Today I’m taking part in the #MyWritingProcess blog tour, where you follow a thread across the blogs of lots of different writers, who all answer the same questions about their writing.
My host is author Debbie Bennett, who mainly writes thriller/crime fiction, with the occasional foray into fantasy. Her trilogy Hamelin’s Child, Paying the Piper and Calling the Tune can all be seen on her web site. She also blogs regularly for Authors Electric.
And now, on with the questions…
1) What am I working on?
I have several things on the go, wearing several of hats. As an editor for Alchemy Press I am following up on the recent Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic (co-edited with Jenny Barber) with an Urban Mythic Volume two. I also have another co-editing gig with Jenny for Fox Spirit in planning.
With the writing cap on I am working on a sequel to Sex, Lies and Family Ties -published under the name Sarah J Graham, available here in Kindle and paper editions. I’ve been working on a shared world project with Fringe Works for the past year. I’m also working on a new version of Sussex Tales, which won the ‘Winchester Short Volume’ prize, enlarging on the original to make it an episodic novel of rural Sussex on the early 1960’s. The prize included 50 copies but I never had more printed, and thought it was time it had a proper airing.
All that aside my major projects are Urban Fantasy series about Tarian, Margrave of the South, which should be airborne later this year in some form or other. I have also recently started on a history crime story set in 1949, and having a lot of fun with that.
Short fiction rolls ever onwards, with three commissions for anthologies (which can’t be named as yet) and any number of ideas for stories that will hopefully find markets at some point. I have approaching forty stories published to date, all listed HERE.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My short fiction is mainly supernatural, or else based around folklore, and most often appears in horror anthologies, though I think it differs from a lot of horror in being understated. I am not interested in writing ‘in your face’ horror. I like to set a good pace, but not a high body count. There are bodies, but often they are a side issue. I want to make people peer start at rustling in the bushes and check under the bed because the things I write about may just be out there. Is it different from other horror writing? I imagine most writers would like to think they are. It is down to our readers to tell us if we have made it so.
When it comes to novels I am different from myself at least. I’ve written what might be seen as main stream fiction with Sex, Lies and Family Ties, and Sussex Tales. And I have a preference for dark fantasy over what most people would call horror per se. My trilogy would probably be called Urban Fantasy. It mixes old myths with the modern world, but uses a great many local legends rather than the usual vamps and werewolves we have come to expect. Not that I am leaving them out, merely making them an add on to my passion for folklore. For example in one book I do touch on dragons, but Knuckers – water dragons specific to Sussex – rather than any that Arthur or George might have come across.
And of course I have been dabbling in various kinds of crime dating between 1840 to 1940.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I doubt many writers can really answer this one without sounding a little odd. Put simply I can’t remember not making up stories. I write because it satisfies something in me that I have not come across elsewhere in life as yet. I write because the ideas come to me and am driven to share them. Whole make-believe lives of make believe people run through my mind like waking dreams. I have always suspected that most writers are exorcising their inner demons onto paper (or reader screen).
4) How does my writing process work?
Chaotically. I know several writers who plan each chapter in minute detail, and write extensive biographies for each character, but I can’t work that way.
I usually have a beginning, and some vague idea of ending, and just go for it. Though I have been pre-plotting more than I used to, if only in self-defence. I have a habit of weaving complex plot and sub plot, and they need a lot of watching if only to prevent terminal continuity error. But I seldom put anything more than rough notes together until I am at least six chapters in.
Debbie Bennett, in her blog called herself a ‘pantzer’ and I am with her on the ‘seat of the pants school of writing’
I do not edit until the first draft is complete, because because the chances are my plot will have taken another side track or two into fresh territory and it will all have to be changed all over again!
And now I pass the tour on to Jem Shaw, Misha Herwin and Barry Lillie to answer the same 4 questions on 24th February. I’ve known all three of these fine writers for several years through the Renegade Writers group @renegadewriters