#Blogtour If He Wakes by Zoe Lea – The Value of Keeping a Writing Journal

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The Value Of Keeping A Writing Journal

It took me roughly three years to write If He Wakes. That’s from having the initial idea, to my lovely editor saying it was ready to go. Three years. I’ve learnt a lot about the writing process in those years and the one thing I would recommend to anyone who wants to create any kind of content is to keep a writing journal. Or a notebook. Or the notepad feature on your phone even. I call mine a writing journal, but what I really mean is just having something to hand that you can write on at anytime, anywhere.

Here’s why; I had the idea for If He Wakes in a car park. My daughter was about eight months old at the time and she was in the car with me, we were waiting for my husband when inspiration struck and I had absolutely nowhere to record the initial idea. I didn’t worry. It was a great idea, a wonderful premise, there was no chance of me forgetting it, and I didn’t.

But by the time I came to write down my idea for If He Wakes, it was two hours later. I’d been to the supermarket, dealt with a crying baby, made numerous decisions about what was on the family menu for the week and I was tired. My brilliant idea, the one that had made me gasp in the car park when everything was still and quiet was reduced to seven words. ‘Woman sees husband run man over, why?’

It wasn’t hopeless, I did pick up that sentence the next day and start to develop it, but by then, I was searching out the inspiration.

I felt like I’d missed the full opportunity with that idea. I had to chase it down. I had to sit and think about what exactly I’d envisaged in that car park, where my daughter slept silently behind me.

However, if I’d had my writing journal, I know that I would have spent a good ten minutes scribbling in a feverish way everything about that premise.

The way I knew the lead character would feel pain not only mentally, but also physically at what she saw. How the shock of it would shatter everything around her, it would leave her breathless and on a course that would change her life forever. I would have been able to write down where she was, who came to her aid and what she saw. The emotions would have been so raw at the moment I had the idea, it would’ve been easy.

And when I came back to my journal the next day, my enthusiasm for it would’ve jumped off the page and bitten me all over again. I would have read the words that I scribbled down and smiled, and it would all be there, ready for me to pick up and run with.

It took me two years before I realised that having a notebook with you at all times is essential. It’s no good thinking, ‘I’ll remember that, I don’t need to write it down,’ because you will remember the idea, but you will forget your enthusiasm for it.

I used to think that people who got a notebook out and started writing at odd times were just that, odd, but now I yank mine out at any given opportunity. You never know when inspiration will strike and you never want to miss it.

You can always trust your best friend… can’t you?

When Rachel discovers a Twitter message arranging a romantic liaison she assumes her husband is having an affair, and follows him. What she witnesses is so much worse: a hit and run using his car.

Meanwhile, Rachel’s friend and business partner Suzie is increasingly worried about her fiance, who’s not been in touch for days. When Suzie learns of huge debts racked up in her name she fears he has run out on her, but then the threatening calls start and she thinks something terrible has happened.

Rachel and Suzie are both about to learn shocking things about the men they love, worse than they could ever imagine… Can their friendship survive?

Two thirds of the way through this novel, I was sat in my favourite reading chair with a smug smile on my face thinking “I know where this story is going”.

I COULD NOT have been more wrong, but it was in a delightfully interesting way.

A fantastic and compelling read, I wonder just how many of you will feel the same?

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Foul Trade – BKDuncan #blogtour

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It is March 1920. May Keaps, the Poplar Coroner’s Officer, has never failed to provide a jury with sufficient evidence to arrive at a just verdict.

The poverty, drunken fights between visiting sailors, drug trafficking, and criminal gangs, haunting the shadows of the busiest docks in the world, mean that the Coroner sees more than its fair share of sudden and unnatural deaths.

May relishes the responsibility placed upon her but there are many who believe it’s an unsuitable job for a woman. Even May begins to wonder if that is the case when the discovery of a young man’s body, in a Limehouse alley, plunges her into an underworld of opium dens, gambling, turf wars, protection rackets and murder.

As her investigations draw her into danger, it becomes increasingly clear that whoever is responsible intends to avoid the hangman’s noose by arranging to have May laid out on one of her own mortuary slabs.

In which our feisty heroine takes on chinese gangs, deals with drugs and more….

Hot on the heels of introductory novella The Last Post, comes Foul Trade the first of the May Keaps series.

It’s a highly atmospheric novel that uses all of your senses  to  envelope you in the richness and diversity of London in the ’20s,  and the attitudes of the day.  Attitudes which are often unacceptable to May, who will not let anyone talk down to her.

There is a lot going on in the book to keep you keen to turn pages with plenty interesting characters along the way.  It can be confusing at times to keep track, but that ensures that Foul Trade is action packed and thoroughly engrossing.

It’s another recommended book from me that you won’t want to put down.

 

A Geraldine Steel Top Ten, Celebrating Ten Geraldine Steels……

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TEN NOVELS SET IN YORKSHIRE THAT GERALDINE HAS READ

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
 To Catch A Rabbit- Helen Cadbury 
A Kestrel for a Knave – Barry Hines 
Billy Liar – Keith Waterhouse 
Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte 
Gallows View – Peter Robinson 
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Bronte 
Nicholas Nickleby- Dickens 
Under World- Reginald Hill 
The Amateur Historian Julian Cole

Detective Geraldine Steel is back in Class Murder – her tenth case!

With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.

When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, and reunited with her former sergeant Ian Peterson, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the baffling case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?

 

 

#BlogTour The Man Who Died – Antti Tuomainen

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A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. 



Darkly comic, The Man Who Died is a cracking one sitting read that will have you falling over yourself to decide what emotion you want to feel next…..