My inspiration for ‘Reunion of the Heart’

RotH-Cover

Only two days until I publish Reunion of the Heart! Hooray! And continuing with my posts about different aspects of Reunion of the Heart, today I wanted to talk about my inspiration for the book.

A while ago I had an invite to a reunion at one of my old schools.  I didn’t go.  My school days were really miserable – probably more so than my MC Anna’s, although not quite in the same way.

But for a long time now I’ve been fascinated by the concept  of school reunions and what it’s like to revisit your past like that.  Would it be an enjoyable time?  Would it be horrendous?  What would it be like to be reunited with your ex fellow pupils?

Another aspect of a school reunion which I find really interesting is the way everyone changes physically over the years.  For example I often see photos of people on Facebook who I haven’t seen for a long time and I’ll think ‘Wow they look so different’.  It’s not necessarily just that they’re older – perhaps they’ve put on weight or they’ve got dark circles under their eyes from running around after their kids!

Whatever the case I found the concept of a school reunion really appealing and I thought it would make a great story.  What happens when a young woman returns to her school for a reunion, to the place where she was so unhappy?  And why would she subject herself to it if her schooldays had made her so miserable?

The story unfolded pretty well as I began to write it.  I had to think of what my MC’s day job would be and I thought it would be great if she was a successful, published author.  What I’d love to be, I won’t deny it!  So that was really fun too, to come up with a pseudonym she could use and how she felt about her success amongst other things.

Wouldn’t that be lovely, to be earning a living as a writer and to have your own agent, as my MC does?  Anyway dreams aside, having my main character be an author worked so well.  Because she thinks like a writer: she can picture lovely views in her mind, even when there isn’t one there; she imagines what people might say before they’ve said it and sometimes she overdoes it and lets her imagination run away with her and she’ll imagine negative things.

Being an author myself I was able to write realistically about the writing process.  It did require a bit of research – on the role of agents for one thing – but I felt that I was able to write authentically about how it feels to be a writer.  Of course I haven’t had the success that my character has had, but I could imagine what it would feel like to be successful – and the minuses of success as well as the pluses.

So that’s about all I want to say about my inspiration for Reunion of the Heart.

What’s your inspiration for your writing?  Do you write from experience or do you have to research a great deal?

WIPpet Wednesday – Feeling nervous (and a cover reveal mention…)

Hi everyone!  Hope you’re all well.  This is gonna be a special week for me – or I should say a special day on Friday because… IT’S MY FIRST COVER REVEAL!  It’s for my new novel Reunion of the Heart, a romance, which I’m going to publish shortly.

To coin an American phrase  (or at least I think it’s American!) which I’ve heard in blog land  I’m super excited!!!  Thank you in advance to my 10 lovely volunteers who’re gonna help me out with it.  It’s going to be great.

All right, back to the main event.  Today’s WIPpet is for my… all right, yes, still untitled novel-to-be romance about the school teacher.  To remind you non-British people, she works at a secondary school for 11-16 yr olds.  In this scene Rebecca, my MC, is facing the dreaded parents’ evening.

Now because we’re such an international group of writers in WIPpet Wednesday, I’m not going to assume anything, so in case you’re unsure what a parents’ evening is (forgive me if you do know what it is!!), it’s just a chance for parents of children at a school to discuss their child’s work and achievements (or lack of them!!) with their child’s teacher(s).

Rebecca is a new teacher and this is her first term (semester??), so she wants to get things right.  I’m sharing 3 paragraphs, 2 + 1 from the year.

Rebecca looked at herself in the mirror and adjusted the collar of her white blouse.  Her long jet black hair was pulled back into a neat chignon, her blouse and skirt suit had been carefully ironed and she’d taken extra care with her makeup, wanting it to be subtle but enhancing at the same time.  Anyone would think I was going on a date, she thought, her wry smile reflected in the mirror.

But this evening would be ten times more nerve wracking than a date.  Tonight was parents’ evening at Wyncliffe High and Rebecca was feeling as scared as someone about parachute out of a plane for the very first time.  It was the middle of October and Rebecca had been dreading this evening for weeks.  Now that it was finally here she just wanted it to be over and done with.

She sighed as she walked out of the bathroom, picked up her heavy bag, coat and keys from the living room and exited the flat.  She would have liked to cycle to the school as she normally did, but hadn’t wanted to be too sweaty and out of breath when she got there.  Rebecca desperately wanted to make a good impression.  She was particularly anxious about meeting one of the parents there – Audi-Man.

If you’ve been reading our WIPpets and you’re thinking ‘That’s something I’d like to do’, it’s easy to join in.  Just post on your blog whatever you’ve been working on writing-wise lately and ideally make sure it relates in some way to the date.  Then put your details on this linky.  Don’t forget to have a read of what the other WIPpeteers have shared too. :)

Thank you to our wise and knowledgeable leader aka K. L. Schwengel for also being our gracious hostess. ;)

Feeling misunderstood

Misunderstood

Hello one and all and welcome to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday here on my blog. Well technically it’s still Tuesday here, but I’m posting early again. :) My apologies for being absent last week – though I did manage to comment on a few WIPpeteers’ posts, I didn’t do my own.

This was down to fatigue – I’m working quite hard at my day job and sometimes I just don’t have the energy for extras (for want of a better word), such as WIPpet Wednesday.

Anyway I read some good excerpts last week and I’m glad you’re all keeping up with your writing.  Which I am with mine, though not quite every day.  I did manage over 600 words on my WIP last night despite feeling shattered so I was happy with that.

For this week’s WIPpet,  I thought I’d share with you 11 sentences (9 for the day + 2 from 2014)  from my current WIP.  (I’m definitely gonna need to think of a title soon – I’ve done over 11,000 words now!) In this scene my MC Rebecca, a teacher, is talking with a colleague about the way her family and friends don’t seem to be able to understand the pressures of her new job:

‘That badly, eh?’ Jenny’s sympathetic tone forced Rebecca to be brighter.  She wasn’t going to have anyone feeling sorry for her.  That was one thing she wouldn’t be able to stand.

‘Actually no,’ she replied turning to Jenny and smiling with an effort.  ‘It’s just that teaching is a lot of hard work.  I knew it would be when I decided to train, but it’s made harder by my family and friends not really understanding that.’ She looked away again, remembering her spat with Michelle which she still hadn’t resolved.

Jenny was nodding.  ‘I completely understand.  When I first began teaching – well to be honest with you it led in part to the breakup of my marriage.’

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post an excerpt of your writing on your blog.  Only stipulation is that it must relate to the date in some way.  Then add your name here.

Thank you to the wonderful K. L. Schwengel for being our hostess with the mostess!

It’s OK now cos I’m back!!!

I'm back no 2

My apologies for missing last week’s WIPpet Wednesday. I’d been very busy with work and I was also really tired. But now I’m back! And I’ve actually written some more on my WIP – finally after months. So I’m happy about that.

If you follow my blog, you may have seen that I’ve been thinking about how to increase my presence online, particularly with this blog.  You can read about that here.  This is with the ultimate aim of publicising my writing.  I guess that’s fairly obvious, but I find it amazing how the whole purpose of social networking i.e. to promote our writing can become obscured until we have less and less time to spend on the writing which is what it was all about in the first place.

That’s how I see it anyway.  I certainly find it to be true of me.  I’m finding it hard to keep up with everything, what with work and blogging, tweeting and most importantly writing.  I feel that I maybe need to scale back what I do on social media a little to focus more on my writing.

Anyway for this week’s WIPpet Wednesday post, I’m sharing with you 4 short paragraphs from my current WIP.  My maths goes like this: 6 for the month – 2 from 2014.  Not great but I couldn’t see another way to do it.  In this scene, my MC Rebecca, who is an English teacher at a secondary school (11-16 yr olds), is teaching her class of fifth formers (15-16 yr olds).  Some of the boys are mucking around.  She’s determined to maintain control over the class…

‘Daniel Leavis, what do you think you’re doing?’ Rebecca said sternly.  She was teaching the fifth formers’ English class.  It was two thirty on a Friday afternoon, the end of a busy and stressful two weeks for her – and they were only the first two weeks into her job.

Daniel looked up at her, smirking.  She saw a bit of folded paper in his hand that he was attempting to conceal.  Feeling her patience wearing thin, Rebecca stalked up to him.

‘Whatever that is in your hand, you can give it to me.’

‘Ooh give it to you, yes please,’ Daniel’s sidekick Richard snickered under his breath.

That’s it from me this week.  If you’d like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday but are unsure how, all you have to do is post on your blog something that you’ve written recently.  Make sure it relates in some way to the date.  Then add your name here.

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

An update on how things are right now

Well I didn’t make WIPpet Wednesday this week.  Truth be told I didn’t have anything new that I’d written to share.  I’ve been busy and Wednesday just crept up on me so quickly.  I kept umming and ahhing over whether to write something at the last minute to share, but in the end I decided not to.  I was so tired I couldn’t face it.

Anyway the reason I’m busy and tired is that a couple of weeks ago I started another work placement with Bristol City Council (UK). Reason being that after I left the paid job I was doing, I decided rather than spend a lot of time on my own with only a bit of job hunting to do, I would do something constructive with my time, put the job hunting on hold and go back to the council.

I’m with a different team this time, but they’re just as lovely as the first team and I’m really enjoying it.  I felt I needed the experience and confidence boosting that the placement at the council would give me. I’m not that accustomed to the world of work due to illness over the years, so doing things this way gives me time to increase my skills and confidence.

I’m doing admin with the aim of being able to get a job in that field later on.  I enjoy working as part of a team with all the camaraderie that entails.  It’s good for me – I couldn’t have coped working alone in the job I left which you can read about here.

So what about my writing?  Well today I finished my editing of Reunion of the Heart (yay!) and I’m going to send my manuscript (via email of course) to my mum for proofreading.  The catch is that I haven’t timed things very well – she and my dad are off walking the Camino (the pilgrims’ trail in Spain) and won’t be back for another couple of weeks at the earliest!

Oh well.  That gives me time to go back to my WIP which I began working on before I started editing Reunion of the Heart.  Apart from all this I’m trying to blog as much as I can and follow as many blogs as I can.  I’m failing miserably at keeping up with all the emails of blog posts I’m getting – but hey I’m only human and I can’t look at everything.  So I’m picking and choosing, trying at least to comment on those blogs of people who’ve done me the courtesy of commenting on mine.

Talking of blogging, I’ve linked my blog to Facebook and Twitter (and then got really surprised when the number of my blog followers leapt from 181 to over 2200 lol!!).  So I’m hoping that’ll help me to give it a bit more exposure.  I also want to link up to some more social media sites – but all in good time.  At the moment I’m finding it hard to keep up with life – though things are good they’re busy and a little bit hectic. By my standards anyway!

So hopefully I can get Reunion of the Heart published by the end of the summer (hopefully being the operative word!!).  I’ll keep you posted as and when that happens.

How is your writing going at the moment?

Not doing WIPpet Wednesday – working

Yesterday I started a new job.  I’m working as the administrator for a small charity here in Bristol (UK) called Bristol Disability Equality Forum.  The charity seeks to improve the rights and treatment of disabled people.

It’s early days for me yet, but so far it’s going well.  It’s a lot of work to do – hence me not doing WIPpet Wednesday.  Also I haven’t really got anything to share as I haven’t done much writing this past week or more!  I’m currently either doing further planning on my school-set story or I’m editing my previous story which I hope to publish later this year.

So it’s exciting times for me and I hope once I’ve got into the swing of things with my job that I’ll have more time again for writing and blogging – maybe even a bit more tweeting.  Who knows?

I hope to catch up with you all (virtually) again soon. x

What’s going on in my world right now

world

I know I’ve been absent from my blog for a while. Well actually from my writing my novel a bit too. I didn’t even take part in WIPpet Wednesday this week.

The reason is that I’m preoccupied with work matters. May sound boring, actually quite exciting. Today was my first morning of my work experience with Bristol City Council (here in the-sometimes-sunny UK!).

It went really well, but I was very nervous last night and apprehensive, not to say completely knackered, which is why I didn’t take part in WIPpet Wednesday.  The people I’m going to be working with were really friendly though, and welcoming which was great.  I think the work is going to be good and I’m excited about it.

Just to confuse you, I found out today that I’ve got an interview for a part time paid job (the work experience is unpaid).  So I feel like I’m in a win win situation – if I get the paid job that’s fantastic, if not I’ve still got the work experience to be doing.

In the first paragraph of this post I mentioned that I’d been absent from my writing.  I can explain!  I’ve done well over 4000 words on my new WIP.  But although I know where I want it to go at the end, as well as some of the action that takes place in the middle, I wasn’t sure how to carry on from where I’d initially got to.

So I’ve gone back to the drawing board so to speak.  I’m fleshing out scenes that could take place between my MC and my other characters immediately after where I’ve got up to on the computer.  This is going well but taking a while, so I’ve been away from my lovely pink laptop for a while and curled up on the sofa scribbling away in my notebook.

Phew!  So now you’re pretty much up to date with where I’m at.  I hope to be doing more proper writing soon and taking part in WIPpet Wednesday again next week – lack of tiredness permitting!

Happy Writing Everyone! :-D