Week while the Daily Mail picked it Critic’s Choice.

Tim is former London Editor of Deadline Hollywood, the entertainment business news website. Before that, he edited film trade magazine Screen Finance.

He writes for various B2B publications including Broadcast, Screen International and Television Business International. And he regularly features as a pundit on BBC Radio 4’s Today, BBC Breakfast and Sky News.

When you decide to write something new, what is the first thing you do?

I have two separate, well, careers seems too strong a word … strands to my writing life.

As a journalist and non-fiction author, I have written three nonfiction books, the most recent of which, The House of Redgrave was called “compulsively readable” by The Sunday Times.

And now I am trying to reinvent myself as a thriller writer with the publication in March of my debut Slow Bleed and now with Surrogate.

Non-fiction and fiction have completely different working methods.

Once I have decided on a non-fiction subject, I want to read everything I can about it and photocopy anything useful for filing away. On the Redgrave book I had two systems: one for things filed by subject matter and the other for people. What I was trying to do was create a family portrait of the Redgraves distilled from thousands of sources, almost like one of those pointillist paintings by Georges Seurat, where dots make up somebody’s face. Creating a timeline is one of the best things you can do – not only what was going on in your subject’s life, but also what was happening in the wider world. You get interesting juxtapositions.

For fiction it’s about getting the plot right.

The Americans have an ongoing debate as to whether you’re a plotter or a “pantster” – i.e. whether you make up everything by the seat of your pants. Jeffrey Deaver, on the other hand, often has hundreds of pages of notes which he carves the book out of, like a sculptor working in stone.

I’m somewhere in the middle.

Not having a plan would be like driving a car with permanently dipped headlights, not knowing where you’re going.

However there’s something, dare I say it, airless about Deaver’s work where you know everything has been worked out to the nth degree. It doesn’t have much élan. But if you’re writing a thriller, you have to know your plot twists, otherwise you are going to paint yourself into a corner pretty quickly.

Do you have a set routine approaching it?

Both Slow Bleed and Surrogate follow a three act structure, with rising crises at the end of acts one and two. At the end of act one, the hero or heroine find themselves in a new world which they must learn the rules of. In short, get your hero up a tree, throw rocks at him, and get him down by the end of the third act.

For Surrogate I used the Scapple mind-mapping software for the first time, which is great because it allows you to sketch your plot and move things around before importing it into Scrivener. I absolutely love Scrivener: it’s rock solid dependable as a writing platform.

I find the best way to know if a plot is any good is to sit somebody down and talk them through it. You can hear yourself whether something works because of the confidence in your voice. Other parts of the story will sound lame – a bit like a dud shot in squash hitting the tin. And this type of story is very much about wanting to entertain people. Car journeys are good because you’ve got a captive audience (laughs).

Pen and paper or straight to the keyboard?

Each of my books has had a different working method.

For my first book, The Producers: Money, Movies and Who Really Calls the Shots – which argues that certain movie producers can be auteurs as much as directors – I decided to write the entire thing in longhand, thinking it would make it more authentic for some reason.

I was halfway through my second book Hollywood and the Mob, an expose of how the Mafia has corrupted Hollywood, when I met the Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative journalists Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swann, who sat me down and taught me how to really research a nonfiction book.

For that book I used a piece of software called Writer’s Blocks, trying to create a collage out of thousands of pieces of references but the software wasn’t really there yet. Copy kept disappearing. Scrivener on the other hand has a wonderful corkboard application that allows you to swap index cards around.

However for my next book, I’m thinking about going back to pen and paper. I hope that’s not too pretentious. Fiction is about transferring what’s going on in your head onto the page and there can be something glib about writing software … I mean, Scrivener makes everything look so good … when it’s really about those thoughts flowing down your arm and onto the page.

Because what you’re asking readers to pay for is your imagination. Basically, you’re saying to readers, “My imagination is stronger than yours.”

How important is research to you?

Slow Bleed 2Tremendously important. Obviously a nonfiction book is mostly about the quality of the research, and what you’ve dug up through your own probing. How much juice there is in it will define the success of the book.

Slow Bleed is a medical thriller about a surgeon whose son is kidnapped inside the hospital where she works. I interviewed a consultant obstetrician, a psychiatrist and an anaesthetist to make sure I got the medical details right. And Callum Sutherland, a retired Murder Squad detective who advises Lynda LaPlante on police procedure, was tremendously helpful on the mechanics of a murder investigation. My proudest moment came when my agent’s editor asked me how long I had been a doctor for.

Surrogate follows a childless couple who invite the surrogate mother they have paid to carry their baby to come and live with them. One day their surrogate disappears carrying their unborn child. Then they get a ransom demand. According to the police, no crime has been committed – by law their baby belongs to the surrogate. It’s down to them to find their surrogate and their baby. Barrie Drewitt Barlow of the British Surrogacy Centre advised me on surrogacy procedure.

How do you go about researching?

First, desktop research. My two most recent non-fiction books were researched using Factiva, which is a marvellous searchable database of every news story published. Each newspaper article was printed off and filed. I then drew up a hit list of people I wanted to interview. I only started The House of Redgrave once all the interviews were written up and filed.

How do you store everything; ideas, research, images that catch your eye?

By the time I’d finished The House of Redgrave my bedroom looked like the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, with boxes of material stretching into the distance.

Tell us how that first draft takes shape?

I start rereading the book from the very first page and only begin writing once I have caught up with where I left off, making changes as I go. I will only go back two or three chapters if I am too deep into a book. And I will break off mid-sentence where I know what’s going to happen next or what the dialogue is to help me pick up the following morning.

Are there any rituals you have to do or items you must have with you while writing that draft?

Because like most writers I have a day job, I try and carve out an hour each day before I go to work. Best of all I like writing in bed with a cup of coffee on the bedside table. I see it as giving my fiction writing the cream off the top of the milk, in terms of my energy and mental alertness, before the proper working day begins.

Does the outside world exist or are you lost to us for a period of time as the magic works?

Writing seems to me a form of meditation or like doing yoga. It requires mental concentration like playing a hand of bridge. Which is why you can sometimes feel so exhausted by the end of it – using your imagination is hard work. And occasionally my sacred hour of doing my own work just flashes by.

What does your work space look like?

Woody Allen once said that he could work on a subway train if he had too. I doubt that. Increasingly I need to work in silence, and I have heard of some writers even blindfolding themselves, wearing noise cancelling headphones and touch typing blindly. It’s about going deeper into your imagination.

I have a lovely desk with a Lenovo PC set-up; like Scrivener, Lenovo computers are real workhorses.

tim_adler_desk_#1 (2)

Occasionally I do like to work at the British Library in London, especially if I’m researching something. It’s comforting to be surrounded by soft coughing and the sound of turning pages. You’re alone in a crowd.

Edit as you go or just keep getting words out?

Good writing is about boiling sentences down until they are as simple and exact as possible. I like to edit the copy as I go, smoothing and untangling sentences like a woman brushing her hair until it shines.

I see many writers counting words in a day. Word counter or other method of keeping track of progression?

At best I only have an hour each day to do my own work, so word counts don’t matter to me. In fact, I want to avoid typing for the sake of it – that’s the danger of word processors in that they make you think you’re getting words down on the page when really all you’re doing is typing. So even if it was just five words in one hour, I would be happy with that. Wasn’t it Flaubert who said that he spent a morning putting a comma in, and the afternoon removing it? My natural flow though is around five hundred words an hour for fiction and about seven hundred wph when it comes to journalism.

So, that first draft is down. Roughly how long did it take? And what shape is it in?

I like to rewrite as I go along, so the first draft is really the fifth, sixth or seventh draft. However that first putting digit to keyboard is what I call “the muscle draft” where all the heavy lifting goes on. Anything else is just prettying up — cutting, polishing and rewriting.

Both novels took about nine months to get to the stage where I could show them to somebody asking for their opinion.

In what format do you like to read it through, ereader, paper or the computer screen?

Working journalists always proofread on paper. You catch more errors that way than working on screen. What I do is get a blank sheet of A4, hold it over the copy, and then work my way down line by line marking as I go. At one point I was chief sub-editor on a trade magazine so I use standard proofreading marks.

What happens now that first draft is done?

tim_adler_notebook (2)It’s time for the dreaded beta reader.

I have found that it’s hopeless asking non-writers for their opinion. They just nod and say, “It’s really good.”

I am also sceptical about paying people for editorial services. On Slow Bleed I made the foolish mistake of handing over what was for me a considerable amount of money for a set of notes from the script development head of a famous film company. What I got back was useless. When I complained to the owner, he told me cheerfully, “Oh yes. I’ve never known any script improve once it’s been through her hands.”

Fellow working writers are much more specific in their criticisms as they can spot what works and what doesn’t. One of the most enjoyable afternoons I’ve had recently was going through the plot of my next thriller with Rohan Gavin, author of Knightley & Son. I think the Americans call it breaking story, lifting up the bonnet and getting your hands dirty.

Thanks for digging into the depths of the first draft. It’s been a pleasure having you.  

You can find Tim Adler on his WebsiteAmazon and Twitter

Surrogate

Surrogate_cover_final (2)How much is your child worth?

That’s the question Hugo and Emily Cox must answer when they get a ransom demand for their child – from Alice, the surrogate mother they paid to carry
their baby.

The police are helpless. No law has been broken — the
baby belongs to their surrogate. And Hugo has a secret he’s keeping from his wife that makes their search even more desperate.

Now Hugo and Emily must find their missing
daughter… even if it costs them everything they own.

Surrogate.

 

To read any of the previous First Draft Q&A’s you can check the list Here.

To be a part of the First Draft series, just get in touch and let me know. Along with the answers to the questions, I’ll need a profile photograph, a first draft photograph and three links that you feel are your most important. Also at the bottom of the piece, you can have your most recent book details.

 

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Crime Book Club Apologies and Next Months Read

I want to apologise to all Crime book club members for last nights short notice cancellation. I hope that I managed to get the message out to all who would have been attending. I put the message out on Twitter and on Google+ where the Hangout is held.

Briefly, what happened is bad planning on my part. The book club is held on the third Wednesday of the month so the date was set. What I didn’t click with was that my teenage daughter was returning that afternoon from her first holiday abroad and she wanted to catch up and order a takeaway, so family priorities came first. I need to look in my diary for clashes like that in the future to prevent such a thing happening again.

The next meeting is Wednesday 20th August and it looks all clear in my diary! The winning book for next months summer read is;

Murder in Mykonos by Jeffery Sigir

MykonosA young woman on holiday to Mykonos, the most famous of Greeceas Aegean Cycladic islands, simply disappears off the face of the earth. And no one notices.
That is, until a body turns up on a pile of bones under the floor of a remote mountain church. Then the islandas new police chiefathe young, politically incorrect, former Athens homicide detective Andreas Kaldisastarts finding bodies, bones, and suspects almost everywhere he looks.
Teamed with the canny, nearly-retired local homicide chief, Andreas tries to find the killer before the media can destroy the islandas fabled reputation with a barrage of world-wide attention on a mystery thatas haunted Mykonos undetected for decades.
Just when it seems things canat get any worse, another young woman disappears and political niceties no longer matter. With the investigation now a rescue operation, Andreas finds himself plunging into ancient myths and forgotten island places, racing against a killer intent on claiming a new victim who is herself determined to outstep him.

I hope to see you there and hope I am forgiven for last night!

 

HarrogateOn another note, I am off to Harrogate today for Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival. If you follow me on Twitter you will see lots of tweets and photographs coming from the 4 day event over the weekend. You will find me @RebeccaJBradley. Blog posts will also follow. It’s a long weekend, but worth the effort as the people there are absolutely wonderful. I look forward to sharing it with you.

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Back in June (I know – I’m terribly slow.) I was awarded the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Thank you Hannah! You should check Hannah’s blog out named, very aptly Hannah Reads Stuff, so as you can imagine, it’s very bookish. You’d love it.

Here are the rules of the award:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Optional: display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Inspiring

Seven facts? That’s scary. What can I share that won’t have you all running for the hills screaming?

Ok, let’s try;

  1. Standing proud for those who still live with bullying and showing it can be survived – I was bullied at junior school where I wore a fixed brace on my teeth and was called Jaws (from the Bond films).
  2. I can drink in excess of ten cups of tea in a day.
  3. I hate feet. Every-one’s. Even Patrick Swayze’s in Dirty Dancing in that log scene.
  4. I long to be more organised.
  5. I hate to follow the crowd, deliberately refusing to read books because everyone else is doing so.
  6. I’m not a confident person.
  7. I jumped out of a plane for charity and loved every single minute of it.

Now to pass on the award. This is always the difficult part with awards, some bloggers don’t take part in awards, some have already done them. I’ll list some great blogs that you should visit for all things books and/or crime, no pressure on the listed names.

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#BookadayUK by Doubleday books in July

July sees Doubleday books take over the bookish #bookadayUK Twitter hashtag from Borough Press who ran it in June. It involves a list that covers every day of the month, provided by the publisher, which lends itself to you providing a book that fits that particular day for you.

This month Doubleday are giving away prizes. Yes you heard me right, prizes. Book prizes!

#Doubleday

And guess who won last week?! What, you can’t? Oh go on then, let me tell you.

Me!

Yes, the wonderful team at Doubleday sent me two great books that I can’t wait to get stuck into. (No I haven’t yet as I’m reading this months crime book club book at the minute.)

Doubleday

So, if you haven’t yet started engaging with this fabulous, quick and quirky book hashtag, it’s very much worth doing. So, what’s stopping you? Go! Tweet your #BookadayUK!

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What’s Your First Draft Like? – David Bastiani

DavidTodays first drafter is David Bastiani. David states on his website that he writes words and sometimes they end up in the right order.

He is the creator of Milo Peretti - Rome’s newest private detective – and is currently working on The Colour of Weeping - the first full novel in the Peretti series.

He lives with his wife and their young family in Cheshire.

 

When you decide to write something new, what is the first thing you do?

Brainstorm. I write lists of ideas for titles, themes, character names, places, images. Anything to hang a story on really. The title has become really important for me so I often start there. I like to have an overall feel for what I’m doing and where I’m going before I start writing a story.

Do you have a set routine approaching it?

There’s nothing set in stone. Although, I do tend to brainstorm first, write a few chapters and then go back and write a full synopsis to help guide the rest of my writing. Having said that, I’m always looking for ways to improve and that includes my writing process. Ask me again in a year’s time and I might be doing it completely different. I think being adaptable is where it’s at.

Pen and paper or straight to the keyboard?

Only ever keyboard.  If I have an idea when I’m not at my computer then I make a note of it on my smartphone. Pen and paper takes too long and gets too messy when you want to change things later.

How important is research to you?

Fairly important. Obviously, no-one wants a factually incorrect book, even when it comes to writing fiction, but it’s easy to overdo it. Too many authors sound like they’re regurgitating what they read on Wikipedia and it all ends up very dry and boring. Get your story down while it still grips you and come back to check the details later.

How do you go about researching?

I’m a product of Generation Y so I use the internet. A lot. That can only take you so far, of course. Quite often, there’s no substitute for getting out there and doing the legwork yourself but the internet is too powerful a tool to ignore. You can go anywhere and see anything at the click of button. What’s not to like?

How do you store everything; ideas, research, images that catch your eye?

You’ve probably already guessed the answer to this question… Online, of course. I’ve got files of photos stored on my hard drive but all my other ideas tend to be stored on email. It makes them easy to transfer and means I don’t have duplicate documents all over the place. I can access my email anywhere.

Tell us how that first draft takes shape?

Usually pretty slowly if I’m honest. I’d love to be able to devote a couple of months to a project and get the whole thing down as quickly as possible but I write part time and that’s just not going to happen at the moment. So I write whenever I get the opportunity. A few hours or a few minutes – I just keep chipping away and I get there eventually.

Are there any rituals you have to do or items you must have with you while writing that draft?

Not really. I don’t conform to the writer stereotype, I’m afraid. I don’t need coffee, alcohol or half a dozen cats in order to write. Although if the ‘just sit down and start writing’ approach doesn’t pay off then I suppose some or all of those three might be worth a try!

Does the outside world exist or are you lost to us for a period of time as the magic works?

The outside definitely exists for me. Between work and family, it’s often pretty inescapable. So it’s important to be able to compartmentalize. To be able to switch off from everything else and focus on writing. I find music helps with that. I listen to a lot of film soundtracks which helps create a little bubble where I can concentrate on writing. Songs with lyrics are a big no no for me though. They’re way too distracting.

What does your work space look like?

Pretty minimalistic. I don’t really do clutter. It’s just a desk and my computer. Oh, and my phone. I do have a clear view out of the window to the train track across the road though. Nothing beats writing with a backdrop of trees, blue sky and the occasional train going by. I don’t really need anything else.

Edit as you go or just keep getting words out?

I definitely edit as I go. My brain refuses to produce anything new until I’ve dealt with the things I know need correcting. My thought process is quite linear so I need to leave things neat and tidy behind me as I go along. Having a clear view of where I’ve been with the story helps me get a clear view of where it’s going.

David draft

I see many writers counting words in a day. Word counter or other method of keeping track of progression?

I do keep track of my word count but I try not to worry about it too much. It’s just a tool to keep me on track. I know it’s a cliché but I’d like to think I aim for quality rather than quantity. Seeing a low word count gives me a kick up the backside when I’m going too slowly but that’s about it. If what you’re writing is firing your imagination then hopefully you won’t even notice how many hours or how many words have gone by.

So, that first draft is down. Roughly how long did it take? And what shape is it in?

Probably longer than I wanted! A full novel will take me about a year depending on work and family commitments. It’s almost ready for publishing – until I start rereading and editing and then suddenly it isn’t anywhere near ready. I have my ups and downs like any writer does. Veering between wanting to delete the whole thing and start again and convincing myself that it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. The first draft is really just the start but I’d like to think that plotting beforehand and editing as I go means I’m closer to having something readable.

In what format do you like to read it through, ereader, paper or the computer screen?

I read it through on the computer so I can makes changes as I go along. Then I put it onto an ereader and go through it all again. That way I tend to spot things I’d miss on the computer screen otherwise.

What happens now that first draft is done?

I leave things to rest for a while then give it one last going over before sending it out for proofreading and editing. And try not to worry about it too much. There’s no such thing as a perfect novel but the more you write, the closer you’re going to get. That’s all you can do – just keep writing.

Thanks for digging into the depths for us David. 

You can find David on Amazon, his Website or Twitter.

Blood Will Tell

Blood will tellMILO PERETTI is back in Rome to take over the running of his late uncle’s detective agency. When the body of a businessman is found at an office nearby in Trastevere, the grieving mother refuses to believe her son took his own life. But with the Polizia di Stato preparing to close the case as suicide, will Peretti ever really uncover the truth? And will justice ever be done?

 

 

 

 

To read any of the previous First Draft Q&A’s you can check the list Here.

To be a part of the First Draft series, just get in touch and let me know. Along with the answers to the questions, I’ll need a profile photograph, a first draft photograph and three links that you feel are your most important.

Posted in First Drafts | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Crime Book Club – What Do You Want To Read In August?

It’s that time again, already. The book club is due to meet next Wednesday (8pm GMT on Google+ Hangouts) to discuss Peter May’s The Blackhouse. So we need to decide what we want to read in August and what better than a bit of summer crime for a beautifully warm month – wishful thinking?

So here are your choices. Let me know your vote in the comment section, on Twitter using the hashtag #crimebookclub or on the Facebook page.

Murder in Mykonos by Jeffery Siger

MykonosA young woman on holiday to Mykonos, the most famous of Greeceas Aegean Cycladic islands, simply disappears off the face of the earth. And no one notices.
That is, until a body turns up on a pile of bones under the floor of a remote mountain church. Then the islandas new police chiefathe young, politically incorrect, former Athens homicide detective Andreas Kaldisastarts finding bodies, bones, and suspects almost everywhere he looks.
Teamed with the canny, nearly-retired local homicide chief, Andreas tries to find the killer before the media can destroy the islandas fabled reputation with a barrage of world-wide attention on a mystery thatas haunted Mykonos undetected for decades.
Just when it seems things canat get any worse, another young woman disappears and political niceties no longer matter. With the investigation now a rescue operation, Andreas finds himself plunging into ancient myths and forgotten island places, racing against a killer intent on claiming a new victim who is herself determined to outstep him.

Rush of Blood by Mark Billingham

bloodA perfect holiday. The perfect murder…Three couples meet around the pool on their Florida holiday and become fast friends. But on their last night, their perfect holiday takes a tragic twist: the teenage daughter of another holidaymaker goes missing, and her body is later found floating in the mangroves. When the shocked couples return home, they remain in contact, and over the course of three increasingly fraught dinner parties they come to know one another better. But they don’t always like what they find: buried beneath these apparently normal exteriors are some dark secrets, hidden kinks, ugly vices… Then, a second girl goes missing. Could it be that one of these six has a secret far darker than anybody can imagine?

Cold Grave by Kathryn Fox

coldIt feels like the safest place on earth, a family-friendly, floating palace. But, as Anya Crichton soon discovers, cruise ships aren’t all that they seem. Statistics tell us that a woman is twice as likely to be sexually assaulted on a cruise ship than on dry land. Customers aren’t screened, so the ships are a haven for sex offenders and paedophiles. With no policing, and floating in international waters, sexual assaults and passenger “disappearances” are uncommonly frequent. So when a teenage girl is discovered, dead on the deck of the ship that she is on, Anya feels compelled to get involved. There’s no apparent cause of death, but Anya’s forensics expertise uncovers more than the ship’s doctors can—or want to. With the killer still on board, and subsequently a crew-member found shot, it becomes clear that the safe haven of the cruise-ship is actually anything but. And, as Anya comes under increasing pressure to abandon her investigations, will she continue? Or do whatever it takes to keep her own family safe?

 

I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

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5 Great Writing Tips!

I found this on YouTube yesterday – nope, I have nothing to do but browse YouTube ;)  - and I absolutely had to share it with you.

Lisa Jewell’s top writing tips. I loved number 2 until I heard numbers 3, 4, and 5! Who wants to add anything else to that list?

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Recently Read – Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

This is my first book review with the copy received gratefully from the publisher and NetGalley. See Yesterday’s post to understand my change in stance on reviewing books.

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

Random House UK, Cornerstone. ISBN 9781448107407

Cop TownAtlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.
Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.

My Thoughts;

I have loved reading Karin Slaughter from her first outing with Blindsighted. Her clean and flawless writing has made her my number one crime author. The one I have to keep up to date with all new books.

Cop Town was different to the previous Slaughter books in as much as they weren’t the regular set of characters. It’s a standalone set in 1974 Atlanta and tells the story from the standpoint of two female cops, Maggie Lawson, born in a cop family and Kate Murphy, the new girl from the nice part of town and who maybe doesn’t quite know what she’s letting herself in for.

I was gripped from the start. The opening scene just drags you in by your throat and holds you tightly in it’s clutches. I was completely hooked. I raced through the book, turning pages quickly, thinking I’d finish it in the day, but then something happened I didn’t see coming.

The darkness of the book was too much and I had to stop reading and take two days to read. It is a grim book and I’m not talking about graphic murder scenes or any of that. That I can take. It was the world in which the book was set. It was seeped in racial hatred, sexism, homophobia and it was coming from the good guys. The cops. And it was towards their fellow cops. Their colleagues. The nastiness of it, the knowledge that it was real to that degree, at that time, just made it hard going. It’s one thing to see this crap in a novel from the bad guys, but the amount of it from the so-called good guys towards their own, was grim.

Saying that, it was a perfectly executed Slaughter novel, her characterisation was flawless. Following Kate through her journey as the new girl on the job in such a hostile environment was wonderful. You could see her take those first baby steps and progress from there, with the shock and horror of everything thrown at her morphing her character as it would do anyone out in the real world. It’s a great book, you just need to be ready to step into that world and if you are, you will love this book.

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