Life After The Shadow Series

keep calm and write somethingJust over a month ago I released the four books in my series, a lot of people asked me what was next and my answer was always, “I’ll just keep writing.” People wanted to know if I would take a holiday, after years of writing and editing didn’t I want some time to relax? The truth is I don’t feel relaxed unless I’m writing, in fact I’m lost without it.

 

For the first three weeks after the book release much of my time went into promotional work and record keeping but as I got the hang of it all I found myself with spare time again. Part of me struggled with the idea of letting go of The Shadow Series, the thought of working with new characters did freak me out a bit, I felt like I was abandoning relationships with my friends—even if they were imaginary. I realised it might take me longer to adjust than I initially anticipated. And it scared me to think how long it could be before I was ready to work on something new.

 

I tried not to focus on it too much, but there was this underlying fear; what if the Shadow Series was all I had in me? What if I couldn’t move on? I’d also sent out a lot of review requests to book bloggers and I felt like I needed to be working on something new before the reviews came back. I opened my mind to new ideas, I started recording dreams and taking notes every time a potential plots came to me. I had plenty of inspirations and a few really cool pieces to fit into a book but individually they weren’t strong enough to work on their own.

 

It didn’t take long for my spare time to turn into immense boredom, there is a quote about writing which explains this perfectly, “Writers don’t take vacations, they are either writing or thinking about writing.” And that is exactly the reason I felt so bored without a project to work on. I can handle not writing if I can at least think about writing. I need those characters alive in my head all the time. I have a pretty active social life, with great friends and family there’s plenty of things I can do to fill my time but it’s the hours in between that kill me.  What do people think about when they’re waiting at the traffic lights, exercising, waiting for a friend or trying to fall asleep?

 

My life feels aimless without a story to focus on so after a few weeks this boredom started to get to me. I decided the time was right. I didn’t have a fully formed plot but I had some cool ideas, I decided I would find a way to fit them all together.

 

I’ve been reading a lot of ghost stories lately, I loved being scared and feeling as though the story really got under my skin. I wanted to spend more time in that dark world and thought the only way to become more involved is to write it instead of just reading it. I decided that would be the premise for my new story. The Shadow Series is written in first person from the point of view of a female, I wanted to do the complete opposite in my new book, so the main character is male and it’s written in third person. The other elements are a combination of dreams, documentaries and nonfiction books I’ve read.

 

I started writing it on the 6th of June, but progress was slow. It took me a full week to finish the first chapter. It was just so strange working with a new character, after knowing my old characters so well this one felt too superficial. I pushed on but I was distracted. Partly because I was going to be submitting this chapter to my new writing group for critiquing and I was nervous about it. It was a work in progress but the quality of writing from the other members was so high I felt intimidated, I kept thinking, although it was a draft it had to be a damn good draft!

 

I went to the writer’s group and received my critique. All the anticipation was completely unwarranted. Everyone in the group is really supportive of each other, they gave amazing advice and after spending 3 hours in their company I felt my passion coming to life again. It wasn’t just receiving comments on my own work that inspired me but being involved in their stories as well. Seeing how some scenes affected all of us in the same way and realising the power in those words. I’ve received a lot of feedback on my writing from beta readers but the advice from writer to writer is quite different. It opened my eyes to new concepts and gave me more faith in letting the reader create the scene themselves. I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

 

So I went home and continued working on my ghost story, it took a little while to find my rhythm but by the end of the week I started to feel really excited about writing again. The character has more depth in my mind, the plot is almost completely mapped out and I have something to think about when I’m waiting at the traffic lights and trying to fall asleep. Everything is as it should be—life after The Shadow Series does go on!

 

 

 

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Am I A Book Snob?

the restorer

I have to admit I have been somewhat spoilt in the world of books. Since I was a child my sister, Sarah, assessed my tastes and preferences for storytelling. Unlike most people I never had to sift through piles of books, studying blurbs and flicking through the pages, reading numerous duds on the hunt for my next favourite novel. I was pretty lucky, she read the duds for me and every book she handed to me was perfectly matched to my needs. My own personal book shopper. I have to take a moment to say a giant THANK YOU to her, her influence in those early days has played a huge part in the life I now live.

Now I’m all grown up, I’m out there on my own—just like everyone else—scanning the libraries, looking for the next story to keep me reading past midnight. Goodreads has been a great tool, if you love books I would strongly encourage you to join. It is basically an online book club but you can choose how much you want to participate. If you want a more personal experience you can add friends and join reading groups, if that doesn’t take your fancy you can just use it to check out ratings and read reviews. Goodreads has directed me to a lot of great books and when my personal book shopper made a recommendation that also rated highly on Goodreads I thought I couldn’t go too far wrong.

The Restorer by Amanda Stevens has been on my reading pile for a long time. I finally downloaded it on my Kindle and to my horror it said, ‘Thank you for purchasing Mills and Boon.’ I had never read a Mills and Boon book before and I didn’t plan to start now. In protest I downloaded another book and proceeded to tell everyone how I was tricked into buying Mills and Boon. Then someone said to me, ‘You know what, you’re being a book snob. What if it’s really good?’

So I’m 80% through The Restorer and I have to say it’s the best book I’ve read in a long time! Before you laugh at me you must know, there hasn’t been any romance thus far. Mills and Boon you shock me! I did a bit of research trying to figure out exactly how this book came to be published by M & B but so far I haven’t found any answers. Maybe they’ve decided to branch out and publish in different genres or perhaps they’ve realised a lot of people want more than a cheesy romance, they want a compelling plot.

If you don’t like ghost stories The Restorer probably isn’t for you. It’s about a graveyard restorer who can see ghosts and I have to say it’s pretty creepy. For me that’s perfect, I enjoy getting scared in books and the vividly described hauntings in this story are absolutely spine tingling. I found myself tucked under the blanket with the light left on all night. To me that’s a good sign, the author reached me, she freaked me out—her writing skills and intriguing plot far exceeded my expectations of a M & B novel.

It turns out I was a book snob—so you should never judge a book by its publisher.