The Writing Process Blog Tour: today it is my turn
Author Jane Dougherty
has very kindly included me in her Writing Process Blog Tour.
Thanks so much for thinking of me Jane, I really appreciate it.
She has asked me to answer some questions about my writing and would like me to pass the baton on to four other authors I know.
Question 1: What are you working on now?
How long have you got Jane? I am up to my ears in various projects which I’ve written about on my blog from time to time but here goes (again):
Ms Birdsong Investigates (novel):
My Crime/Mystery novel (and eventual series) Ms Birdsong Investigates is my on-going project which I began a while back.
Lavinia Birdsong is a former MI5 Officer who ‘retired’ from her post under somewhat difficult circumstances and has taken up residence in an Oxfordshire village, Ampney Parva, on the Berkshire Downs not far from the famous White Horse.
She has hidden herself away not wishing to be found by friends and ex-colleagues and especially her enemies.
She has taken up writing to pass the time and cannot help keeping her neighbours under surveillance – old habits die-hard – and soon she finds herself investigating murder in the village.
Whilst I am working on the main novel about Ms B. I have managed – accidentally somehow – to have also written two stand-alone stories involving her:
Murder at the Observatory (short story):
Inspired by my birthday ‘jolly’ when I had a marvellous time at The Herstmonceux Observatory in Sussex.
The Safe House (short story):
Inspired by the venue for a family wedding last year and the ‘secret’ history I uncovered there.
In addition to these stories I have various projects underway including short stories and a couple of novels:
I am writing a novel with a really good friend of many years who is an award-winning author in her own right. Our book is an escape from our respective comfort-zones and for the moment it has a working title of OOW.
The book is written from the POV of two women in the late 1960’s so there’s lots of music and fashion and captures the atmosphere of the time.
It is taking a little longer than we both planned due both of us suffering health-wise – but we are determined to get there. My contribution is complete.
Then there is:
God’s Waiting Room (series):
For the last couple of years I have been working on a series of stories which I hope will make several books when completed, called God’s Waiting Room.
This series is not a Crime or Mystery series, but what I call ‘Observational’ stories with a lot of humour. .
The series is almost complete and I shall have to get down to some serious editing soon.
GWR (God’s Waiting Room) is based on real life people I’ve met and about whom I’ve heard stories over the years from various relations and villagers, and the incidents I mention are all true – well, as true as any tale told to a queue at a bus stop mainly consisting of those in their 80’s and 90’s who have known each other all their lives.
So you see I am working on various other stories and novels as well as others not mentioned here. If interested do please refer to my previous posts for information. Otherwise we’ll be here all day.
Question 2: How does your work differ from others of its genre?
This is a hard one to answer. I consider myself a Crime/Mystery writer first and foremost but I do venture into other areas as and when the need to write a particular story grabs me and won’t let go.
When I am wearing my Crime/Mystery writer hat I suppose I think my work is different from others in that a lot of my writing has elements of humour in it and often my characters are often based on real people – I am not sure if other writers have personal experience of some of their characters – not that I’m saying I know murderers or anyone like that of course, but I do see the dark side of people and use these elements in my work.
I’ve some small knowledge of the world of secrets so I do use what little I know to try to come up with stories with some sort of espionage angle; hence Ms Birdsong is a retired MI5 Officer.
I cannot say that I am reinventing the wheel however.
Those who read my work will notice that I do love a twist in the tale and so I hope (I aim) to keep people guessing or at least going the wrong way with a few red herrings along the way.
Most of the characters in my other genres are based on real people too – I mentioned God’s Waiting Room earlier as an example.
OOW is a very real story based on real events and told from the perspective of the two women whose lives are intertwined from their teens onwards.
I don’t know if anything quite like this has been attempted before. I’ve not read anything like it.
Both of us being involved closely in Music and sharing similar experiences has made this book a joy for us to write in many ways; music and fashion and the flavour of the 60’s resonates throughout.
Question 3: Why do you write what you write?
I really don’t know.
I’ve always wanted to write but having spent so many years working in Music and before that working in the Diplomatic Service, I never found time to really get down to it.
When I was working with musicians and songwriters and producers life was not my own.
If I wasn’t in a studio recording I was travelling on behalf of the artists we represented or on gruelling tours around the world, barely able to put one foot in front of the other most of the time.
It was never 9am-5pm; weekends didn’t exist and we never had holidays.
I did however store away little snippets of information and experiences for a later date when I had time to myself.
When that day came I found myself honing in on those experiences which, believe me, didn’t just include music and all that involved.
So much more goes on which would make the average person’s hair stand on end I am sure.
Where there is raw hunger for success and the possibility to make vast wealth, well, you can guess what might happen.
My other occupation also gave my imagination plenty of fodder for my stories, hence the MI5/espionage angle at times.
I was always advised to write what you know – so I guess that is what I am doing; at least I am trying to do.
Question 4: How does your writing process work?
Cripes! Now there you’ve got me. I am loath to tell you.
After years of being so organised, especially in the studio working on a track, making a video, or on tour getting everything together for a show; trying to keep the record and publishing companies happy, getting press, radio and television and so forth on board as well as baby-sitting the artists (only joking!), I now seem incapable of behaving in the same way when it comes to my writing.
I am not someone with millions of stories buzzing around in their head just bursting to come out. There isn’t an itch I need to scratch.
I often need some sort of trigger. It might be a conversation as I mentioned earlier, or it could be a News item or seeing something happening around me or hearing about it happening to others.
Sometimes I get flash-backs to something that happened on the road or during meetings with the high fliers in Hollywood or elsewhere and suddenly I have a story.
Something festers in the back of my mind for a brief period.
Often I will sit at the keyboard and open Word and stare at the page with the feeling I should write something.
The first thing I usually get is the title and suddenly off I go. I do not plan, draw up lists, post notes all over the room or prepare in any way.
I might write notes as I go along so I can recall names, places, and events and I have been known to draw a map. Only because I might forget some crucial detail what with all the excitement and what have you!
Ampney Parva is a real village to me so I know where the Pub and church are situated and who lives next door or opposite, and I know the style of Lavinia Birdsong’s cottage for example and where the Post Office is in relation to her.
I make a cup of tea and I write. It comes from nowhere – just like song-writing does.
If you’ve ever worked with true songwriters sitting messing round with a guitar or a piano and a piece of paper you will understand. The song, the story or whatever seems to come from some other place; the ether.
There are many cups of tea, sometimes there is liquorice. I walk around a lot, go off and do chores, go out and watch the world go past, go on Facebook more than I should and then I find myself back at the keyboard and I am off again.
It is quite normal for me to write from 5am through to 1am without eating – I go with the flow.
Sometimes I am out walking in the woods or around old villages or churches, and as I always have a camera with me, I take photos of locations and when I write I look at the photos and these inspire me.
Television or the radio or even someone in the room doesn’t bother me at all. I am used to working with lots of noise and activity I guess. I am not precious about my ‘space’ or even where I write. I can write anywhere as long as I have paper or a computer.
Did I mention tea? I need lots of tea.
That is my writing process. Probably not very literary or typical of other writers but it works for me.
So Jane Dougherty, this is how this Jane undertakes The Writing Process.
Thanks for asking me to share this with you.
Now I want to ask everyone reading this to visit her blog and find out about her work and also the blogs and work of the writers I’ve invited to follow on from me.
Please check out and support:
Susan Finlay http://www.susansbooks37.wordpress.com/?ref=hl
Pamela Griffiths http://www.pamelagriffiths.com/
DS Nelson http://www.dsnelson.co.uk/
Jo Lambert http://jolambertwriter.wordpress.com/
Many thanks to Jane Dougherty once more, it’s been a blast.
Jane Dougherty http://janedougherty.wordpress.com/
My work can be found in various places including:
Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog: http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/
Where you will find some of my short stories and pieces of flash fiction published and pod-casts.
And in these books:
In A Word: Murder
The USA Paperback version is available via
The USA Kindle version is available via
The UK Paperback version is available via
The UK Kindle is available via
I Am Woman Volume 1
As ever you can find me over on Facebook