Diary of a novelist – January 2022

Welcome to part 4 of my Diary of a Novelist series (catch up from part one here). Wow, the first 12th of the year has flown by! I haven’t worked on my manuscript at all but a writer’s life isn’t all about writing new books. Here’s what I’ve been up to. 

Week One

It’s time to take a deep breath and look at the first round of structural edits my editor is suggesting for my third Amelia Henley book which publishes this September. Structural edits look at the big picture, the structure of the story, the characters. It’s here that an editor will point out any things they don’t think are working and offer suggestions for improvement. My editor doesn’t mark-up areas of the manuscript for the first edit but provides a broad editorial letter with her thoughts. At this stage, although it’s rare, a publisher can reject a book for various reasons and the writer has to write something new. I don’t quite know how I’d cope with that! 

I’m nervous.

The letter begins.

“This is another deeply emotional novel. Your grasp of human emotion has always been wonderful and this story gives you many opportunities to flex those skills. I can already see readers will feedback how you brought them to tears”.

A sigh of relief that she doesn’t hate it. 

Then she covers my three main character points of view and my setting. There isn’t anything major to change. Just various points to revist and deepen the emotion. There is a suggestion to alter one of the characters motivation but I don’t immediately decide whether I want to do this. You don’t have to do everything an editor suggests, but I always listen and try everything before choosing what works and what doesn’t for me. Most of the suggestions made I will end up implementing but possibly not everything.

It’s been ten months since I finished this story and sent it off to her so the rest of the week is spent rereading and familiarising myself with the characters before making a list of what I want to tackle and in what order. I always do the largest things first. I LOVE a list.

Week Two

I’m at my desk by 8.30 every morning and work through until 5.30 with only a short break. I also work weekends. I don’t put in quite so many hours when writing a first draft but when I’m editing I like my head to stay in the story. 

I’d forgotten how much I love these three siblings, Charlie, Duke and Nina. It’s a real joy to be back with them again. 

By the end of the week I’ve tackled everything in the editorial letter, it’s already a much better book, but have decided not to take on board one of the suggestions. Now for a few days away from it.

Week Three

Launch week for my 7th psychological thriller ‘All For You’. (The eBook is just 99p) It’s been super busy. In the run up to publication day I’ve been posting competitions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I run a live launch party on Instagram and Facebook which is immense fun. I also do a live Q & A in the Fiction Café Facebook Group.

After a covid related delay it’s been wonderful to see my book on the shelves and learn that Fern Britton chose it for her book club pick for Tesco. Media reviews have been wonderful. It was also fabulous to get out for a celebratory meal with my husband.

‘A galloping pulse-pounder’ Heat

‘[A] gripping thriller . . . with perfectly observed emotions and red herrings that will boggle the mind’ Woman & Home

‘A full-blown, brilliantly plotted and written novel, with a clarity and originality that is wonderfully unique’ On magazine

‘A compelling page-turner’ Bella

‘Emotionally gripping & full of an underlying sense of unease. You’ll be left open mouthed by the turn of events’ Woman’s Weekly 

And so has reader feedback. I’m hugely grateful to everyone who has read, recommended and reviewed the story of the Walsh family and their dark, dark secret. 

Week Four

I read through my Amelia manuscript once more before I send it back to my editor and then it’s time for something completely different. 

I’ve begun a teacher training course in Shibashi Taichi Qigong, with Shamash Aladini, author of Mindfulness for Dummies, who I completed my mindfulness teacher training with many years ago.

After my first class I was super relaxed and went to the cinema with my son. Just as the film was about to start I had an idea for a new thriller I felt immediate excitement about. I wrote the prologue the second we got home. It’s got a great hook but as yet I don’t know what might happen but it will remain at the back of my mind until it begins to develop of its own accord. We saw Belfast btw. It was brilliant. 

The month ended with my US publisher sending me this super romantic cover for my Amelia Henley debut ‘ The Life We Almost Had’ which publishers in the US this summer!

New words written – 1500k for prologue of book I don’t have time to write!

Highs – Publication for my 7th thriller ‘All For You’!

‘All For You; is a Fern Britton pick!

First structural edit on my 3rd Amelia Henley book finished

Seeing my US cover!

Lows – Not working on my current wip

What I’m reading – Beyond Coincidences – Martin Plummer & Brian King 

What I’m watching – Yellowjackets – I’m obsessed!

Special offers – ‘All For You’ is just 99p across all digital platforms. Download from AmazonAppleKoboGoogle

Newsletter sign up – subscribe here and get two free short stories and access to exclusive giveaways.

Thanks so much for reading!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s