Genre and Voice Part 1 : Louise Rose-Innes

Sue : I’ve been asked quite a lot recently as to what genre my second book Closing In actually falls in, there have been mixed opinions by those who have read it as to whether it’s romance or thriller.  For me, it falls somewhere between the two, under the romantic suspense category. All this made me wonder about the placing of a book and if it’s possible to sit between genres successfully or to even write in a completely different genre. I’ve found it’s a topic that causes quite a lot of discussion and, as such, decided to ask around for other authors’ experiences and thoughts on genre and voice.

I had originally intended to do one post on this, but I received such great advice from the authors I approached,  I didn’t want to cut anything down and have it over three installments.

I’m delighted to welcome Louise Rose-Innes to the Romaniac blog today. Louise is probably most known for her romance novels, but has recently turned her hand to a more dangerous story line.

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I have a split personality. With books, I mean. My teenage reading list comprised of young adult romances, and progressed to Joanna Lindsay and Jilly Cooper fairly rapidly. In fact, I remember getting detention for reading the “naughty bits” from The Thorn Birds out loud to the boys in my tenth grade English class.

Running parallel to this was a deep-seated hunger for thriller novels. Sydney Sheldon was my all-time fave. His direct, suspense-laden style has probably influenced my writing more than any other author. Clive Cussler and James Patterson are close seconds. But then there’s also Michael Connelly and Robert Ludlum and of course the all-time spy-master, John le Carré…

Occasionally, I’ll read a Booker Prize winning novel for the literacy value, and because I feel incredibly guilty if I don’t, but other than that my personal book collection is fairly evenly spread between the romance and thriller genres.

Naturally, the same would prove to be true with my writing. When I began, I thought romance would be the easiest genre to master. I’m not convinced I was correct, but the ten years I’ve spent writing the genre have taught me a huge amount about character development, internal and external conflict and (the hardest part) how to write a good love scene. Because romances are character-driven stories, you need to understand your hero and heroine extremely well and develop them and their relationship throughout the story.

Thrillers on the other hand are primarily plot-driven. Planning is essential. All the various elements of the story have to be factored in at the right moment, from clues and red-herrings to action sequences and reveals. And this has to be done in such a way that the pace doesn’t falter, so the reader keeps turning those pages. No mean feat!

There are parallels. The lessons I learned (and am still learning) writing romance, are definitely applicable to thrillers. For instance, I found characterising my protagonist in my current thriller series fairly easy. His faults, his demons, his personal journey are all extremely well developed. The same goes for my antagonist. The depth of character that I’m able to reach in my thriller writing I attribute to the many rejection letters I got when I started writing romance. Those early submission editors saying my inner conflict wasn’t well enough thought out or my characters lacked emotional depth. Hurtful at the time, but beneficial in the long run. :-)

My latest novel, Personal Assistance (Entangled Ignite), is a romantic suspense set in a Middle Eastern kingdom on the brink of an Arab-spring type conflict. The heroine, an employee of the Arab prince, stumbles upon a highly classified document and is now on the run for her life. With the embassy shut, the only person who can help her escape is a disgraced SAS commander with a hidden agenda. But can she trust him to get her out, or will he sacrifice her for his own ends?

Personal Assistance is available now from Amazon and other online retailers. Read the first chapter here…

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Just Say No – NWS Deadline

It’s that time of year when anyone on the New Writers’ Scheme who hasn’t yet submitted their manuscript, is wondering how on earth it can be August already.

When I blogged about the NWS deadline a couple of years ago here, Jane Lovering commented that “The NWS deadline is nature’s way of preparing you for the horrific task of hitting deadline dates …”. She was right. Although, I’m yet to master the art effectively.

I know several of The Romaniac girls are submitting their manuscripts under the NWS and a couple of us have publisher deadlines looming.  To keep me focussed on mine, I keep telling myself to ‘just say no’ (a catch phrase pinched from Zammo, for those old enough to remember him from Grange Hill). This ties in nicely with a picture I shared on Facebook of  a J K Rowling quote.

“Be ruthless about protecting your writing days, ie. do not cave in to endless requests to have ‘essential and long overdue’ meetings on those days.”

Not only that, but I often refer back to Nora Roberts and her take on writing. The whole clip below is very inspiring but it’s at 5mins 20secs in, where she talks about keeping you’re a*** in the chair, when I really take note.

And if that’s not enough, I would also add to J K Rowling’s quote, protect your writing time with the same ferocity you would protect the last slice of chocolate cake or last glass of wine.

Good luck to everyone and hope you all have great feedback.

Sue

From Paris With Love – It’s all about me says Samantha Tonge

From_Paris_With_Love_coverFrom Paris with Love is the standalone sequel to my debut romantic comedy, Doubting Abbey. It is also the second novel I have written in Paris. However, the first is FIRMLY under my bed! “Poppy Love” was the first novel I ever wrote, ooh, a few years ago now. What a learning curve. I eventually stopped writing it at 90,000 words (the length of your average chicklit novel) because at that point, there were still only four chapters!

I once read that when a writer starts out on their literary journey, they churn out a lot of, um, not-so-good autobiographical material – a bit like when you buy an old house, the tap water runs brown first of all, and you need to let it run a while for the fresh, clear water to appear. And sure enough, this first Parisian novel of mine was based on a time in my youth when I lived in the French capital and fell in love with a Parisian – a period of my life that I look back on with a warm, nostalgic glow. I set the story in the exact youth hostel I lived in. Due to the cringe-factor, I daren’t re-read it now. What a self-indulgent piece of work!

But I think it is important for a writer to go through this process – as the main plot/character ideas are in your head already (from you own experiences) you unconsciously concentrate, instead, on honing your writing skills. Then you are ready to tackle a novel using your imagination as well, with settings, plots and characters that aren’t directly linked to you.

Indeed, From Paris with Love has little to do with my life – I’ve never been chased by a hunky international spy, nor become friends with a hot, come-to-bed eyed rockstar. Although, of course, parts of my life, on a less autobiographical scale, are still in my writing – how I loved mentally re-visiting Paris, especially the atmospheric Père Lachaise cemetery, bustling Porte de Clignancourt flea market and romantic Sacre Coeur church. And being a foodie, I just had to write about the gastronomic delights bonkers aspiring chef Gemma learns to cook – mmm, the French patisserie, warm baguettes, rich stews and luxurious red wines… I must visit the French capital again soon.

So why not give From Paris with Love a try? It’s a fun tale of the continued rocky relationship between a former pizza waitress and stuffy but gorgeous aristocrat. Lord Edward has honey curls, an accent to die for, and as for his kisses… Mmm, thinking about it, what a pity this book isn’t autobiographical!

Blurb

Every girl dreams of hearing those four magical words Will you marry me? But no-one tells you what’s supposed to happen next…

Fun-loving Gemma Goodwin knows she should be revelling in her happy-ever-after. Except when her boyfriend Lord Edward popped the question, after a whirlwind romance, although she didn’t say no….she didn’t exactly say yes either!

A month-long cookery course in Paris could be just the place to make sure her heart and her head are on the same page… And however disenchanted with romance Gemma is feeling, the City of Love has plenty to keep her busy; the champagne is decadently quaffable, the croissants almost too delicious, and shopping is a national past-time! In fact, everything in Paris makes her want to say Je t’aime… Except Edward!

But whilst Paris might offer plenty of distractions from wedding planning – including her new friends, mysterious Joe and hot French rockstar Blade – there’s no reason she couldn’t just try one or two couture dresses is there? Just for fun…

Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

Website: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Doubting abbey Blog: http://doubtingabbey.blogspot.co.uk/

AmazonUK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paris-Love-Samantha-Tonge-ebook/dp/B00KYU49XK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1404140133&sr=1-1&keywords=from+paris+with+love

AmazonUS: http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Love-Samantha-Tonge-ebook/dp/B00KYU49XK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1404140193&sr=8-3&keywords=from+paris+with+love

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Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family, and two cats who think they are dogs. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, came out in November 2013.

 

A Year On From Signing My Publishing Deal

Next month will mark a full year since I signed a three book publishing deal with Harper Collins’ romance imprint Harper Impulse.

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It’s been an exciting year which has seen two of the titles published, both in digital and paperback format, book number three submitted and, as a group, The Romaniacs have also published a short story anthology. To say it has whizzed by would be an understatement, but I’ve taken a moment to pause and reflect on how the past year has been.

Fast. Busy. Stressful. Exciting. Frustrating. Enjoyable.  And every emotion remotely related to those. That’s how it’s been.

And it’s not just the range of emotions I’ve experienced, I’ve also learned a lot about myself as a writer and the writing process itself. Amongst many things, I’ve learned …

That I will love my edits, despite what I may tweet at the time of being in the  ‘Editing Cave’.

That Book 2 helps to sell Book 1.

That I will happy dance at good reviews.

That I will grow thick skin for the not so nice reviews.

That I will compulsively check Amazon rankings, despite pretending I’m only going to look for a book to read and that I’m not really going to look at mine and compare it with every other book in that genre.

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Would love to know how the past year has been for everyone else.

Have you had your book published? Have you signed with an agent?  Have you self-published? Have you joined the RNA New Writers’ Scheme? Did you renew your NWS membership? Have you written another draft? Written an entirely new book? Decided to write in a completely different style or genre? Or anything else remotely related to writing …

Sue

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We’re Going on an Edit Hunt

We’re going on an edit hunt,

We’re going to catch some big ones,

What a lot of track changes,

We’re not scared.

Oh no, a repetition!

We can’t just avoid it

We can’t just ignore it

We will just have to deal with it

 

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The Editing Cave

It was pretty dark in that editing cave some days and I spent an awful lot of time in there earlier in the year while I completed the final edits of my second novel ‘Closing In‘.

It was a good process as, unlike my first novel which had been edited a great deal before it was seen by my publishers, ‘Closing In’ had only been seen by my lovely Romaniac friend, Jan Brigden. She had cast her eagle eye over it when it was a mere novella. Since then it morphed into a much bigger story, so I was rather apprehensive sending it into the publishers.

I thought I’d share a few of the things that have been picked up along the long editing road.

Over-use of certain words

I use the word ‘just’ an awful lot. I did actually know this already, so I went through my manuscript and managed to half the amount of times it appeared. A lot of the time is wasn’t needed or could be easily replaced with ‘simply’, ‘merely’ or ‘only’ depending on the context.

I took out the word ‘seem’ in a lot of the sentences, as I felt it diluted the impact of what I was trying to convey. For example, ‘The cold seemed to seep up from beneath her …’ became ‘The cold seeped up from beneath her …’

The revised version, I felt, was much stronger.

Not to repeat myself

I don’t mean the obvious ones of using the same word twice in a short a space of time but where the sentence has become convoluted, a bit waffly, drawn out – saying the same thing but with different words. (See what I did there? :-) )

‘… in his usual polite way, as he always did.’ became ‘… in his usual polite way.’

The same when two characters were having a telephone conversation. Originally I had written ‘… he ended his call with Ken.’ On the read through, I realised that identifying Ken wasn’t necessary – who else would he be ending his call with? So that simply became ‘… he ended his call.’

‘Dark shadows’ – aren’t all shadows dark? So, here, I deleted the word ‘dark’.

The Editor

I would be remiss of me not to acknowledge my editor and thank her for all the hard work she put into the manuscript too. Having input from someone who has no personal connection with the manuscript is invaluable and, I’d say, vital.

Final Read Through

I like to send the edited document to my Kindle for a final read through (Click here for a post how to do this). It’s amazing what you spot reading it in a different format to the one you composed it in.

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Closing In‘. is very different to ‘United States of Love’ but I really enjoyed writing it and hope readers enjoy it too.

Amazon link

 

Sue Fortin author pic Jan 14

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Publication Day : Closing In by Sue Fortin

 

I’m delighted that my second novel CLOSING IN is published in digital format today by HarperImpulse, with paperback  to be released 31 July 2014.

I wondered if it would feel any less exciting than the first book I had published. I have to say that it’s just as exciting, if not more. I’ve been overwhelmed by the interest and Shaz Goodwin of Fiction Addiction Book Tours has organised a fantastic book tour. My idea of a small tour, kind of, took on a life of its own as more book reviewers expressed an interest – I’m very honoured.

I have the day off from work, so will be celebrating by hanging out on social media for the most part, consuming plenty of tea and cake!

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Flight, Fight, Fawn or Freeze?

Helen has had to leave everything she’s ever known behind; her home, her family, even her own name.

Now, returning to the UK as Ellen Newman, she moves to a small coastal village, working as a nanny for Donovan, a criminal psychologist. Attractive, caring and protective, this single father and his sweet daughter are a world away from Ellen’s brutal past. She thinks she’s escaped. She thinks she’s safe.

But something’s wrong.

Strange incidents begin to plague her new family, and their house of calm is about to become one of suspicion and fear. Who can be trusted? Who is the target? Who is closing in?

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Kobo

Google Play

iTunes

 

Thank you, as always, for all your fabulous support.

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Sue

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RNA, NWS : Joan Hessayon Award

As you may know, The Romaniacs all met through the RNA‘s New Writers’ Scheme back in 2011. Since then we’ve all made great strides in our writer careers and, amazingly, last year three of us achieved our ambition of becoming published authors. This has meant ‘graduation’ to full membership with the RNA and sees us eligible for the Joan Hessayon Award; the winner of which is to be announced at the RNA summer party in London on 22 May 2104.

Celia J Anderson – Sweet Proposal

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Laura E. James – Truth or Dare?

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Sue Fortin – United States of Love

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We are in fabulous company and wanted to wish everyone the very best of luck. We are looking forward to the evening very much and to meeting up with all the other attendees, especially the other new writers.  Here is the full list of nominations.

Alison May

Eileen Hogg

Elaine Everest

Helen Phifer

Jane O’Reilly

Jennifer Young

Jessica Thompson

Jill Steeples

Jo Thomas

Kathryn Freeman

Lin Treadgold

Pauline Bennion

Susan E Willis

Teresa Morgan

Congratulations everyone on becoming published

and

very best of luck!