Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Time Flies - a brief sojourn out of the writer's cave

How can it possibly be August already? I much regret how time has flown. It is far too long since I have been here to post - although you might all be very glad of that! Truth is I have been stuck in the deep, dark deadline cave finishing two urgent manuscripts, both of which will feature in 2008 amongst various exciting new projects to mark Mills & Boon's centenary year.

I am now blinking against the light through bloodshot eyes, dragging the decrepit body around a long-neglected house buried under layers of dust and ever-growing TBR piles of books, trying to get as many things done as possible before I shut myself back in the cave to embark on the next book. I'm also giving myself a few treats and making a raid on the TBR piles as a reward for getting both books finished on time.

I love to lose myself in my characters but I always find starting a new book a scary experience. I am not a plotter. I have a vague idea where I am going, but it is my characters who take me there, often by a scenic or unexpected route! I know them and their back stories, I fling them together, and then they lead the way, often taking hold of the reins and ignoring all my attempts to control them and get them back on track again. Some are more sure of themselves than others, some more willing to discuss things, and some determined to go their own way and stuff their author's ideas, thank you very much!

The saddest part is saying goodbye - even if it is only temporarily because I might meet them again in linked books. I get so involved with them and their lives, and it takes a while to get them out of my head and ease the next cast in. Now I am at that turnaround point, sadly trying to let Seb & Gina venture out into the world without me, knowing I will catch up with them again in future Strathlochan stories, but sad to cut the apron strings. On the plus side, I get to welcome back Lauren, best friend to Chloe whose story I have already told and whose romance with the delectable Oliver will be out in the summer of 2008. Lauren's turn has come. She has a bumpy ride ahead but a scrumptious French hero called Gabriel is waiting in the wings to smooth out the choppy waters for her - if she'll let him.

Gabe & Lauren will soon be pulling me back into that cave and I will be able to lose myself in their story, hanging on to their coat-tails as they lead me on their journey through trials and tribulations, learning to love and trust, seeking their happy ending. And all the while the layers of dust and piles of books I'm yearning to read will begin to grow again.

Time flies when you are having fun - and despite the self-doubt, the times when things won't flow and the fright of staring at the blank first page, fingers poised over the keyboard, there is nothing quite like the feeling of launching out into a new ficticious world with a new cast of characters.

My current book, One Special Night, is out now in the UK and in Australia/New Zealand, available in bookshops, via Amazon or via Harlequin Mills & Boon's websites in those countries.

His Very Speical Nurse is now available via Harlequin's North American website.
Happy reading,


Lois said...

I've found myself, most especially if I'm reading connected books where we revisit the other characters a lot, that after reading those series books in a row, I really miss those people! However, in plenty of cases, there are always more books to lookward to in some of those series. . . and it not, there are always new books and new series to look forward too! :)


deseng said...

I love reading series books because when I fall in love with a character it is so rewarding to read the rest of their story. Hurray on your new book! I can't wait to read it!


deseng said...

To add to my previous comment one set of books I am reading right now is a series by Stevi Mittman, Whose Number is Up, Anyway? She has many books in this series. It is so fun as she continues the on again,off again romance between the two main characters and all the hilarious antics Teddi gets into solving murder mysteries.

I have to agree that series books are fun because the characters are so familiar to you that they feel like family.


Maureen said...

Congratulations on your newest book. When I'm reading a particularly good book it is a little sad to leave the characters behind.

Sue A. said...

I'm glad to hear it's not just me who misses the characters once a book is finished. I liked to imagine that the author has the advantage over us in that she gets to revisit them in her mind and possibly create mini stories for them there even if she never puts them on paper. But I guess that's just fanciful thinking.

Margaret McDonagh said...

Thanks very much for your kind comments, Lois, Michele, Maureen and SueA.

I feel much the same, as both reader and writer, about characters and series books - even very loosely-linked ones where you just get mentions of past characters and know they are ok!

It's definitely not just you, SueA. I know some people must think I am nuts, but I've lived with my characters for so long in my head they are like real people and I imagine them living on in some parallel universe! It's great being able to dip back into their world now and again to see how they are doing!!

One Special Night moves the Scottish series on to fictional Strathlochan but mentions will still be made of the characters from the first three books - I can't let them go entirely, I love them too much!

Take care,

Nathalie said...

It is true we get used to the characters of the serie and miss them... but I always tell myself that a serie which is too long often alters the imagination for the reader... because to much is given to him.