Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Next Big Thing by Louise Marley

I've been tagged by fellow writer Juliet Greenwood to participate in The Next Big Thing, where authors tell you all about their next book. So here goes.

What is the title of your book?

My new book is called Breathless. The heroine is Lainey Jennings, a diving instructor who is obsessed with finding a long-lost wreck called the Mary Eliza.

You can find the book on Amazon:

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Lots of different ideas collided to inspire me to write this book. The history of the Mary Eliza was loosely based on a real life ship called the Swan, which sank off the Isle of Mull in 1653. The idea of a warship sinking with its looted cargo came from the true story of the siege of Dundee in 1651. Although I expect my interest in wrecks really began with the raising of the Mary Rose, a Tudor warship which sank in 1545. As a child I remember watching on TV as her hull was finally brought to the surface after 437 years on the seabed.

I’m also fascinated by family history, and the way stories can become garbled as they are passed down through the generations. My grandfather used to love telling me tales about our seafaring ancestors, who had lived in the same Hampshire village for more than four hundred years. This gave me the idea for the character of Joseph Halfpenny, who is convinced he is descended from a notorious smuggler - even though he can’t actually prove it! Running alongside Lainey’s story I have included extracts from a journal written in 1695, which tells the story of this smuggler.
What genre does your book fall under?

My story is a blend of murder mystery and romantic comedy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Lainey is described as being small, athletic and with short black hair. If I were to choose an actress to play her, it would probably be Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Snow White in Once Upon A Time.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I usually take a year to write a book.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Aren’t smugglers and shipwrecks enough? I’m also fascinated by celebrity culture and my books often have a character who is a celebrity. In this book it’s Zac Nelson, a marine archeologist and TV presenter, who is famous for his documentary series on shipwrecks.

The next author I’ve tagged to tell you about her new book is my fellow Novelista, Valerie-Anne Baglietto.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

My Slutty* Writing Day by Valerie-Anne Baglietto

*I use 'slutty' in the sense that I haven't completely emptied the dishwasher yet or put the washing machine on. But I have got dressed. This is my comfiest uniform (right), and yes they're jogging pants. One of the things I love about being a writer is the fact I haven't got to slap on make-up, comb my frizz or squeeze into a power suit. Sometimes (because I'm so naughty) I'm still slopping around in my PJs at midday, in which case, I won't answer the door unless it's the postman with an important delivery, or my neighbour. If it's the latter, I feign illness - such as a migraine, or I wheeze a little and blame it on my asthma. She's very understanding.

I am very, VERY lucky that Granddad whisks my younger two off to school in the morning, and my eldest is old enough to walk to high school. It means you can sometimes find me jumping on to the PC the minute they're all out of the door, coffee mug to hand (my favourite mug, left).

I try to take regular breaks, which might involve jumping on to the exercise bike for five minutes, feeding the guinea pigs, finally putting the washing machine on or making another cup of tea/coffee. Around two o'clock or later I usually remember that I haven't had lunch yet. Needing to eat can be very inconvenient for a writer.

There are two 'workstations' in my house. The messy one downstairs where I can keep an eye on the kids and their homework, or the more calming one upstairs in the room that used to be my study but is now my eldest son's hangout.

I use it when he's out or at school, and he can't protest because I bought all the chunky, cottagey furniture with my second PLR cheque about ten years ago. He has to share the space with my novels - the ones with my name on them! - because the only other shelves are in the conservatory, and book spines get bleached by the sun out there. The rows of books hovering above the laptop also remind me that I can write. Or at least I could, before motherhood, post-natal depression and writer's block did strange things to my brain.

I've been experimenting with different genres and styles for the last few years. At the moment I'm working on contemporary fairytales. Not retellings or reversionings or anything like that, but the idea that normal, modern day people might find themselves caught up in something that ought only to happen in the world of fiction. Magical realism maybe? No vampires, werewolves or shapeshifters, though. Or angels. So I'm not sure if paranormal is the right word for it, either. Anyway, it's proving hard work, but lots of fun. We shall see where it leads. At the moment, I'm being steered towards the kettle, so I'm going to sign off and take a caffeine break.

love Valerie-Anne x
UPDATE: Since writing this post back in November, my book ONCE UPON A WINTER ( has been released, and has hit #2 in the Amazon Fairy Tale chart and #2 in Myths & Fairy Tales (so all that coffee paid off). I am now working on a novella, due out this summer.