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Showing posts from July, 2016

How real is real-world fiction?

I've long loved to write and tell stories, but I've had a lot to learn, over the years, about how to write and tell stories. First there was that great head-teacher who made me choose between the pencil and microphone, thus teaching me to write. Then there was the brother who told me all fiction is lies, thus teaching me not to write. Then a friend suggested how wrong it was that people never go to the bathroom in children's novels. "Maybe they do in grown-up ones," she suggested. So I started to read the library  book under Mum's bed while I dusted her room. Nobody went to the bathroom there either. So I start to write "real" stories where every detail was told, and then I learned it's better to "show now tell," and then... Well, I learned, slowly. And people don't go to the bathroom much in my books, children's or adult's. After all, I don't tell how many breaths they take from morning to evening either.

But how real …

Wish you could visit Krakow?

I love to collect guide books from places that I visit. I like them to have a nice mix of pictures and writing, and I like to feel I've maybe had a guided tour, even when I haven't. But I don't often read guide books to places I haven't visited, unless a good friend is sharing their joy in a trip.

I love to read fiction about fascinating characters, but I've never been so enthralled with biography. Real characters live such messy lives compared to those of fiction, their stories blurred by paths not taken, and their patterns and symbols jarring when too much is known. That said, I've read a few really great biographies, and one of them is first in today's list of book reviews...

Except, it's also a history book, and a guide book, and more. So... if you've ever regretted the fact that you'll probably never see Krakow, or if you're planning a visit, or if you want to know the longer history of the world Pope John Paul II grew up in - the histo…

What genre do you publish?

Strangers, on learning that I'm a published author, frequently ask, "What do you write, then?" They probably want me to answer with a nice simple genre - mysteries say - and I almost wish I could oblige. But instead I tell them I write novels and children's fiction, then elaborate, if they ask, with the fact that my second novel, Infinite Sum, has just been released, and that I have children's books with two different publishers. One children's series (with almost enough books now for a book-a-month club) is the Five-Minute Bible Story series, published by Cape Arago press. And the other is a series of animal stories from Linkville press, with only one book (Tails of Mystery) out so far.

My tangled answer got me wondering, do we ask publishers what genre they publish? Technically we authors research our publishers, determine they have an interest in the sort of thing we write, and then submit. But what if the publisher's interests are as eclectic as our o…

Will You Identify With These (Prime) Characters?

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Today I'm delighted to welcome author Dan O'Brien to my blog. His new book, first in a new series, is about to come out. It's called Sixth Prime and... well, it's sci-fi, mystery, galactic war, and... well, and something different, plus that interesting question, are you Prime? So, over to Dan, and thank you for visiting my blog.


When I started writing Sixth Prime, I decided early on to do something very deliberate: I would make half the main characters female; I would make sure the personalities better reflected the myriad of the human experience; and I would describe characters without using skin color or any physical identifiers. You might be wondering: what exactly is the point of that? Women represent half the population I would be remiss if I ignored the statistics right in front of me. 82% of readers are female, so why wouldn't you include female characters when so many readers are women. I don't mean the traditional roles of queens and romantic interests;…