Monday, 27 June 2016

Setting Your Book in Time

Good morning Bookaholics. I bring you this post from a sunny Scotland. I'm thinking about writing and reality this morning. This before I've even had my morning cornflakes.

As I write this blog the UK has been to the polls. This was a momentous vote the results of which will have a huge impact on our country, not only now but for many years. Now, before you get worried this is not a political post. Far from it in fact. This is a post about writing.

As writers we always strive for accuracy and to make our books as realistic as possible. We take great care to set the books in context and to give readers a sense of place and time. It is time which I am thinking of and debating in my head today. Do we pin our colours fully to the mast, ensuring accuracy, or do we use some other means to get our point across?

My post so far has been unambiguous. I have not referred to any particular poll. Anyone reading this post today will know exactly what I am talking about. Anyone in the future will get a general sense that something big has happened but it will not be dated. For the purposes of clarity I am talking about the EU Referendum. Now that I have said this I have now given a firm date stamp to my writing. This is necessary for this particular piece.

But, as writers, what do we do in our books? We often write, Johnny was playing with his Xbox, or Susan was watching such and such a movie. This gives a sense of realism and is what gives our book human touches. It also immediately sets the book in a particular time. Obviously, in a historical novel, this is a good thing. There is a difference between historical and dated.

So how do we, as writers, handle this? One way is to use ambiguous writing as I did at the start of this piece. The reader will immediately fill in the blanks and use whatever poll has happened most recently. Another is to use real life examples which are not going to change any time soon. For example using an Apple computer, or Famous Grouse Whiskey. This may be a bit more difficult when talking about technology, especially which youngsters use.

It is an interesting concept. I would be interested in your views on this. All advice will be gratefully received in the comments below.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Book Marketing: Opportunities and Fun

One of the biggest challenges that writers face is what happens once the book comes out. Most creatives have little, or even no, understanding of marketing. However, I have found that opportunities abound if you are willing to look for, and grab, them. Guesting on blogs is once such opportunity. I read a lot of blogs and listen to a lot of podcasts. When bloggers are looking for guests I put myself forward. This involves giving a few topics which are suitable for the blog's approach.  Recently I heard that the Book Marketing Tools blog had opportunities for guest posts. I applied and was successful. I was talking about marketing being fun. You can read the post on the link below

The Book Marketing Tools blog is a superb blog for writers and it is well worth subscribing. 

I have been interviewed or a guest on a number of blogs. I also interview and host others on this blog. This is a good example of collaboration. When writers work together the sum is greater than all the parts. Everyone wins. Another example of collaboration is joint book signings or events. These can go with a bang especially if you also make them fun. This is exactly what another couple of crime writers and I plan to do at an event later in they year. Watch this space for details. 

I bid you adieu my Bookaholic friends. Enjoy life, see you soon.  Until then, keep reading and writing 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

What's up World

My fellow Bookaholics, given my lack of posts recently you may be wondering why I'm starting the blog with hooray. There are several awesome hoorays in the post.

Firstly, Hooray, I've actually managed to carve out some time to write a blog and to do admin. Life has been crazy recently with writing my books taking priority. I have also been on holiday and a couple of writing conferences. Add all that in and blogging feel by the wayside. Not much of an excuse I know. I did plan on writing my blog whilst I was on holiday. However, add the WiFi from hell into the mix and the blog went nowhere. Still, I can rejoice that I am now back on track.

The next Hooray is a huge one. As I said in my previous blog, I have signed a contract for a series of Young Adult Mysteries, The Fergus and Flora Mysteries. The first of these, Dagger's Curse, is with the editor and will be released on September 2016. The cover is currently being designed and I am excited to see it when it arrives. I have enjoyed getting to know Fergus and Flora as they have told me more about themselves. They're cracking characters who live life to the max. No sitting around saying "I'm bored," for them.  When I attempted to create them one way, they firmly refused to comply. Okay then, I'm only the writer, I'll do what I'm told. Writing for young adults is a new experience for me. It has been a challenge but also lots of fun. I have joined SCWBI (pronounced Scoobie) and I am learning a great deal from others. Exciting times for this writer.

The final Hooray is that DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries book 5 is coming along nicely. Shona is once more in the midst of a puzzling case with very few clues as to the identity of the killer. I love these books and enjoy writing them. Even I do not know what Shona will get up to next. Go Shona, don't you let anyone change who you are. 

So life is full on, and I have so much to celebrate. I exhort you to enjoy your life. Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly and make the most of it. What have you been up to recently, either with reading or writing?