anne_barwell (anne_barwell) wrote,

Fabulous Five Blog Post

I was invited to take part by Gillian St Kevern. Gillian’s another Kiwi although she’s living in Japan at present. We met through fandom over ten years ago, meeting in RL when she stayed with me and we went to Armeggedon together. As time passed we lost contact, and then I got an email earlier this year telling me about this book she’d read—the story and writing style reminded her of me. It was Shades of Sepia – and I’d written it.

What am I working on?
I have two titles coming out this year from Dreamspinner Press, so busy with edits, galleys and the like. Winter Duet which is the 2nd in the WWII Echoes series, has a release date of 6th October and On Wings of Song is a WW1 novella which begins during the Christmas Truce of 1914. Its release date is 24th December, which is the centenary of the events at the beginning of the story.

I have two current WIPs. Family and Reflection is book 3 of The Sleepless City which is a joint project with Elizabeth Noble. It’s contemporary urban fantasy set in the fictional town of Flint, Ohio and the POV characters in this book are a werewolf and a vampire.

The Harp and the Sea is an historical set on Skye in 1745 with some fantasy elements. I’m co-writing the story with Lou Sylvre, and very much enjoying working with her.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I live in New Zealand so I like to have a Kiwi connection in there if possible although it isn’t always. One of the main characters, Ben, in Shades of Sepia is from New Zealand, as is Leo, the downed RAF pilot in my upcoming release Winter Duet. Slow Dreaming is set in Wellington as will be the fantasy and urban fantasy series I’m planning to write once I’ve finished my current series in progress. There’s not much fantasy set in New Zealand, or Wellington, and I want to do something about that.

Music features in some shape or form in my books. My characters are often musicians and/or music plays a part of the story, sometimes major, sometimes minor (pun intended). I play violin and piano, taught music for ten years, minored in music in my degrees and tend to have ‘soundtracks’ for my stories.

I read across a wide range of genres and write the same way. So far I’ve written books in historical, science fiction, and fantasy genres. I also tend to write in series, as I can’t write a one shot to save my life. The stories I have which are one shots are trying to breed sequels or spin offs. Watch this space.

Why do I write what I do?
I write the stories I want to read which is why I write across a range of genres – I read that way too. I write M/M for a couple of reasons. Those are the stories that the ‘voices in my head’ aka my characters want to tell and I like to sleep at night. I also like writing relationships without gender stereotypes and exploring a couple and how their relationship works rather than each having a ‘role’ within that relationship. Readers looking for the perfect guy, an alpha action hero who doesn’t make mistakes and has no flaws aren’t going to find it in my stories. I find flawed heroes much more interesting. As for the other reason why I write M/M? Why not?

How does my writing process work?
I start with an idea, which quite often begins with a ‘what if’ question. Often the idea turns up while I’m working on another project, or two or three, so by the time I get to the point I have time to write it, it’s germinated and grown into a detailed outline and characters demanding their air time.

At this point I outline in more detail, although for some stories that works well, in others I get scenes and ‘sign posts’ of what is going to happen, and the rest happens as I write. Even when I do outline, my characters have a habit of detouring and adding stuff I hadn’t planned. The same way with characters. Hidden Place’s Mikey was supposed to a kid on a bike who nearly ran Tomas over and that was it. Two books in and he’s turned out to be a major character.

I used to wait until I’d finished before writing a blurb, but now I do it either before I start writing or very early on in that part of the process. With having an outline I know more or less what happens, and having one means when people ask me what I’m working on I can reply with the blurb.

Beta readers are also an important part of my writing process. A good beta reader is like gold and I’m very lucky to have the ones I have. They’ll tell me what’s working and what’s not, and we have a lot of fun discussing plot and characters, via email and over lunch. Once the first draft is done, I go through and tweak chapter by chapter until I have a second draft. My betas do another run through, and then it’s off to my ‘cold readers,’ who are also worth their weight in gold. I find it invaluable to have someone read through an entire manuscript for the first time and whom I trust to give me an honest opinion as to what works and doesn’t – although hopefully it isn’t too much of the latter by this stage.

Then it’s the final tweak, submission and my least favourite part of writing: waiting to see if it’s been accepted.

Who’s Next on the Blog Hop?

All of the authors I’m tagging I’ve met through Dreamspinner Press.

Lou Sylvre is my co-writer for The Harp and Sea. I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing several of her books on release day and am looking forward to her next novel. Lou has a wonderful lyrical style of writing, and her guys aren’t afraid to show their emotions, and are great at kicking arse.

Elizabeth Noble is my co-conspirator for The Sleepless City series. Elizabeth is the author of the SFSentries series, and also the contemporary Circles series. She writes wonderful action scenes and I’m looking forward to reading the next installments in both those series.

Charlie Cochet is an author on my TBR list, especially her stories set in the 1920s and 30s—I love stories set in the first half of the 20th Century— although she writes across a variety of genres. We’ve hosted each other for guest blogs and I’m looking forward to hosting her again next month.

Sarah Madison is another author on my TBR list. She writes mysteries, fantasy and SF, and has a new release coming from Dreamspinner in October.

Grace R Duncan is another Dreamspinner author I’ve met through guest blogging—it’s a great way to make connections and meet new friends. It’s also added loads more to my TBR list—I seriously need more reading time.
Tags: blog hops, charlie cochet, elizabeth noble, family and reflection, grace r duncan, lou sylvre, on wings of song, sarah madison, the harp and the sea, winter duet

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