A Writing Journey.
Just before Christmas, I released my latest book. It’s a different genre from my previous books and is dedicated to my late father. I was actually working on another book at the time but somehow this one took over.
In June 2017 we had a family holiday in Nice. After losing my dad at the beginning of the year I wanted us to be together for this holiday. I decided on Nice as it had that mix of city culture and beach. Although I wanted us to be together as my boys are now adults, I knew that would want to go off and do their own thing without us.
The starting point for the book came in a dream; a man was looking down from a balcony into a moonlit garden and suddenly sees a girl’s body floating in the swimming pool. Although it appeared to be a Mediterranean setting nothing in this image linked it to the Riviera. Usually, most dream images fade during the day, although last night’s image of trying to eat a lobster that suddenly looked up at me is still with me! However, the swimming pool image provoked questions. Who were they? What had happened? Can he save her? I wrote down a few notes and scenarios but continued with my other book.
I was drawn back to the swimming pool idea by a competition. A ‘plot of gold’ was designed to encourage you to use Beemgee’s plotting software to produce the synopsis of your book. I decided to try it out and worked on the ideas I had begun to develop. The software prompted me with both character development and plot arc. I also set up a Pin-interest board with visual images of characters and various items. Like other writers I use actor’s faces as a reference, I don’t consciously use people I know. However, although it is not stated many readers will notice that Paul shows signs of autism, my own son is on the autistic spectrum. Paul is not based on my son, but I am aware of the problems related to Asperger’s syndrome and I used this knowledge when developing Paul’s characteristics.
The main plot became that this was a stag party and the young girl was unknown to them, but she knew them. I always felt the guy on the balcony was French, but his friends weren’t. University is usually the first time children leave their family homes and live with other people, friendships formed at this time tend to be strong ones, it seemed the obvious place for an Irishman, a Frenchman and two Englishman to have met and still be in contact with each other twenty years later.
Working with the software I created additional themes and the first synopsis. I didn’t win the competition, but I did receive a ‘highly recommended’. However, when I came to print out my various reports they printed in pale blue ink and were difficult to read. I considered paying the premium access price, but money is tight and I now had my synopsis. I would use it again though.
November was approaching with ‘NaNoWriMo’ (National Novel Writing Month), an American idea with the objective of encouraging people to write 50,000 words in a month. It is also useful as it brings writers from all over the world together providing an opportunity to exchange information or ask questions. I have tried the local meet-ups, but I can’t see any reason for me to decamp to a coffee shop to write, especially in November when towns are busy with Christmas shoppers. However, focusing on writing 50,000 words is a great way to kick-start a novel.
During 2018 I wrote, edited and rewrote in between visiting Japan and having a new kitchen fitted. As we entered 2019, I had my book and was looking for an editor, but my husband was made redundant. I put things on hold.
As nothing had changed as summer approached, I picked it up again and reedited. I began thinking of releasing, so I searched for a cover. Various images were tried and rejected. The image I choose is of the surface of a swimming pool, it reminded me of David Hockney paintings. I like that its surface ripples, it reflects light, it’s inviting and it’s deadly.
Letting your book go out into the world is exciting but difficult. I found myself editing and then reverting back to the original. Besides grammar and spelling checks I used Pro-writing reports. I also had Microsoft Word read to me, it had problems with some of the French words and was a bit robotic but it highlighted problems other software had failed to detect.
Finally, it is available on Amazon. I also have a physical copy with my name on the cover.