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Opening Lines: Be Careful What Your Wish For by Lynne North

Posted by on Jul 19th, 2018 in Blog, Books For Children, Fantasy, Fiction, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog | 0 comments

It’s Opening Lines time again! This week I’m welcoming Lynne North to my blog with the first 500 words (exactly) of her children’s novel, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For.’ Let’s dive in…   First 500 words of ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ Finn O’Shea ran as if his life depended on it. This time he thought it might. He squelched along at a gallop, soaked through by the pouring rain that had begun suddenly when he was at the greatest possible distance from home. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Finn groaned when he saw the first flash of lightning. “Oh no!” he said to the dark sky above him. Lightening wasn’t good. It always chased him. The saying about lightning never striking twice in the same place had been proved wrong by Finn countless times. No matter how he zigged and zagged through the village in stormy weather, the black clouds dogged his footsteps and threw their bolts right at him. They were more used to zigging and zagging than he was, so they usually won. He had only been knocked out once, but he’d had so many jolts he sometimes wondered why he didn’t light up at night. He veered right, narrowly missed by an almighty flash, then leapt over a huge puddle that threw itself into his path. The lightning had another try to the left, but Finn’s nifty dodge and scream still had him pelting for home. He could see the green front door ahead inviting him to safety. The sight gave him the extra strength to pound his feet, leap and dodge and fling himself head first through the unlocked door. It bashed against the wall with an alarming thump as Finn bent double, his hands on his knees, dripping water all over the hallway and gasping for breath. Finn’s mum appeared, a shocked look on her face. She stared at Finn, then at the open door beyond him. “Oh, lightning again,” was all she said. She walked past him and closed the door, then added, “Go and get changed, then bring your wet clothes down.” As Finn took off his soaked pants and top he thought about his attraction for lightning bolts. They didn’t aim for anyone else in the village, so why him? Once he was dry and his mum had taken his dirty, wet clothes away, he asked, “Why me, Mum? Leprechauns are supposed to be lucky. I thought we were born that way. What happened to me?” His mum handed him a warm drink and sighed. “Well, we’re not exactly all born lucky,” she began, “though I’m not sure the Fates smiled on you at all when you were born. It was more like they had a good laugh at your expense. Your first view of the world was upside down when Mrs Ahearne, the midwife, dropped you on your head. I don’t think it did you any harm though.” Finn rubbed his head, just thinking about it. His mum continued. “Contrary to popular belief, leprechauns aren’t born lucky. Fortune is a blessing bestowed by the Good Luck Fairy, providing she’s in an agreeable mood, and more to the point, as long as she’s there.” Finn frowned. His mum wasn’t making any sense… Blurb Be Careful What You...

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An Artisan Lovestyle: A Few of Our Favourite Things

Posted by on Jul 17th, 2018 in Blog, competition, Jenny Kane, Romance | 0 comments

Today I’m delighted to be hosting Kiltie Jackson on my blog today as part of her blog tour. Why not get comfortable, put your feet up and listen in as good friends Sukie and Elsa get chatty… Good morning Readers, I hope you are all well. Today, I am joined by Sukie and Elsa – the leading ladies from ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ and ‘An Artisan Lovestyle’. Sukie and Elsa have been best friends since they first met at the age of seven. This does not necessarily mean they share the same views and so I thought I would ask them a few questions to see how they ‘rock ‘n’ roll’! Ladies, what is your favourite Animal? Sukie – Cats! Definitely cats! I do love all animals but my two boys, Tony and Adam, are the best. They are my world and I adore them. Elsa – Dogs! Definitely dogs! Like Sukie, I also adore all animals but my dog Puddle is very loving and he has helped me through some very hard times. What about TV shows? Do you watch much TV? Elsa – I enjoy crime dramas. NCIS is a must-see and I’m also rather partial to CSI too. The New York one was my favourite. I’m not really one for watching soaps – they’re far too morose. Sukie – I love The Big Bang Theory! Sheldon Cooper totally rocks! He’s amazing. My other must see is Outlander. All those men in kilts… Bring them on! Elsa – Oh yes, I agree! Outlander is fantastic. Give me a bit of Jamie Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser any day! Sukie – As you can see, Elsa’s a fan! (laughs) Now tell me about your favourite films. Elsa – (groans) Seriously? Did you have to ask that one? Sukie – (laughing) My favourite film is The Sound of Music and Elsa has grown up being bored silly over my obsession with it. I finally got to visit Salzburg a few years ago and it is the most wonderful place on earth. I love it! Elsa – Bored doesn’t even begin to cover it! (She rolls her eyes!) My personal favourite is Love Actually. The way Richard Curtis managed to weave all the stories together is fabulous. It always makes me smile. I can watch it any time, not just at Christmas. Ok, I think we shall move swiftly onto your favourite meal? Sukie – Pasta! Anything Italian works for me although pasta based is my number one choice. When I visited Venice, I had the pleasure of eating freshly made pasta in a small, outdoor, sunlit, courtyard and it was quite an experience. Elsa – Chinese food! It has been since I was a kid. I have tried a number of different dishes but I confess I always end up going back to Sweet and Sour Chicken. Not the balls in batter, they’re bleugh! (She pulls a face.) No, I much prefer the chicken cooked in the sauce. My local restaurant calls it Cantonese style. And do you both do desserts? Sukie – I have to confess that I am a bit of an ice-cream fiend! My favourite is rum ‘n’ raisin but I will eat most flavours. Even in the middle of winter, I will still eat it! Elsa...

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Opening Lines: The Wedding Date with Zara Stoneley

Posted by on Jul 12th, 2018 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, Contemporary Romantic Fiction, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog, Romance | 1 comment

It’s ‘Opening Lines’ time. Today I’m welcoming Zara Stoneley to my site to share the first 500 words (exactly) of her romantic comedy, The Wedding Date. So, put your feet up for five minutes, find some shade and have a read. Blurb- THE WEDDING DATE One ex. One wedding. One little white lie. When Samantha Jenkins is asked to be the maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding, she couldn’t be happier. There are just three problems… 1) Sam’s ex-boyfriend, Liam, will be the best man. 2) His new girlfriend is pregnant. 3) Sam might have told people she has a new man when she doesn’t (see points 1 and 2 above) So, Sam does the only sensible thing available to her… and hires a professional to do the job. Actor Jake Porter is perfect for the role: single, gorgeous and cheap! Sam is certain it’s the perfect solution: no strings, no heartbreak and hopefully no chance of being found out. But spending a week in the Scottish Highlands with Jake is harder than she imagined. He is the perfect boyfriend, charming, sexy and the hottest thing in a kilt since Outlander! And his dog Harry is quite possibly the cutest things Sam has ever seen! As the wedding draws closer, Jake plays his part to perfection and everyone believes he is madly in love with Sam. The problem is, Sam’s not sure if Jake is acting anymore… First 500 words of ‘THE WEDDING DATE’  ACT 1 – THE INVITE Chapter 1 Reasons I, Sam Jenkins, cannot go to this wedding: I’m too fat, and just don’t have time to get down to a look-okay-in-a-posh-summer-frock weight. Lemon is so not my colour (which is the colour theme – Jess knows my aversion to over the top dresses and so has gone for a theme rather than providing the type of dress she loves and I hate). Mum says it drains me. I have far too much work to do. And house-cleaning, and gardening. I don’t have a date. The last man I dated ripped my heart out, stamped on it and is going to be the best man. Reasons I have to go to this wedding. Jess was is my best friend. I could add ‘and my hair looks crap’ but that one is easily handled. Much more easily handled than losing the chocolate-cake-and-chips stone in weight that has very comfortably settled itself round my stomach like an unwelcome lodger who intends to stay. Healthy food is on my to-do list, it just hasn’t made it on to my shopping list yet. I mean, you have to prioritise, don’t you? And I’m not quite ready. Now don’t get me wrong, I can be pretty determined when I want to be, and show amazing self-control (last summer I lost 5 lb in weight the week before we went away, which meant the 7 lb I put on during the week was totally acceptable), but there are times in life when only a super-size bag of crisps and a bottle of wine will do, and the last few months has been one of those times. It has also been a time for espresso martinis and bumper bags of gin and tonic popcorn. I was dumped, and now this. A wedding...

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Opening Lines: Counterfeit! by Elizabeth Ducie

Posted by on Jul 5th, 2018 in Blog, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog | 0 comments

‘Opening Lines’ time is upon us! This week I’m delighted to welcome the multi-talented Elizabeth Ducie to my blog to share the first 500 words from her thriller, Counterfeit! Over to you Elizabeth…   Before I started writing fiction, I spent more than thirty years in the sometimes murky world of international pharmaceuticals. I visited more than fifty countries, many of them in less-developed parts of the world. Much of my fiction starts with a location and expands to characters and their stories. Counterfeit!, which was published in 2016, began life as a 6K word short story assignment during my MA at Exeter University. Later, I expanded it into a thriller featuring three storng female protagonists (having been influenced by The Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson). I thought it was going to be a standalone novel, but as soon as I wrote the closing line, I knew it was just the start of a series. The follow-ow, Deception!, came out in 2017 and the final part of the series, Corruption!, is due out this September.  Although the storyline is fictional, some of the events, espeically in Counterfeit! are based on real situations and conversations. Blurb Fake medicine kills. No-one is safe.Regulator Suzanne Jones’ mission to stop counterfeiting in Africa becomes personal when a colleague buys a bottle of fake cough syrup with tragic consequences. But her investigations bring danger ever closer. In Uganda a factory burns; Suzanne’s friend goes missing; and in Swaziland and Zambia, children die. Who is supplying the fake drugs? What is the Eastern European connection? Can Suzanne stop the counterfeiters before more people die?  *** First 500 words of Counterfeit! Zambia; December 2003 Kabwe Mazoka walks up the hill, scuffing his feet in the rutted and baked red earth. It’s been dry for months, but today thick clouds mask the sun and when the rains come, this will be a water course, pouring mud and stinking filth into the main street below. He turns through a broken-down gate and walks across the yard. A mangy dog, tied with rope to a ring on the fence, jumps to its feet yelping before sinking back on its haunches, eyeing him warily. The building was painted white once. Pale flakes cluster around rusty lines where the reinforcing bars are breaking through the pitted concrete. In the single row of windows running below the flat roof, most of the panes of glass are missing. A line of women sit in the dirt against the wall, taking advantage of the shade from the over-hanging roof. As Kabwe unlocks the shiny new padlock on the door, they rise and slowly follow him into the building. The first raindrops splash into the dust. The downpour hits the corrugated iron roof like stones from an angry crowd. Kabwe uses a metal pole to stir the thick, creamy liquid in the cleaned-out oil drum. The men were coming back today, bringing brightly coloured labels and delivery instructions. They would be cross if the bottles weren’t filled ready for labelling and packing. He didn’t want them to be cross again. They’d been cross when he suggested testing the ingredients before making the medicine. They showed him pieces of paper with green stickers and words in another language. They told him to ‘just get...

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Edward’s Outlaw: and the winner is…

Posted by on Jul 3rd, 2018 in Blog, crime, Fiction, Historical fiction, history, Jennifer Ash, medieval, News | 0 comments

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have recently been running a competition- with the support of my lovely publishers, Littwitz Press- to find a name for one of the characters in the forthcoming novel, Edwards’ Outlaw. This, the third book in The Folville Chronicles, will be published just in time for Christmas. I was overwhelmed with name ideas- for which I am very grateful. It has been a lot of fun going through the suggestions. A few of the names you lovely folk up with already belonged to characters in the book. For example, Barnaby Eaton-Jones suggested Bella (after a cat!)- a name which already features strongly throughout the novel. Before I tell you the name I did pick- and the winner- I’ll tell you a little about the character. She’s a young maid in Rockingham castle. The year is 1331- just. It’s early January, the winter is biting, and Mathilda de Folville is in the castle- so trouble isn’t far behind. Within only a few hours of Mathilda arriving, one of the young maids friend is dead…She and Mathilda need to work fast to find out what is going on. So- what’s this brave young woman’s name? It’s Bettrys- and it’s an old Latin and Welsh name meaning ‘Bringer of Joy.’ Over the centuries the name has developed into the more popular, Beatrice. Bettrys is 16 years old and doesn’t remember her parents, although she knows her mother was Welsh. *** Many thanks to Chris Averiss for this excellent suggestion. Edwards’ Outlaw will be dedicated to you- and Bettrys will be one of its stars. Right then – I’d better get writing, or Edward’s Outlaw will never be ready in time to feature in your Christmas stocking! Happy reading, Jen xx           Share...

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End of the Month: Cheerio June with Nell Peters

Posted by on Jun 30th, 2018 in Blog, End of Month | 5 comments

June seems to be all but over? Anyone notice that happen? Nope? Nor me..I was probably in a dark corner somewhere writing a book… Everyone ready? Got coffee, tea and cake? Great, let’s hand over to Nell.  Morning all – I trust this finds you in fine fettle? If it’s OK with Jenny, we’ll dive straight in shall we? Two American professional wrestlers were born on this day in 1891. Frank Simmons Leavitt was born in New York City to parents, John McKenney and Henrietta (née Decker) Leavitt. He tried out various wrestling names for size: Soldier Leavitt (when he was on active duty both at the Mexican border and in France), Hell’s Kitchen Bill-Bill and Stone Mountain, before adopting Man Mountain Dean after meeting his wife, Doris Dean. I don’t know about mountainous, but at 5’11” and 310lbs, he wasn’t a small guy… As well as his wrestling career, he worked as a stunt double, appeared as himself in five films and studied journalism at the University of Georgia. He died of a heart attack, aged sixty-one. Sharing his date of birth was Robert Herman Julius Friedrich, born in Wisconsin. Friedrich began wrestling at the age of fourteen using the ring name Ed Lewis but was subsequently known as the rather more sinister Ed Strangler Lewis after a match in France where he applied a sleeper hold, and the French, who were unfamiliar with the manoeuvre, thought he was strangling his opponent. Call me picky, but that doesn’t sound very sporting. A four-time World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, he semi-retired in 1935 but returned to the ring seven years later, despite being legally blind from trachoma. It was another five years before he fully retired from the professional circuit aged fifty-seven, and he died destitute in New York in 1966. Ah bless. Two more American wrestlers were born on June 30th – in 1985 Cody Garrett Runnels (now known as Cody Rhodes, or The American Nightmare) checked into Marietta, Georgia. He followed in his father – Virgil Riley Runnels Junior, better known as The American Dream (I see what they did there!) or Dusty Rhodes – and his older half-brother Goldust’s footsteps, into the professional ranks of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE). Cody’s godfather, Terry Wayne Allan is a retired pro wrestler who fought under the name of Magnum TA – so, it seems an aptitude for the sport and coming up with creative ring names are family traits. Incidentally, Cody is also an ‘occasional’ actor (whatever that means – maybe he appears annually as the Easter Bunny, the Grim Reaper on Halloween, or even Poldark’s shirt?) and this wrestling/acting combination, with a bit of modelling thrown in, has also been embraced by one Victoria Elizabeth Crawford (ring name Alicia Fox), born on this day in 1986 in Florida. She is the longest tenured WWE female performer, having been with the company since 2006. Step into the ring – the boxing type this time – heavyweight fighter, ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior, which he denounced as his slave name) who defeated Joe Bugner in Malaysia on 30th June 1975. Presumably he floated like a butterfly, stung like a bee? Clay’s name change came about when he converted to Islam, as did Michael Gerard Tyson, who...

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Opening Lines: Jane Risdon’s Renza’s Diary (Only One Woman)

Posted by on Jun 28th, 2018 in Blog, Fiction, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog, Romance | 3 comments

I am delighted to welcome the lovely Jane Risdon to my blog, with her ‘Opening Lines’ from Only One Woman. Written in tandem with Christina Jones, Jane is sharing the first 500 words from her part of the story, Renza’s Diary. Over to you Jane…  It is 1968 and Renza is about to go to Germany with her family, joining her father who is working there with the MoD. She’s facing 3 years overseas and isn’t happy. Scott and his band, Narnia’s Children, move next door to her. They are over from the Channel Islands to tour and record their first single. It is love at first sight but it is short-lived. Vowing undying love and secretly becoming engaged, Renza leaves for Germany within weeks, Scott believes the band will be in Germany soon and they can meet up. Renza promises to come back to England as often as she can. Narnia’s Children tour up and down the country and one night they take the stage at St. Barnaby’s Hall where he sets eyes on Stella who has only days to live, she is convinced. Set in the UK music scene of the late 1960’s Only One Woman is sheer nostalgia: the music, fashions, the changing society of the Swinging Sixties, the Cold War, and so much more – a love triangle set in Europe, the Mediterranean, Jersey and England in the grooviest decade of the 20th century by Christina Jones and Jane Risdon. First 500 words from Renza’s Diary (Only One Woman) May 24th 1968 – late What a flipping nightmare of an evening. I really thought I’d never get home in one piece. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Someone up there hates me I’m sure. If only Selina hadn’t lost her handbag at the Top Rank, I’d have caught the last bus back from Reading and I would’ve been home on time. Instead I’d gone back with the others to look for it – thankfully it had been handed in at the cloakroom and nothing was missing. Luckily I had just enough money for the train, which I’d had to run for. Selina’s dad took the others home in his brand new car as arranged, and there wasn’t room for me as well. I reckon he could’ve taken me but Yvette refused to let me sit on her lap in the front, in case I ripped her Mary Quant stockings. Sometimes I really want to do her a mischief. They’ve got to do something about our local station, it’s just too creepy for words. Steam from the train almost suffocated me as I crossed the bridge to the exit on the opposite platform; all very ‘Brief Encounter’ I remember thinking, in an effort to stop my mind wandering off into ‘Hitchcock-land.’ Talk about cough myself silly, and my eyes stung something rotten as I tried to find my way in the pitch black; the two over-head lamps didn’t help much, they should do something about those flipping lights, I could’ve broken my neck, or even worse, tripped over in my new pink kitten heels and broken one of them. I slowly took the steps down to the lane beside the station, glancing around me all the while – I admit it, I was a little...

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Competition: Name a character in Edward’s Outlaw!

Posted by on Jun 22nd, 2018 in Blog, competition, crime, Fiction, Historical fiction, history, Jennifer Ash, News, Romance | 1 comment

Book Three of The Folville Chronicles is almost fully drafted. Continuing the story of potter’s daughter, Mathilda of Twyford, Edward’s Outlaw, takes her away from Ashby-Folville manor and into the dark shadows of Rockingham Castle…a well known haunt of felons on the run from the law… Before I can finish my story however, I need your help. Help me find a female name for one of my characters. This is your chance to have your name, a favourite name or a loved one’s name, featured in a novel. Should the name you suggest be chosen, then, not only will it be used in the book, but Edwards’ Outlaw will also be dedicated to you. I’d love you to pick a name for me! Remember that the book is set in the fourteenth century- so no Kylie’s or Chardonnay’s please. Otherwise, all you need to do is leave your chosen female name on this thread (via my publisher’s Facebook event page) https://www.facebook.com/events/387647131739270/ In the meantime, why not have a peep at Books’ One and Two… Good luck!! The competition closes on 30th June. Jennifer xx   Share...

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Opening Lines: Simon Farrant’s Famously Ordinary

Posted by on Jun 21st, 2018 in Blog, Fiction, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog, thriller | Comments Off on Opening Lines: Simon Farrant’s Famously Ordinary

Opening Line’s blog day is upon us. Today, Simon Farrant is joining me to share the first 500 words from his very first novella, Famously Ordinary. Over to you Simon…   Hello! I’m Simon Farrant, and this is my submission for the great 500 words blog. I haven’t heard of this concept before and I think it is intriguing. I hope that you enjoy the excerpt! My book is called Famously Ordinary about a man called James Dean! Many years ago I met a young man called James Dean while I worked in a mobile phone shop. I wondered what it would be like to have the name of a famous person. Of course, being British, I didn’t ask him. Fast forward to last year, and I started to write stories. The young man came back to mind; I wanted to write a horror short story for an anthology. As it happened, the anthology never came about. This was good news for me in an unexpected way because a year later I rejigged the story and this novella was born. I hope that you enjoy it! The Blurb: ‘James Dean is an ordinary man with a famous name. But when he sees his father die in a traumatic car crash, something in James’ subconscious snaps with lethal consequences. Caught in the perfect storm of grief and anger, James has blood on his hands. With the famous name weighing heavily on his subconscious mind, will his conscious mind be able to save him from himself?‘ *** The First 500 words: James Dean hated his name. Several times a week he thought about why he didn’t have a regular name. James blamed his father; he more than likely took charge of naming him. Like most things in his parents’ relationship, his father liked to think he was ‘the man of the house’ and dominated all the decisions. He decided what companies to use for utilities, and everything else. Denise sometimes asked to be more involved, but she got nowhere. Dean Dean, his father, was hung up on his name, but unlike his son, he tried to not let it show to the outside world. Being from an older generation, it wasn’t the done thing to let your emotions shine through. James survived school and college unscathed; youthful ignorance meant most of the kids didn’t connect to the movie star, and those who did thought having the same name as a famous person was cool. Still, he had a lot to be happy and content about. James had a nice job in the same warehouse his father worked in that paid well, a nice car he had chosen because it was what he wanted rather than just being what he was able to afford after scraping the money together to buy it, and a nice detached house with an integral garage. He could buy nice new clothes as and when he wanted, which he was grateful for because he didn’t like to wear the same clothes repeatedly. Nice. Such a small word, James thought, but damning by faint praise. James believed his life was normal, like other successful people. Yet he aspired to be something more. His mind was always on fast forward, daydreaming. He was fascinated by the adverts on television...

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Interview with Julie Ryan: Going Greek

Posted by on Jun 19th, 2018 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, Contemporary Romantic Fiction, Fiction, Interview, Jenny Kane, Romance | 2 comments

I’m delighted to welcome Julie Ryan to my place today. We are chatting fiction, the Greek Islands and romance. Grab a cuppa and come and join in! What inspired you to write your book? I lived in Greece in my twenties but it wasn’t until I was at home in Gloucestershire years later that I idly began to wonder how my life would have been different if I’d stayed there. I began writing what I thought would be a short story but ‘Jenna’s Journey’ took on a life of its own. I love the idea of ‘What if..?” and gave my book a kind of ‘sliding doors’ double ending. Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters? A lot of my friends look at my characters to see if they can see themselves in my books. The truth is I may take an element from someone I know and then mix it with the looks of a person I’ve seen on TV and the voice of someone I overheard on the bus. I don’t consciously base my characters on anyone I know but if you look closely enough you may find just a little bit of you in there. What type of research did you have to do for your book? I chose to base my book on what I know so that’s why it’s set in Greece in 1987. I didn’t have the opportunity to go back and see how Greece has changed so I deliberately set the story on a fictional island. I did do a lot of online research into Greek customs as well as getting out all my old photos and a map of Athens from the period. I think setting it during the time I lived there gives the book a sense of authenticity that I wouldn’t have got by just Googling it. Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why? It really depends. I chose third person for most of Jenna’s Journey but sometimes find myself using first person too. The characters and storyline usually decide for me as I often find that I need to switch person if it’s just not working. Third person is useful as the narrator can tell the overall story from different characters’ points of view, whereas first person means you are usually limited to just one character. Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow? I like to have a general idea of where the story ends and then throw in a few characters and a setting and see where it takes me. I can’t possibly plan out all the novel in detail chapter by chapter as it wouldn’t be a surprise to me either. I rather like not knowing where the story is going but it does mean a lot of revisions! What is your writing regime? I write when I can and wherever I can. In practice this usually means in the morning at my dining room table once my son has gone to school. I fit it around teaching and am lucky that I work from home. As I’m nearing the end I may take my laptop to bed and write for an...

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