Book Review: The Inheritance by Elaine Jeremiah

Elaine Jeremiah:

Read a fabulous review of my debut novel ‘The Inheritance’

Originally posted on A Keyboard and an Open Mind:

Title: The Inheritance
Author: Elaine Jeremiah
Genre: Contemporary/literary fiction
Format: E-book, available from Amazon or Amazon UK.
Date Read: 28/10/2013 – 31/10/2013
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

theinheritanceFirst of all,  a disclaimer: you are very likely going to have to forgive me for parts of this review.  I actually read The Inheritance back in October last year, and my memory is failing me on some of the details. However, a promise of a review is a promise of a review, so here I go!

The Inheritance is the debut novel from fellow WIPpeteer Elaine Jeremiah, and based on the parable of The Prodigal Son, which can be found in Luke’s Gospel. I first became familiar with this story when I was in Year 2 and preparing for the Sacrament of First Reconciliation. From then, it tended to come up a bit throughout my Catholic schooling, not to mention the Bible Study…

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Something for WIPpet Wednesday

Wednesday

Is it just me or does WIPpet Wednesday come around faster and faster? Lol. Anyway I’m being kind again this week.  I’m sharing a whole 30 lines from chapter 4 of my current WIP, which is tentatively titled Reunion, though I’m working to change it.  One idea I had was ‘Reunion’s Meeting’.  Any thoughts?

OK, on with the main event.  I would have shared 29 lines (for the 29th January) but the excerpt makes more sense with the extra line.  This week’s WIPpet takes place a while before last week’s just to confuse you.  Anna is out jogging when she sees someone she’d much rather not…

Feeling unnerved she turned around.  When she saw who it was she had an unpleasant surprise. 

‘Will!  What on earth are you doing here?’ she demanded before she could help herself, pulling out her earphones.  She’d barely looked him in the eye at the reunion; now she saw him as if for the first time.  He was tall, taller than she remembered, with dark eyes and short hair that curled gently around his temples.  He would have been attractive, but his expression was conceited and smug.

‘I live here,’ he said in a matter-of-fact tone.  ‘Well not here in this park,’ he added jokily, seeming to register her dumb-struck face.

‘You mean you live here, in Warston?’ Anna was unable to hide her incredulity.  This was all she needed.

‘Yes, as I just said.’  He had an odd expression on his face, somewhere between a self-satisfied smile and a genuinely interested look.  ‘Warston is a big city, Anna,’ he went on.  ‘It’s not that surprising that we’ve never bumped into each other before.’

‘No thank goodness we never have,’ Anna blurted out unable to stop herself.  She knew she shouldn’t be rude, but this was Will.  After the way he’d treated her he didn’t deserve to be spoken to politely.

‘Well it’s nice to know that I’m still in your good books.’

Anna was surprised that underneath his sarcastic tone he sounded hurt.  But she mentally shrugged off this thought.  Will had put her through hell during her school years and the scars were still there.  His hurt feelings weren’t worth worrying about.

‘Well I didn’t expect to see you here,’ she said, hearing her voice sound abrupt and cold. ‘But I doubt we’ll meet again.  Like you say, Warston’s a big city.’ She turned to jog back down the hill.

‘Good luck then.  You must have a lot of work to do on your novel.  See you around.’

WIPpet Wednesday is open to anyone who has a piece of writing they’d like to share.  If you want to join in, just post a bit of your writing that relates in some way to the date.  Then add your name here.  Thanks goes to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. :)

Wow what a wonderful WIPpet Wednesday!

Argument

OK so last week I promised you a longer excerpt from Reunion this week.  Using my clever WIPpet maths, I’ve come up with 4 paragraphs from chapter 14: 2+2=4 (amazing that, I can do maths!!) and obviously chapter 14 for the year. :)

I have something to tell you that made me frown.  I’ve told ReGi already… I did some searching on Amazon just to check and there’s another book out there called Reunion with a plot that’s not completely dissimilar to mine. :(  ReGi was kindly trying to help me come up with another title.  My husband reckons it doesn’t matter too much if I have a subtitle with it.

But… aargh!  I kind of get the feeling that if I don’t change the title and the plot stays the same (that’s one thing I’m not changing for love or money!!) then I could land myself in some hot water.  *Sigh*  It’s so difficult coming up with brand new inspiring titles.  I need help!!  Any more suggestions??

All right then, on with today’s WIPpet.  This scene takes place just after Anna has had a row with her now-boyfriend Peter.  These are turbulent times for her…

Waving goodbye to Peter as he made his way to the platform to catch the train back to London, Anna felt relief wash over her.  Relief quickly replaced by guilt.  She shouldn’t feel relieved that he was going – he was her boyfriend for goodness sake – but she was.  Turning away from his disappearing form, she began to make her way out of the station.  The cold dry weather they’d been experiencing had turned to cold wet weather and it was beginning to rain.  Anna pulled her hood up and dashed to her car.

She used the journey home to brood over Peter’s visit and how it had made her feel.  Remembering their love making, her face grew hot.  There was certainly nothing wrong in that department.  But why oh why had he felt it necessary to try to bestow expensive trinkets on her?  And more importantly, why should it matter to her if he did? 

As these thoughts were whirling around her head, Anna was startled by a horn blasting at her.  Shocked, she realised she’d been drifting into the opposite lane on the road.  Get a grip, Anna, she told herself.  Forget about Peter and concentrate on driving if you want to make it home.  She banished the troubling thoughts from her head and focused her attention on getting home safely.

When she reached the safety of her driveway, Anna turned the engine off and sat there for a moment in silence, staring blankly at her garage door.  I could have been killed, she thought.  This obsessing about Peter could have cost me my life.  Slowly, she got out of the car and leaned against it for a moment as if for support, ignoring the cold of its metal shell. 

Thanks as always for having a look at my work, all comments gratefully received!  Anyone can take part in WIPpet Wednesday.  All you’ve got to do is share a bit of your work that relates in some way to the date. Then add your details to this.  Be sure to take a look at what the other WIPpeteers are sharing.  Thank you, thank you, thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting! :)

Interview with new author Chloe Corin

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I’m delighted to be interviewing an exciting new author I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the world of blogging writers.

Her name is Chloe Corin and she recently published her debut novel The Hall Speaks. She was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about how she came to write her novel, what her experience has been and any advice she might have for other budding authors.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

I love that you asked this question. My love for writing came much later, after college when there wasn’t any pressure to perform. Growing up I didn’t like writing at all. I practically hyperventilated anytime I had to write a paper in English. But one day I just decided to face my fear and write. I did this for two reasons: 1) I’m dyslexic and was told numerous times I couldn’t and shouldn’t write. Well, I wanted my children to know that they could do anything they wanted whether others believe in them or not. 2) Written word is amazing! It will last for centuries–it’s a great thing to pass to the future. I truly believe each writer leaves a part of themselves in their work.  Knowing that one day my great grandchildren would read my novels and get a sense of who I was motivated me to start writing.

How did you come up with the idea for The Hall Speaks?

I lived it. The Hall Speaks is my version of Big Fish—the marriage of fiction and nonfiction. I worked in Residence life for years, living with hundreds of college students, and dealing with everything imaginable that could happen with unsupervised kids. I worked in Reslife at Virginia Tech while I was in graduate school. And as some know, they had the largest school shooting to date. The fact that student staff (RAs) were some of the first responders to this awful situation amazed me. That’s when I knew I wanted to tell a story from the perspective of a RA. However, I didn’t want to write a book just about a shooting. That’s like watching the Titanic and only seeing the part where the ship sinks. There was something really powerful seeing the characters’ lives, their struggles, who they loved, what they fought for, before the unsinkable ship crashed into the iceberg. So I knew I wanted to do something similar with this project because life happens before the tragedy. However, I do love happy endings and I made sure my novel had one! :)

Did writing The Hall Speaks require much research and if so what did that research involve?

Mostly I was just pulling from my memory. However, my book deals with quite a few things that require legal action so I have to research the law. But most of my research was on the literary world, from agents, genres, indie authors, publishing, etc. I seriously researched for an entire year on what do with a completed novel.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced while writing it?

Oh my goodness! I wrote the first draft in less than 3 months but like I mentioned, I have dyslexia so there was a ton to revise. Then the other challenges came along with life: my husband had some health challenges; we switched jobs, moved to another state, which caused me to lose my critique group. All of this prolonged this project because it was hard to dedicate time to writing when I really needed to keep up with my changing life! Once I moved I felt totally lost when it came to finding a writing group. Not having weekly support of other writers hurt my growth and focus as a writer. My husband’s awesome, however he doesn’t read fiction. So his input was kind but not helpful.

What have you found to be most helpful to your growth and development as a writer?

I loved my critique group when I lived in Texas. Many of the writers there were published and had agents. They were always really helpful and supportive, the energy of the group was inspiring! I never felt like anyone was competing against me, secretly wanting me to fail. It was quite the opposite, actually. Being part of the DFW Writers’ Group has been one of the best experiences for me and definitely helped my writing skills!

What has the experience of going through the self-publishing process been like for you?

I’m so glad that we have self-publishing! I love indie authors and think they are so brave for going at it alone. The hardest part so far has been the marketing and contacting readers. I came across an article, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Readers, that discussed publishing. One of the things I gathered and I agree with, is that with the ease of self-publishing and the volume of books available, readers aren’t sure what to read. That’s why a lot of people will just read whatever is popular. So finding that group of readers that will make your book popular is hard for new authors. Readers are the best marketing tool; they sell your book for you.

Looking back over the whole process of writing The Hall Speaks and publishing it, is there anything you’d do differently?

Yes, yes, and yes! I should have published my book a long time ago. Working on it for 3 years I found it difficult to stay excited about the book.  For me, it was like watching the same movie over and over again for three years. No matter how good the movie is, you get to a point where you can hardly stand another line from it! I was getting too much advice, doing too much research, that I eventually got confused and stuck. At the time, New Adult wasn’t around so I didn’t know how to sell my novel. And looking back, I should have just gone for it! Timing means so much in the world of entertainment and over the last year, I’ve noticed one of my themes in other New Adult novels. Not that it’s a horrible thing, but it makes one of my story lines old news now. However, three years ago that story line would have been a fresh concept for this market.  I’m not upset or anything, just learning along the way!

Have you got any tips for other aspiring writers?

draft1

I’m sure there are a lot of practical things that writers can do to improve their work. I’m not going to comment on those because I feel they change like the time. I’m sure at one point critiques were against 1st person narratives, and novels with two POVs, YA, and now NA, but as we can all see, time changes everything. However, one thing I think every artist should strive for is inspiration. Find this, and if you lose it, search for it until you find it again. Inspiration is the magic; it’s powerful enough to separate the talented from the phenomenal. I think about J.K Rowling, John Green, Michael Jackson, even Stephanie Meyer. They were able to create works that connected to people in such a way it impacted a culture.

Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me! I had a blast answering the question, it was great for reflection! ~Chloe CorinJ

Thank you too Chloe for taking the time to answer my questions.  I wish you all the best with your novel.

The Hall Speaks is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

You can contact Chloe via her blog: chloeleighcorin.wordpress.com and on tumblr at:  chloecorin.tumblr.com

How I write

Writing

Just a quick post to update you a little on how I’m getting on with writing every day this month.

Not bad so far. I’ve written properly, working on my WIP Reunion, most days. The days I don’t have given me the opportunity to start planning my next story – which to me counts as work on my writing.

That’s been really nice, to get back to planning which I always enjoy. But doing work every day on my writing has made me compare how I’m doing now writing/working on writing every day with my usual ‘method’ of working on it most days but not every single day.

The highest word count I’ve managed in one day, writing this way, is about 600 which for me isn’t bad. However a few times before this month, when I wasn’t working on my WIP every day, I could do well over 1000.

So the question I’m pondering is this: is it better to write every day and do less each time, but have the total add up to quite a lot, or is it better to write a bit more sporadically but write in heftier chunks?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! :)

A WIPpet for Wednesday

OK, so not the most fantastic of titles but it’s the best I could do. I hope this WIPpet finds you well and getting into the swing of 2014.

For this week’s WIPpet Wednesday I thought I’d share with you 15 words from chapter 1 of my current WIP Reunion. Like many of my fellow WIPpeteers, I’m finding it hard to… well find parts to share that don’t give away half the plot.

So this week I’m keeping it short but sweet. This line is further on in the same chapter from last week’s excerpt. Anna is thinking about the people she might see at the school reunion.

It would be good to see Lizzie and Rachel again, but they wouldn’t necessarily go.

I will try and be less stingy with the excerpt next week! Looking forward to reading yours.

Wanna join in the WIPpet Wednesday fun? No problem – just share an excerpt from your current WIP on your blog. Make sure it relates to the date somehow. Then go here to add your details to the list. And you’re off!

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting! :)

The Ta-Da Award

ta-da

The lovely, talented ReGi McClain has kindly nominated me for a new blog award called The Ta-Da award. I have to answer ten questions, which you’ll see below, and nominate some people to give the award to.

Since I’m really lazy, and most of my contacts are very busy people, I’m not going to nominate anyone. But here as promised are the questions and my answers:

1. What was the best experience you had on purpose last year?
Going down to my cousin’s wedding in Cornwall (it’s the most south western area of the UK) and spending time with my extended family. It gave me the chance to dress up which I don’t often do. We went to a pub for the reception and a random man at the bar told me I dressed well!! Surprising, but sweet!

2. What was the best experience you stumbled into last year?
Meeting another author and blogger (apart from Kate Frost) Jade Reyner face to face who I hadn’t met before. OK so it was kind of planned, but I didn’t expect to be able to meet her when I first got in touch with her via our blogs and Twitter. It was so lovely to meet another blogger who lives in my area of the UK – she’s wonderful which wasn’t necessarily a given! – and it means there are 3 of us now who can meet up together.

3. What was your greatest intentional accomplishment last year?
Self-publishing my debut novel The Inheritance. It took a long while to get to the point of self-publishing it but it has been worth every single second of effort to get to that point. I’ve learnt so much and really enjoyed the experience.

4. What was your greatest unplanned accomplishment last year?
I reached my 100th post on WordPress on the 18th December! So I was really happy about that and it was totally unplanned. Seems unbelievable that I’ve done that many posts as I only started in March last year.

5. Did you spend some time with someone you adore last year?
Yes, I spent plenty of time with my wonderful husband Ian who I totally, completely and utterly adore!

6. Were you nice to someone you don’t like last year?
I’m not sure actually. Possibly but thankfully I don’t generally come into that much contact with people I really don’t like. Usually though if I’m with someone I don’t like I try to at least be polite.

7. What was the most amazing thing you learned last year?
Finding out that I’d had nearly 9500 free downloads of The Inheritance when I did my free promotion for it. (Not sure if this answer counts but it’s what you’re getting!)

8. Who did you teach last year and what (G-rated thing) did you teach them?
I taught my dog not to nip at me when I’m drying him off after walks/when he comes in from the garden.

9. What events did you attend last year?
I went to a couple of book launches with my good friend and fellow WIPpeteer Kate Frost. They were good times, although the second one was held at the beginning of August, we were in a cramped bookshop and it was VERY hot and sticky. Yuk!

10. Did you travel anywhere? Even just downtown?
Hubby, dog and I travelled to south west Wales in April for a week long holiday in a cottage on a farm. It was great!

So there you have it. I hope you’re all having a fabulous weekend. Catch you later. :)

My 1st WIPpet Wednesday of the new year!

Hi all! Hope you had a fantastic Christmas and New Year and that you haven’t eaten or drunk too much!! ;) I have to admit, I put on a bit of weight which I’m not happy about. :( I’m trying to tackle it by healthier eating. So we shall see if I can lose a bit again.

Anyway, on to the WIPpet Wednesday excerpt. It’s the 8th January today, so just to be annoying I’m going to take you back to chapter 1 and give you 8 lines from my current WIP Reunion. At this point in the story, Anna is at home working. She’s a full time writer (ah, bliss) and she’s just picking up the day’s post (or mail to you American folks!!) which has arrived.

A couple of envelopes were identical, she noticed with a frown, rectangular and plain brown. One was addressed to her, the other to Melissa. The post mark was Holmsborough.

She opened hers and quickly read what it said. It was an invitation to a school reunion – her secondary school. It was going to be held at the school itself and would happen in a couple of months’ time.

Immediately her mind transported her back to her painfully unhappy school days. She saw again the school corridor and herself rushing down it, trying to get away from the catcalls and taunts she’d had to endure on a daily basis.

So there you go. I look forward to reading your comments and I will certainly check out other WIPpeteers’ offerings.

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, it’s easy. Simply post an excerpt of what you’re currently working on writing-wise which relates in some way to the date. Then add your name to this linky. And you’re done.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting!

 

Writing every day in January

I’m not sure I’ll be able to stick to this, but my aim is to write every single day this month, even if it’s only for 20 minutes or less. I’ve been inspired by this article that suggests making a realistic New Year’s resolution regarding writing – to write for 20 minutes a day every day in January or less if you can’t manage it.

I think it’s such a fantastic idea and I’ll explain why. In recent years I’ve been writing more and more, particularly in the past year or so since I’ve joined Twitter, started a WordPress blog and have been in contact with, and even met some, other writers.

But I still struggle to write every day. I’m not an especially busy person, so in many ways I have it really good and there’s not much excuse not to write. I find that life takes over, working, walking the dog and looking after him, housework etc. And as I was saying to my husband today, as much as I enjoy writing it’s work – it is hard work and it’s not always easy as I’ve been finding lately as I work on my current WIP. I don’t know if you guys ever feel like that about it, but that’s how it is for me.

Having said that, I love it and I have more and more incentives to keep writing, not least all my online writer friends. You keep me going and I really appreciate it! And as I said that’s inspired me to write more.

So far in these first few days of January I’ve managed to write every day, although not for that long each time. But I should add that in recent months on a number of occasions I’ve managed over 1000 words in one day, which is good for me, so it’s not like I’m constantly slacking!

What are your thoughts on writing every day? Do you struggle to do it or is it something that comes naturally? I’d love to hear from you. :)