'RABBITS, RABBITS, RABBITS, it's the 1st of August!'

I've been tagged to take part in the #HowIwrite blog hop challenge. As it's the 1st of the month, when traditionally we say 'Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits' before saying owt else, a hop seems appropriate.

At Crimefest Bristol
Who tagged me: Julia Jones. I met Julia ‘ IRL’ as they say, recently at Crimefest Bristol, though I felt I already knew her through Authors Electric and conversations on Facebook. When I joined AE I was deeply impressed to learn that one of my new colleagues was connected to Arthur Ransome, who figured largely in my childrens’ lives in the form of the Swallows and Amazons series, still my ‘comfort reads’ when laid low by illness. She actually owns and sails Peter Duck, Ransome’s ACTUAL boat. She also writes excellent YA novels about sailing, with Ransomian connections too but the contemporary characters have very modern issues and problems - Nancy Blackett, Terror of the Seas, meets Tracy Beaker perhaps? Her STRONG WINDS series of YA novels and the spin-off LION OF SOLE BAY are strongly recommended reads for bags of adventure, excitement, danger and daring. She’s also a publisher (Golden Duck publishing), and a scholarly, committed biographer, notably of the Allingham family (Margery A, crime writer, Herbert A, ‘pulp’ writer). Her talents are many and various, she’s forthright and great fun to be around.
Here's her Amazon author page with links to all her books.

#HowIwrite Questions: and my answers.

1) What am I writing? Well I ‘should’ be writing my next crime novel about Erica Bruce and DI Will Bennett, after the success of THE OPERATOR, my 2nd crime novel, which made it into WHSmiths airport and station shops despite being with a small independent publisher. As sometimes happens though I’ve several possible plot ideas which have appeared in my mental inbox and I’m dithering about which one to do first, if any of them work, and if I should combine some of them, and if I can in fact write a novel at all or am possibly just fooling myself... Also my next poetry collection, THE FACEBOOK OF THE DEAD, is being published in November, so I’m doing last minute edits to that too.

Quantum Sheep. Maths, poetry, sheep!
  2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? I write in many genres - my 13 books and 12 commissioned plays include crime fiction, poetry (about the science of dying, pathology, dementia, or the comedy of sex and dating, or politics), languages, drama, comedy, polemic, mythology, history... I sometimes write in a way that doesn’t fit the narrow genre or sub-genre definitions most publishers like, I put comedy into dark crime fiction, I write Regency novels in modern Teen-speak, I mix poems about loved ones’ deathbeds with erotic adventures, I set mythical characters in modern Whitley Bay, I write poetry about Quantum Theory on live sheep with spray paint, I make films about poems about dementia...

A star of THE ROTTING SPOT in the location of the book
3) Why do I write what I do? Because the ideas come to me, not always welcome at first, and demand to be written. They usually come with their form attached in some mysterious way. LYDIA BENNET'S BLOG leapt into my mind almost fully formed out of nowhere and had to be written at full pelt. THE ROTTING SPOT my first crime novel unites a former hobby (skull collecting) with my childhood places, and explores an ongoing obsession with anatomy, pathology and bones. Poems come to me similarly, often arising from experience, such as my Writer in Residence posts at pathology labs, brain institutes, hospitals, dissection and anatomy departments. THE SELKIE suggested itself as a play, as did THE MAN AND THE DONKEY, about Gallipolli and Simpson of nearby South Shields, who became a hero in Australia, where I saw his name lauded during a visit. I’m often motivated by a strong urge to ‘speak for’ someone or something which has been voiceless or unheard.

4) How does your writing process work? Some of this I answered in 3), but basically I need something I feel has to be said, or a story which has to be told. My crime novel The Operator while I hope thrilling and exciting is also about power in human relationships, particularly doctor/nurse power over patients, and how this kind of intimate power can bring out the worst (and the best) in some people. Often I’m commissioned to create a sci-art installation for a particular site, or a poem for a place, anthology,or festival: once I’ve said ‘yes’ ideas which have been swirling around suddenly take shape. I don’t write for certain hours a day or even every day, or even for
Displacement activity you can eat! Win-win!
commercially sensible reasons, I write when I’ve something to say, and I rewrite, rewrite until I’ve said it the best way I can. Some books or poems spring out of me more or less fully formed, others have to be hacked away at for years! Sometimes I try not to write (out of some kind of fear of failure perhaps), following distractions like facebook or socialising or making cupcakes or something until I can’t not write any longer! In her intro Julia wondered about my disability, and how it affects my work. I don’t really know as I’ve been disabled for 28 years since a car crash, but I do have a pre-occupation with anatomy and the body, and my experiences as a long-term hospital in and out patient come out with knowledge and some rage in THE OPERATOR!

My website, with all my exploits in all genres and links to all my books: valerielaws.com
Follow me on Twitter @ValerieLaws

Now for my TERRIFIC TAGGEES, do visit their links, look out for their work, and read their answers to the questions of #howIwrite when they appear in their blogs. Most blog hops/tours I’ve been involved in have been exclusively novelists, so I’m mixing up my genres here as well with a journalist/poet, a performance poet/events co-ordinator, and a YA novelist/Author Electric.

Charlotte Maxwell
CHARLOTTE MAXWELL is a 21-year-old Mancunian, currently studying Speech & Language Therapy at Newcastle University, and an aspiring (she says modestly, but she’s already doing it) lifestyle journalist. Charlotte writes lively articles for various online magazines and has recently taken on some editing roles. She is one of the new literature editors for Alliterati magazine and Beauty Editor of her student newspaper. Charlotte’s poetry has been published in a number of anthologies (including the All Write! book) and she was a member of performance poetry group Young Identity, though journalism is her main writing passion at the moment.
Charlotte’s very readable fun Blog: justmsmaxwell.com
Poetry: deepundergroundpoetry.com/poets/starz_n_peaches Student Newspaper Articles: thecourieronline.co.uk/author/charlotte-Maxwell


KIRSTEN LUCKINS is a poet and performer based in Hartlepool, who regularly features at spoken word nights throughout the region. She is currently touring her first spoken word show, THE MOON CANNOT BE STOLEN, which was runner-up in the Saboteur Awards 2014. Her work has been published in Sentinel, Material, Streetcake, Dagda and When Women Waken and she was recently longlisted for the York Literature Festival prize. She is north-east programme co-ordinator for performance poetry organisation Apples and Snakes and as such, is very active on the spoken word scene, facilitating events and helping and promoting new spoken word performers in the region. She’s currently involved in community writing projects around the WW1 bombardment of Hartlepool, and another focussing on responses to the Bloodaxe (poetry publisher) Archive. She often writes from both feminist and Buddhist points of view.
Kirsten’s blogs: http://kirstenluckins.wordpress.com/

PAULINE CHANDLER is an Authors Electric blogger like myself, and she’ll be answering the questions on her blog on August 21st, so look out for that. She lives with her family in rural Derbyshire. Her novels, several of which are now available as ebooks, are pacy historical adventures for readers aged 10 to adult, with strong female main characters who fight battles as well as the boys. Praised for the accuracy and depth of her research, Pauline also adds drama and humour to her exciting stories. Her stories include VIKING GIRL, and WARRIOR GIRL, the story of Joan of Arc narrated by her fictional cousin Marianne. Pauline received an Arts Council award for 'Warrior Girl', which funded research trips to Domremy, Joan's birthplace in north-eastern France, Reims and Rouen.
Visit Pauline’s website: www.paulinechandler.com
or  http://paulinechandler.wordpress.com/viking-girl/
Pauline’s author page on Amazon

Thanks to all the above, including my furry hopping friends, enjoy your summer hols folks, and a teaser - I'm currently experimenting with Twitter for promoting books, finding my way through the labrynths of RT groups and hashtags, I hope to report on this next month.


julia jones said…
I'll deffo be looking out for you terrific taggees - and I remain amazed by your personal versatility
Lydia Bennet said…
thank you Julia, I'm a bit surprised not to have more comments, I normally get lots and always comment on other folks' posts - is Friday a duff day? or maybe it's a duff post. oh well you win some you lose some!

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