Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Guest author Christine Stovell: Recurring Writemares

Christine Stovell jokes that her journey to publication has taken her from chocolate to Choc Lit. Winning a tin of chocolate in a national essay competition at primary school inspired her to become a writer but losing her dad to cancer made her realise that if she was ever going to get a novel published she had to put her writing first.  Her first novel, Turning the Tide, published by independent publisher Choc Lit, is a Kindle bestseller in the UK.  Her second Choc Lit novel, Move Over Darling is an October 2012 release.

Hello again!  Thank you, Liane, for inviting me back and to all of you for allowing me to be your guest at Novel Spaces.  October 31st, Liane reminded me.  Halloween. But rather than talk about the supernatural, I’m inviting you to share some of your worst ‘writemares’, the fears that keep you awake at four in the morning. Or maybe you’ve conquered your night ‘write terrors’ and can share the secret.  As a small thank you for having me back I’m giving away a copy of my second novel, Move Over Darling, which came out this month and is published by Choc Lit.  All you have to do is leave a comment and I’ll pick a name at random next Wednesday, 7 November. To set the ball rolling, here are few writerly worries that scare me when they go bump in the night.

The Ghostly Whisper
‘Hey Chris,’ the Inner Critic whispers, shaking me awake, ‘that novel you’re writing?  It’s rubbish – I’d stop now if I was you because you really don’t want anyone else to read it.  Delete it now before anyone sees!’ To think I thought that, having overcome the dreaded Second Book Syndrome, writing Novel 3 would somehow be easy, but I’m back in the same scary dark place looking for a glimmer of light.

The Ghastly Apparition 
Absolutely the best bit about writing for me is when a reader tells me they’ve enjoyed one of my novels. It’s not about my ego, it’s the sheer joy of connecting with another person.  The not-so-great bit is having someone tell me how much they hate my work.  One particularly well-crafted dissection of my first novel left me tearful and trembling… although I had to smile at the person who added a comment to the effect, ‘I agree.  This is a terrible book,’ or similar.  (I can’t quite face going back to check!).  That’s fine, I hope the dissatisfied readers find something more to their taste, but, just as experience has taught me I’m easily spooked by scary movies and should avoid them, I’ve now discovered the same probably applies to scary reviews.

The Dead End
Uh-oh! These characters are going nowhere! I’ve forced them into a situation because I thought it would make life easier for me and now they’re dying of boredom and I may not be able to resuscitate them. This one’s a problem of my own making – usually because I don’t know my characters well enough so I’m moving them around like bits of plastic and that’s how they’ve started behaving. Having to retrace my footsteps can leave me in a cold sweat, but sometimes the only way to make progress is to go back.

The Unknown
With my second novel, I’ve had to leave the safe, familiar comfort of my desk to venture out to promote my book. I’ve experienced live radio for the first time, as a guest on Roy Noble’s Show on BBC Wales, I’ve been interviewed for local press and I’ve written an article making the case for romance in a national magazine. Believe me, I’m flattered to be asked and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to talk about what I do – but it has caused me a few sleepless nights fretting about all of these events in advance.

The One About Being Naked in Public
Two weeks ago, Move Over Darling did something extraordinary, racing up the Amazon charts and settling – for a heady moment – at #2 in the Movers and Shakers chart and at #3 in Women Writers & Fiction. I was very tickled to see my title with its bright cover and Doris Day references resting between two editions of Fifty Shade of Grey. Then I remembered the old saying about the higher you climb the pole, the more of your backside you reveal! I felt better, mind you, when a friend observed that she couldn’t help feeling that E. L. James had shown a lot more of her backside than I had writing FSOG!

Well, that’s my top five writemares, although there are many more, but what about you? Do writing worries keep you awake? The first name out the hat gets a copy of Move Over Darling, so you can put on the light and read instead.


Flowerpot said...

Great post Chris and please put me in the draw for a copy of MOD! My current one is the one we all have, in that because I haven't written any fiction for a while, the thought of writing another novel is a mammoth mountain that I am quite unable to climb. but recently, as the walks book has gone quieter and not so much other work, I'm gearing myself up to start another one. Fingers crossed!

Kath said...

Great post, Chris. I know the Ghostly Whisper and the Dead End well. They are familiar companions. It's good to know that once you have books out, the Writemares multiply instead of diminish. There's something to be said for being unpublished, after all!!!

Liane Spicer said...

Welcome, Chris! It's great to have you back!

Oh, those writemares. You'd imagine with second book syndrome out of the way it would get easier, but it doesn't!

I've managed to sidestep the public appearances. The horror! I expect I'll have to get around to slaying that dragon one day, though.

Congratulations on the race up the rankings with Move Over Darling, and here's wishing it continues to fly off the shelves!

Graeme K Talboys said...

My worst writemare is seeing a bad review and knowing from what is in it that the person has not read the book - properly or at all. These days you have no way (especially online) of seeking redress without it turning into the unsavoury mess we have seen so often. Thank goodness for friends who are willing to jump in to defend your work.

Charles Gramlich said...

The Unknown is my biggest. I terrify myself with it all the time. most of the others I have learned to deal with over time. Great post!

Sarah Tranter said...

Lovely topical post Chris - and indeed enough to give nightmares on top of the whitemares because The Ghastly Apparation is before me. And of course the unknown. And there I thought ti would all get easier LOL. Congratulations again on the success of MoD - long may it fly. Sxxx

G. B. Miller said...

I think that my worst writemare was wondering if I would ever get a story/book published. Since I managed to accomplish that (Yay!), my worst writemare is now confinded to writing a second one that can match up with the first one.

And by all means, put me into the drawing as well.

Chanpreet said...

I'm not a writer, but my worst writemare would be reading a book by an author I love and seeing that they've become formulaic and have not put out their best.

Please put my name in the hat!

Chris Stovell said...

Hi everyone, I'm just dropping into say I'm enjoying and appreciating the comments. Thank you.

Chris Stovell said...

Many thanks to you all for your contributions - the winner of Move Over Darling, as picked at random by lovely assistant is...
G B Miller!

I'll email you for your address!

Liane Spicer said...

Thank you for joining us again, Chris, and hosting the giveaway. Wishing you continued great success!