I’ve been invited to join the My Writing Process blog hop by Margie, a writer I met when we were both quarter finalists in the mystery and thriller category of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2014. Thanks, Margie!
The way the blog hop works is, a writer answers four basic questions about their writing process, and then passes the baton to two other authors. So here we go!
What am I working on?
I have two projects on the go at the moment; I’m getting ready to publish the second book in the Josie Clark in Japan murder mystery series, The Haiku Murder, in October. The writing is done, Andrew at Design for Writers has started work on the cover design, and it’s currently going through copy editing and proof reading.
A haiku-writing trip turns to tragedy when a charismatic financier falls from the top of Matsuyama castle. But was he pushed? Expat Londoner Josie Clark finds herself discovering parts of Tokyo she never knew existed as she races to find his missing bag and its mysteriously valuable contents before more people die. Who’d have thought poetry could be so dangerous?
I’m also writing a short novella, The Tokyo Karaoke Murder. It’s a prequel to The Cherry Blossom Murder, which I’m finding quite challenging as it’s around fifteen thousand words, which is not a length that comes to me naturally. But I’ve got some great ideas and expect to finish it in the next couple of weeks.
A trip to Tokyo turns into a nightmare for Josie Clark as she is accused of theft and murder on a karaoke night out. She has an hour to prove her innocence and find the real killer before the police arrive. Can she do it?
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
A key thing about the Josie Clark books is their setting. Josie is an expat Londoner living and working in Japan, and that’s what gives the series its unique flavour. Amazon customer reviews for The Cherry Blossom Murder often mention how readers feel drawn into Josie’s Japanese world. It makes the books hard to categorise – they’re cosy mystery in style, but without the small town/village setting that’s typical of the cosy genre. They’re international mysteries without the jet-setting, thrillers without the violence, but first and foremost they’re whodunits with a puzzle for Josie, and the reader, to solve.
Because I’m a detective story addict and I write what I like to read. Give me a good Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, or anyone else from the golden age of detective fiction and I’m happy. Plus, I write about Japan because it’s like a second home to me and I want to share its special flavour with others.
How does my writing process work?
I start with the title, and then challenge myself to write a story that fits it. I do an outline, but not a detailed plan because the story can go in different directions as I write. I generally don’t make up my mind who the murderer is until I’m about half way through the book. By that time the characters are starting to come alive and I can see who is murderer material and who isn’t.
I write the first draft quite quickly; a thousand words a day until it’s done. Then I redraft (a lot) and let my wonderful beta readers critique it. I rewrite again in the light of their suggestions, and that’s pretty much it.
I’m departing a bit from the blog hop rules in handing off to my two writers, as neither of them has a blog. But I don’t see why they should be excluded just because of that, so here they are:
Celia Purcell, author of Jonathan’s Leap, a book for children about a boy who loves ballet
Stephen Bibby, author of Collingwood’s Club, an action and adventure story set in the world of high finance.