The Writing Process Blog Tour

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Hi, and welcome to the next stop in The Writing Process Blog Tour where writers answer four questions about their writing. I’d like to thank Caron Allan for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. You can find Caron’s blog at: http://www.caronallanfiction.wordpress.com and visit other writers by following the links in each stage of the blog tour.

I’m going to slightly detract from the standard format by sharing the blog stop with fellow author, Margaret Callow. As writers I think we’re allowed a bit of creative freedom. So without further ado, I’ll start with my part of the blog tour.

What are you working on?

I’m working on the sequel to My Big Greek Family. I have the next two books planned and they will continue not only the story of Georgina and her sisters, but also other members of the extended family. While I was writing the first book I realised that other characters had a story to tell, but there is only so much you can fit in one book.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

My writing loosely falls within commercial women’s fiction, but my characters are not the Bridget-Jones-type characters; they are different in that they are second-generation women with the added challenge of reconciling two cultures as they seek a new direction in their lives. They are often torn between family expectations and their own aspirations.

Why do you write what you do?

I was keen to write a light-hearted, entertaining story, from a different perspective and with a different voice. I wanted to create characters that more women can connect with, relate to and enjoy getting to know. My characters are still looking for romance, happiness and inner fulfilment, but their cultural background influences their choices. And of course, I enjoy writing what I do.

How does your writing process work?

My Big Greek Family started with a rough sketch of a fictional family tree. I then opened Word documents on each character, adding to it as I went along. Some characters took longer to develop whereas other characters, such as Harry, entered the story with great ease. I plan the chapters and work through each scene, using the notes I have accumulated. I make lots of notes, particularly when I’m travelling and always have a notebook in my bag. I never know when something will trigger my imagination; that is the advantage of being a dreamer – but it was a pain for my primary school teacher who had to move me from sitting by the window because I would look out daydreaming. Now I can make a career out of daydreaming and sharing my stories with readers. But it is hard work too, as all writers know.

You can find out more about my writing on my author website: http://www.mariaconstantineauthor.com

And now, it gives me great pleasure to introduce and share the post with Margaret Callow.

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Margaret Callow lives north of Norwich with her family. With a working life of a health professional, it was retirement, which finally offered the time to follow her lifelong interest in writing. It started with poetry going back many years. Much of it has been published, but a growing fascination for social history, particularly the lives of ordinary people developed. Her first novel, A Rebellious Oak, published in 2012 by Running Hare Press is the result. This has been followed by Of Wheat and War and A Pardon Too Few. All three books tell the story of early English rebellions, 1381 to 1549 and the part played in them by the working class. Rust, the fourth book based on a true story, comes nearer the present day and is a fictional account of the last man to hang in a public spectacle at Norwich Castle in 1849. All the books are now in the care of Holland House Books and hopefully Rust will be published this autumn.

What are you working on?

The editing of Rust with Holland House has been a long, but very worthwhile process. Now that is finished, there is the cover art to work on. It is also a time for a breather from all things literary for a little while or so I thought, but the urge to be creative runs deep. Currently I am working on a new book, historical fiction of course! The Norfolk countryside lends itself to telling stories so The Train Man is my WIP. It is coming along slowly, but once winter comes, I am sure it will take shape more quickly. It features a mansion in North Norfolk and its Victorian inhabitants with a scandalous tale to tell.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Our past is a never-ending pot-puree for the imagination of one who is fascinated by all that has gone before. Many established Historical Fiction writers choose the Tudor period to tell their stories and usually feature prominent personalities. However there is barely an important event in our history which, whilst having a leader, would also quickly flounder without the support of the common man. These are people who don’t have blue plaques on the wall, often have no known grave and barely a headstone. Some died ignobly, others hardly mourned, but without a doubt they changed the course of our history.

Why do you write what you do?

To dig deep into our past which I find almost obsessively fascinating. It really started when I decided to trace my roots and in doing so found that my great, great grandmother was a pauper inmate in a Shropshire workhouse in 1900. She lived there for seven hard years and died inside its forbidding walls at the age of seventy seven. In researching the events, I began looking at the register of inmates at that time. It made moving reading and I started to think, here were stories waiting to be told.

How does your writing process work?

Research, research and more research… I need to immerse myself in the stories, historical references and often eye-witness accounts of the time. Everything must be totally accurate. The earlier in history the events occurred, the harder it often is because good accounts were not kept or have perished over time. Then slowly the scenes are revealed to me in my mind. I do wonder sometimes if people think using true events gives the historical fiction writer a head start, but actually I think of it as a skeleton. The bones are the facts and the writer hangs the flesh. Since history often only provides basic information, creativity must work well in order that the reader gains knowledge, yet it is so skilfully interwoven that it is almost unnoticeable. At the same time providing the staples of good historical fiction – courage, fortitude, love and loyalty …

Margaret can be found on Facebook.

Finally, I would like to introduce George Polley who will be the next stop on the Blog Tour.

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George Polley began writing in the mid 1960s. His short stories and poems have been published in a number of literary magazines. Until early 2008, George Polley fit his writing around a busy mental health career, from which he retired at the end of 2007. From Seattle, Washington (US), he and his wife moved to Sapporo, Japan, in early 2008, where he writes full-time. His novella “The Old Man and The Monkey”, was published in 2010, and two novels, “Grandfather and The Raven” (2010) and “Bear”, a novel about a boy and his unusual dog, were published in 2010 and 2012. All are published by Taylor Street Publishing, San Francisco, California (US). He has recently completed “The City Has Many Faces, a novel of Mexico City and its people,” which he expects to submit to his publisher in early May.

You can learn more about George Polley’s writing on his websites: http://www.geogepolleyauthor.com and http://georgepolleywriter.wordpress.com/

The next stop on the Blog Tour will be at: http://www.geogepolleyauthor.com/ on 14th July where we’ll learn about George Polley’s writing process.

Thank you to all who have visited our blog tour and please share, leave comments and take part in whichever way you prefer.

2 Responses to The Writing Process Blog Tour

  1. Thanks for the post, Maria. Must yet connect to your Big Greek Family.

    Life’s demands, my slow reading, and the drive to polish my own projects for publication have made me self-centred. Any writers recognise this as necessity? If you cared for others all your working life that ruthlessness is hard to achieve.
    Good to know what Margaret Callow is up to. I came upon her writing on the Harper Collins Authonomy site, where she posted chapters of ‘A Rebellious Oak,’ which impressed me. Her passion to write about people who have – no known grave and barely a headstone – should take hold, I’m certain. It’s refreshing.

    George Polley, another unique writer. A wise man:)

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