Sometimes, it’s not easy to tell the good guys from the bad…
Freelance journalist, Anna Morris, is struggling to make a name for herself, so she’s delighted to attend a launch event for a hip young artist at her friend Seb’s gallery.
But an exclusive interview isn’t all Anna comes away with. After an encounter with the enigmatic Darrick Farron, she is flung into the shady underground of the art scene – a world of underhand dealings, missing paintings and mysterious deaths …
Seb is intent on convincing Anna that Darrick is up to no good but, try as she might, she can’t seem to keep away from him. And as she becomes further embroiled, Anna begins to wonder – can Seb’s behaviour be explained away as the well-intentioned concern of an old friend, or does he have something to hide?
Those wonderful people at Choc Lit are still doing what they do so well – releasing book after book that I so want to read, written by some of the loveliest authors I know. Today I’m delighted to feature Clare Chase, whose debut novel You Think You Know Me was released in paperback on 7th September (also available for Kindle). Welcome Clare!
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Anne! I decided to write a post on writing process, but was torn about which element to choose. My debut novel, You Think You Know Me, has just gone to print, and the last work I did on it was proofreading, with the help of Choc Lit’s experts! However, I’m also plotting a new novel, and have just received my structural edits for book number two, so I’m involved with several stages of the writing process at once!
With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite tips for each stage of creating a book.
Let your ideas brew – I’m a great admirer of people who can write without planning ahead, but I have to confess I’m a dedicated plotter. And before I even note my ideas, I like to mull over lots of options. The fact that I can do this lying on the sofa with my eyes closed is an added bonus! I write mysteries, and find it really helpful to consider all the twists, clues and red herrings in advance. It means I can check I’ll be able to unravel everything by the end of the book! After the daydreaming stage, I use OneNote (which came with my Microsoft Office suite) to record the ideas I like best, and tease out the story’s main events. OneNote’s a bit like a virtual whiteboard. You can stick plot points down anywhere you like, (a bit like sticking post-it notes to a wall) and then drag them about if you want to reorder them. I also use OneNote as a sort of mood board for my story. It’s good for keeping photos, web clippings and other bits of research in one place.
Monitor the story’s pace – Once I’ve got a plan, I find it useful to map out where my novel will have high levels of suspense, and where the pace will be more relaxed. Then I can see if there are parts of the story where I need to adjust the tension. (If I’m on serious displacement I can even plot graphs in Excel for this. Actually, please forget I said that.)
Re-read (but only after a break) – I find it really hard to stick to this one because I’m so impatient! However, if I leave it a few weeks before revisiting my work I find it easier to spot things that need changing. So, after the required gap, I do a first, quick read-through, to check the overall structure works OK.
Read the work out loud – I do this as the second read-through, when I want to look at the finer detail of the story. It makes it easy to hear if sentences and dialogue sound clunky.
Read the work on paper, or on a different device – I’ve taken to doing this for my last read-through, before I send my work out. It’s weird, but mistakes I’ve missed on my computer leap out at me when I read my work in hard copy, or on my Kindle. My top recent typos are ‘hoovering in the background’ instead of ‘hovering’, and my heroine calling her boyfriend a ‘pendant’, instead of a ‘pedant’… However many I spot though, I can guarantee I won’t find them all.
Right, I’m off back to OneNote to add in a few more ideas. I love plotting navels…
Thanks again for having me, Anne!
Clare writes fast-paced romantic mysteries, using London and Cambridge as settings. Her influences include JD Robb, Janet Evanovich, Mary Stewart and Sue Grafton. Brought up in the Midlands, she went on to read English at London University, then worked in book and author promotion in venues as diverse as schools, pubs and prisons. More recently she’s exercised her creative writing muscles in the world of PR, and also worked for the University of Cambridge. Her current day job is at the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Her writing is inspired by what makes people tick, and how strong emotions can occasionally turn everyday incidents into the stuff of crime novels. It would be impossible not to mix these topics with romance and relationships; they’re central to life and drive all forms of drama.
When she’s not reading or writing, Clare enjoys drawing, cooking and trips to the Lake District. Closer to home, she loves wandering round the pubs, restaurants and galleries of Cambridge, where she lives with her husband and two teenage daughters.