Tuesday 20 October 2015

How Avalon Saved Me

This week I started work on my 20th book. It feels like a bit of a milestone which had me thinking back to the first full length novel I ever wrote, First to Fall.

First to Fall will always be such a special book to me. Not only because it was my first but because of what it did for me. When I wrote the book I had quite literally been torn in half. I won't get in to the gruesome details but I had to take a year out of work to wait for my very broken little body to mend, not that there was any guarantee that it actually would.

It was a very dark and lonely time for me. I couldn't go out, I couldn't do anything. I had to be helped to even get out of bed or get out of a chair. I was twenty three and I felt lost. I needed to go somewhere. I needed to escape.

I'd been writing stories since I could first hold a pen but I never actually finished anything. Time never seemed to be on my side. I was either too busy getting my butt kicked by my illness or living life at full throttle during the rare moments when I was well. But suddenly time just loomed before me, an indefinite stretch as I waited for my body to sort itself out.

I took all my savings and bought a laptop. Then, for one hour each day I got my parents to wedge me up with some cushions behind me and I typed. I created Aiden Connelly, the hero of my story and together we discovered Avalon. I spent my days eager to get back to Aiden and his story. And after three months it was finished. Only I was still very much incomplete. So I wrote another book.

Eventually I healed completely and by that time I'd been well and truly bitten by the writing bug. I just couldn't stop. It became my sanctuary where I could slip away in to my world of make believe and forget all about my problems.

For me my books have always been about escape. And with my Avalon series I want other people to feel like they can escape there too. I absolutely love writing, it helped me heal in more ways than one. So now, working on my current book I can't help but think back to where it all began. I'll always love Avalon, and Aiden. And one day I will go back. That's a promise : )

Until then if you fancy visiting the town that helped save me a ticket is less than a pound at just £0.99. I love all my books but First to Fall will always be the one that got the ball rolling, the one which held me together when nothing else could : )



Monday 12 October 2015

Ah November and the return of NaNoWriMo

I know we are still in October but as things turn autumnal my mind starts to think about NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. The premise is just as the name suggests; write a book in a month. Or at least 50K words to be exact.

I did it last year. That book is currently with my agent and I'm crazy excited to share it with the wider world in the near future. And I'm all set for NaNoWriMo next month. My experience last year really helped me fine tune my writing and get used to working to really tight deadlines. I've planned out this year's project I now just need November to start so I can sit down and do it. Oh, and I also need to finish my current WIP before then...

If this is going to be your first NaNoWriMo then best of luck to you! And if you're back for another round then what's the matter with you? Gluten for punishment? ; ) In all seriousness it is a lot of fun and the camaraderie online during it all is insanely helpful and inspiring.

But, tips! Let me bestow on you some essential truths I've learned through being a writer...


It's a quick, easy satisfying meal. During November cereal in its variety of forms should become your best friend.


Comfort is key. If you're uncomfortable at your computer/typewriter/stone tablet, whatever you write on, you won't stay there long enough to hit your target if you're not super comfy. And warm. If you're in the UK like me then staying warm can be an issue. When I write I'm beneath a duvet and snuggled in my Jedi dressing gown. Yes, I totally do channel the force as I write especially during NaNoWriMo! : )


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Pick a daily target and then stick to it. No matter what! I don't care if the zombie apocalypse just broke out beneath your window. You need to get those words down dammit!

Just Write

Don't edit. Editing comes later. Accompanied by jelly babies (at least for me), lots and lots of jelly babies...


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If like me you're already in a relationship then I pity you. Because a spouse wants things, like your time. And time is something you just can't go giving away during NaNoWriMo! My advice during November; don't date. Just become a hermit. Live in your little writing cave and only surface to grab some cereal and an extra blanket.

But the most important thing of all is HAVE FUN. Because that's why we do this, right? Because we love it? NaNoWriMo is a great incentive to crank a book out in just a month, to do something you've always been meaning to get around to. But don't make yourself miserable. Write your book, have fun with it and then use December to recover and stuff your face with turkey when Christmas rolls around.

All images sourced online

Good luck everyone, happy writing!