Tag Archive | music

My Next Big Thing

Having been double-tagged recently for the Next Big Thing by Gilli Allan and Joanne Lambert, I couldn’t really refuse, so hang to your hats and settle down to read about what’s simmering on the back burner of creation for Kit Domino.

The game plan is I answer a stack of questions about what I’m currently working on and tag five other friends to take part. The questions are easy to deal with, what isn’t is the sad fact I haven’t got five friends left to tag (Billy No Mates Left, me!) as most, it seems, have been tagged already. But what the heck, I’ll do it anyway. If you want to take part in next week’s bundle feel free. Let me know and I’ll add you as an official tag. Of course, you can just go ahead and tell us about your next big thing anyway. So… here goes mine.

Ten Interview Questions: The Next Big Thing

What is the working title of your book?  I’m currently working on Whitestones. The book is finished and has been for some time but is in the process of being reworked and updated.

Where did the idea come from for the book? The story was inspired from hearing a particular piece of classical music  for the first time. I’m a great lover of classical music but this is not one of those frequently played on radio, but the sort of tune that once you’ve heard it, you can’t help falling in love with it. I came cross it by chance on a complication CD. I thought it so beautiful, so dreamy and romantic I had to use it, even to the point of obtaining the sheet music and teaching myself to play it on the piano, and so plays an integral part to the plot.

What genre does your book fall under? That’s a difficult one to answer. I would class it as a romantic mystery, but because it has paranormal elements it’s been classed (by others) as a paranormal.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? There are four central characters within Whitestones. Keria Knightly would be brilliant Penny, the lead heroine, alongside Anna Friel. The jury’s still out over the male roles but I would love Kevin Costner to play Harry, the lead male, failing that, Patrick Demsey, with George Cloney playing the professor.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A story of music and love that transcends the barriers of time.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? ThornBerry Publishing will be publishing the ebook, hopefully next year if I can pull my finger out.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Probably about 12 months. It’s had many rewrites already as it was first drafted many years ago, long before Every Step of the Way.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? There is a touch of Rebecca in the beginning, and think Nicholas Sparks and Barbara Erskine and you would be on the right track, but because Whitestones is cross-genre, and has a story line that is, I have been told by “those in the know”, quite different to anything else around, I can’t think of a single book I could compare it with.

Widden Hill House. Picture courtesy of David Harper

Who or What inspired you to write this book? There were two inspirations. The first, a large mansion in the Cotswolds near Chipping Sodbury where I lived once upon a time (pictured). The other, the fact that I’ve always been fascinated by the unexplained, paranormal events, ghosts and hauntings etc. It was whilst watching a series on TV some years ago that explored many of the locations around Britain that were reportedly haunted, I realised that many of these occurrences had a familiar theme. I began to question what was behind these stories, delving and digging deeper and reaching my own conclusions in seeking to find an explanation. This is explored in Whitestones. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Picture the scene: A lonely house overlooking the Severn valley on a stormy night during the wettest summer in recorded history, Penny alone inside. Cue music – making Penny think she’s left a radio on somewhere in the house. Okay, cut music. … I said CUT MUSIC! Oh, you have? Ah, now that really is a problem because Penny can still hear it. In her head, playing over and over again. Constantly playing, for days at a time, enough to drive her to the brink of insanity and headlong towards a breakdown. And so begins her and Harry’s journey to seek out the source and find answers. What they discover will astound them, and you.

Okay … now over to you.

(Read my recent interviews with Carol E Wyer   and Nicky Wells)

Fellow author at ThornBerry Publishing, Shirley Wright also talks about her Next Big Thing is too! Click here to read

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A Few of My Favourite Things

  • Dawn, my favourite time of day. I live in the middle of a housing estate stuck between the junction of two motorways. Close by is an airfield, a large shopping mall and a railway, so you can understand why it’s not exactly quiet around here. Except for early mornings when all is calm, all is peaceful. I love to sit, preferably outside, and watch the sky lighten in all its ever-changing hues of blues and pinks, the play of light and shadows, and enjoy a feeling of anticipation of what the day will bring. Coupled with this, another of my favourite things — birds.
  • The dawn chorus is part of my enjoyment of dawn, but I also like to hear the birds singing at any time of day. I even have a CD I play frequently to feed what is a passionate need to hear them around me. If it wasn’t for the pesky pigeons and magpies that we have an overpopulation of here, where I live would be perfect. The birds like my garden and many of our native garden species can be found flittering and feeding and bathing here almost every day. Whenever I am out, no matter where or what country, I always take time out to watch the birds but can categorically say I am not a twitcher despite my binoculars saying to the contrary.
  • My garden, plants and other animals. My garden is my sanctuary, a small piece of tranquillity in an otherwise noisy, chaotic world. Here my husband and I grow and enjoy all manner of flowers and thrill at everything that mother nature decides to send to visit including the birds, butterflies, toads, frogs, slow-worms, lizards, field mice, hedgehogs.
  • Holidays abroad to warm locations. For many years now I’ve been fortunate enough to spend my holidays with just my two sisters and our mum. I live some way from them so our annual migration to the sun gives us precious time together. We chill out, read, do as we please, eat and drink what we please, go where we please and enjoy each other’s company without the tantrums of men or children. I never got on with my sisters when we all lived at home, always fighting and arguing. They are twins and five years older than me. Not a big difference now but that’s a huge ravine when you’re young. Next year will see our last holiday together. Mum is 86 next March, travelling getting too much for her, and with my sisters retired and my being recently redundant we will not be able to afford to do it again.
  • Greece and all things Greek. Of all the places abroad I have visited, from Barbados, Austria, Germany and Spain, through to holidays with my sisters, it is always to Greece we return. Each island is unique in its own way. I love the food and the people, the culture, the history and the climate. Especially the climate. I just love the sun although I am not a sun worshipper — you’ll never see me with tan. If I could choose one place in the world to retire to, it would be to a Greek island. And it’s back to Greece again next year for our last girls’ holiday.
  • Music. All types but especially classical and especially Andre Bocelli. What I wouldn’t give to see him live. His voice sends a shiver down my spine. I grew up with music, especially German folk songs and bands, I taught myself to play piano, my first husband was a DJ, and music is always playing at home when driving, be it ELO or Eric Clapton, Ralph McTell to George Michel, Bocelli to Rachmaninov, music is my world.

Each one of the above has been included in one way or another in my books: classical music is a central theme of Whitestones, along with a garden where the heroine seeks solace. In Every Step of the Way, the music of the 1950s features prominently. Sisters in a villa on a Greek island and happenings at dawn are elements running through When Two Worlds Collide. When I’m writing novels I like to bring some of my favourite things into the narrative; the premise being “write about what you know”. Hopefully, the things that please me, will please my readers, too.

A Serious Case of Writer’s Block

Is there such a thing, or is this a term used by writers who know they want to write, know they must write, but are frightened to put pen to paper or put fingers to the keyboard? We all go through a phase when nothing seems to come into our heads, and the mind and page remain blank.

Writing is a habit, one is easily broken by distractions of life and home cutting in. You set yourself tasks, allot your precious “writing time” into your busy schedule yet nothing spills out. Or you reach a point in your current WIP, often in the middle when the plot and story sag, or in my case droop, and you don’t know how to move it forward. It’s happened on numerous occasions, particular when I haven’t been able to work on one of my books for a long time. Artists also experience this self-same thing so, obviously, it must be some electrical brain impulse thingy hard at work blocking the brain stems from creativity. So what can we do to get the right synapses working again?

In the many years I’ve been writing I’ve developed a few  ploys to jump-start the creative juices so thought I would share them with you. They may not work for you, but in all cases, it doesn’t matter what you write, it can all be totally incomprehensible and probably end up being deleted but at least you are writing, and writing is all about habit. Or you may find, as I have, that magic scene you were searching for comes alive. The missing part to get from B to C materialises. Or you find you really need a new dress to wear to next week’s party.

1)      Put on some music. Your favourite CD. Music is mood enhancing. Music retrieves memories. Both of these can inspire. Not working? Then write about the actual words you are listening to. Write down the lyrics. Write your own lyrics to the melody. They might not make sense, but somewhere there will be the prompt, that little spark that turns on the word gush.

2)     Turn everything off, open the window and just listen. Listen to the sounds in the street, those around you. Can you hear bird song? Traffic noise? People talking? Something else? Write a few sentences about what you can hear. Now, what can you see? Again, write it down. Next, smell the air. Is it sweet, damp, of mown grass, or full of  bbq fumes? Imagine what’s going on and write it down.

3)     Open the wardrobe door. Look at your clothes. Pick out your favourite outfit or dress or pair of shoes. Imagine the place where you would most like to wear it. What you would like to happen. Whom you would like to meet whilst in that sexy little red number? Imagine your heroine in the outfit. Would it suit her? Would it be her style? If not, what would she like to wear, and why.

4)      Too cold, wet or windy to have the window open? Then what can you hear indoors? In your writing room. A clock ticking? The hard drive on your computer whirring? What memories have you of clocks? Computers? The neighbours arguing? The kid across the road battling hell out of his new drum kit? Can you recall a funny instance concerning any or all of the things you can hear? Write it down. Create a scene. Unblock the mind.

5)      Turn on Google Images. Type in where you would most like to be in the world. Look at the photos that come up and then imagine yourself there. What would you be wearing? Why are you there? Are you meeting someone?

6)      Write the last scene of your novel and work backwards to where the lull in the middle is.

7)      Take a book from your library, preferably one you haven’t yet read, more preferable, one you are liable not to read. Write the second-to-last paragraph out. Then, using this as an opening gambit, write what happens next. Or, if you prefer, write a scene leading up to this final paragraph.

8)      Open any page in today’s newspaper. Pick one article or one leader. Write your own slant on it.

I bet you haven’t got writers’ block now. I bet your thought processes are flying quicker than you can type after just one of these exercises. I hope I’ve given you a few ideas that will work for you. Do tell me about it or of any tricks you have to fire up the imagination.