7 JULY 2014; GERALDINE EVANS
Next stop in the Writing Process Blog Tour
Crime fiction author, Jayne-Marie Barker (www.jaynemariebarker.blogspot.co.uk) invited me to participate in an interesting blog tour on writing. Jayne-Marie, who featured on this Blog Hop on her own blog last week, has written a first crime thriller series with the unique Inspector Allen, but she’s working on a new series now, featuring DI Rachel Bennett. Newly promoted to the rank of DI, Rachel has her work cut out leading a new team, dealing with a husband whose profession puts him in a dangerous place, not to mention the cases she must handle, and the mysterious deaths she must solve. Jayne-Marie’s first novel is completed but it hasn’t hit the bookshelves yet. Books two and three in the series are under construction. She’s also working on the outline for book two in more detail. Busy lady!
Like many authors, Jayne-Marie feels her writing is an obsession. I understand where she’s coming from, because if writing wasn’t an obsession how many authors would continue in the face of poverty pay and years of rejections? Only obsession can cut it. Jayne-Marie is an interesting new entrant on the crime shelves. I hope you’ll look out for her books Distant Shadows and Beneath the Daisies.
Now, back to ‘me, me, me’! -To tell you something about myself, I’m Geraldine Evans, a trad-turned-indie author of the 15-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn procedural series amongst others. After having eighteen novels published in the usual way (Macmillan, St Martin’s Press, Worldwide, Hale, Severn House), in the autumn of 2010, I took the indie plunge and became entirely responsible for the publication process of my work.
In order of publication (but can be read as stand-alones), my Rafferty & Llewellyn series consists of the following: Dead Before Morning, Down Among the Dead Men, Death Line, The Hanging Tree, Absolute Poison, Dying For You, Bad Blood, Love Lies Bleeding, Blood on the Bones, A Thrust to the Vitals, Death Dues, All the Lonely People, Death Dance, Deadly Reunion and Kith and Kill. My other procedural series is. Casey & Catt: Up in Flames and A Killing Karma.
I’m also the author of the biographical historical novel: Reluctant Queen, about Mary Rose Tudor, the little sister of infamous English king, Henry VIII, a suspense-thriller: The Egg Factory, and several other fiction and non-fiction books, some under pen-names.
To carry on this great tour, please find my four question responses below.
What are you working on?
I’m working on the 16th novel in my Rafferty & Llewellyn mystery series. Asking For It involves yet more murder and family mayhem for my Detective Joe Rafferty. I’ve also just started the research for another long biographical historical, my second, this time set in England’s Plantagenet era.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
They’re fun! To write and, I hope, to read. There’s no relentless concentration on just the hunt for a murderer. With his selectively law-abiding family, my detective, Joe Rafferty can rarely give his entire mind to the latest investigation. He’s not always lucky enough to avoid bending the law himself. I think of my Rafferty books with the tag line:
As a policeman, his family is Rafferty’s curse. Most of them think – if they must have a copper in the family – he might at least have the decency to be a bent one.
It’s not that his close family members are major law-breakers. But they are inclined to bend what they regard as the ‘little’ laws—laws unimportant in the great scheme of things. Like Ma Rafferty’s dodgy ‘bargains’, for instance. Only, sometimes, these bargains are stacked halfway to the ceiling of the spare room. In Rafferty’s mind, she’s practically the neighbourhood fence and he spends half his time waiting for the knock on the door.
His Ma, who’s a past master at getting her own way, is not averse to using emotional blackmail to make Rafferty feel guilty when he upbraids her (mothers’ use of emotional blackmail: worthy of a blog post on its own!). ‘It’s only trying to eke out my pension that I’m doing,’ she’ll tell him. ‘Sure and amn’t I a poor widow with a roof to keep over my head and food to put on the table? Would you have me starve?’
Why do you write what you do?
I write what I do because I enjoy it. The sub-plot mayhem provides another strand to take me away from the main murder thread when plotting problems paralyze my brain. Concentrating for a while on problems in the sub-plot generally helps me find a solution in the actual murder investigation.
My books are set in Essex in England. The expression ‘Essex Man’ (and ‘Girl’) is a derogatory term used by the middle-classes for those they consider their moral, social and educational inferiors. And with their dodgy deals, lack of further education, bingo and ‘bargain’ buys, the Rafferty family in many ways epitomise the breed. But I wanted to write about ‘real’ people and not add to the world’s collection of crime novels about staid, morally upright, middle-class detectives. I wanted to throw a few fireworks in there. Joe Rafferty spends his life, as the saying goes, between a rock and a hard place. Besides, I thought I’d enjoy creating a policeman caught in a permanently family created dilemma. And you know what? I was right!
And when you consider that, historically, the police force was always the career of the working-classes, I believe, in my DI Joe Rafferty, I’m spot on.
How does your writing process work?
My writing process differs greatly, depending on whether I’m writing another Rafferty & Llewellyn, Casey & Catt mystery or a biographical historical novel. With the latter, I find it essential to have a clear, year on year timeline of the events in my character’s life and the world at large.
But, for my Rafferty novels, I’ve always been very much a ‘seat of pants’ writer. I still strive, periodically, to force myself to make a plan for these, but even when I manage it, the plan rarely amounts to much. Anyway, plans make the writing such a dull plod through a ‘do this and then do that’ list that, if I didn’t end up ignoring it, it would suck all the life from my writing and the fun from the work.
My Rafferty books have a lot of humour in them and require me to let my brain have plenty of freedom. I don’t like feeling ‘caged-in’ by some rigid outline. Yes, I know you can write against the outline if that’s the way the characters demand to go. But then, what’s the point in writing the blessed outline in the first place, if you’re just going to ignore it?
So, with, often, just a single idea in my head, I tend to dive in and trust to native wit and ingenuity to get me out of any plotting scrapes in my crime novels. I’ve managed it eighteen times so far (including one stand-alone and the two books in my Casey & Catt series), so I remain optimistic that the seat of my pants won’t get singed.
On with the tour
UPDATE: Stroke of luck! the lovely and talented crime author Leigh Russell, has agreed to be one of the two authors to follow me on this Author Process Blog Hop. She’ll post, answering the same four questions, on her own blog on Monday 14 July 2014 (here’s the link to Leigh’swebsite: http://www.leighrussell.co.uk/. And here’s the link to her blog: http://leighrussell.blogspot.co.uk/)
Leigh is the highly successful author of the Geraldine Steel series. She is a No 1 Best Seller on Amazon’s Kindle and her awards include the following:
Cut Short was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood DaggerAward 2010. Stop Dead was a Finalist for The People’s Book Prize 2014. And now the Geraldine Steel series and Ian Peterson spin off series have been optioned by Avalon Television Ltd to be made into a TV series. How exciting! Congratulations on that, Leigh!
Leigh’s other books include: Fatal Act, Stop Dead, Death Bed, Cold Sacrifice, Road , Dead End and Cut Short.
Leigh’s next novel is the second DS Ian Peterson Murder Investigation, entitled Race to Death, to be published September 2014 (available for pre-order). But the digital edition is available now.
Here are some buy links:
AMAZON UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Race-Death-Ian-Peterson-novel-ebook/dp/B00J75NBJ6/pocketessentials,
I’m afraid I have a confession to make here. I’ve asked various authors to take part in the tour, but, so far, I’ve had no takers (holidays, other commitments, the usual stuff in busy lives). But I hope to update this post before the end of the week with news of the next authors on the tour. Watch this space!
GERALDINE EVANS’S LINKS:
Author Website: http://geraldineevansbooks.com
NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP LINK FOR NEW RELEASES, BARGAIN BUYS AND FREE PROMOTIONS: http://eepurl.com/AKjSj
AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/15LoZHh
AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/X3xCIj
BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/geraldine-evans
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