An interview with my MC Rebecca – WIPpet Wednesday

I wasn’t sure what to share today as I’m up to my neck in editing Teaching Mr Leavis and changing a whole lot of stuff. OK that’s putting a bit crudely, but you get the idea.

Anyway I thought I’d share with you something I’ve written especially for today: an interview with my main character from Teaching Mr Leavis, Rebecca. It’s a bit rough and ready but I hope you enjoy it. Oh and I should say that it doesn’t relate in any way to the date and it’s over 500 words long. My apologies! Here you go:

Me: I’m pleased to be interviewing the main character in my story Teaching Mr Leavis today. Her name in case you didn’t know is Rebecca. By the way I should add that we’re travelling back in time as the story is set twenty years ago. So over to you, Rebecca. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Rebecca: I will but what do you mean by the story being set twenty years ago? (Folds her arms and looks stern.)

Me: Um… nothing really. Please continue.

R: (Looks suspicious) All right, well I’m an English teacher at a secondary school called Wyncliffe High.

Me: Could you clarify what a secondary school is? We have an international audience.

R: (raises an eyebrow) We do? OK, a secondary school is for 11 to 16 year olds and at 16 the children sit their GCSEs – that stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. Then they leave.

Me: (nods) So what’s it like teaching at Wyncliffe?

R: (shrugs) It’s pretty good. Though what with this being my first year it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

Me: In what way?

R: (cheeks turn pink) I’ve had to get used to teaching – this is my first teaching job since completing my QTS – that’s qualified teacher status for those who don’t know. I got that after my degree. Anyway, I feel like I’m settling into the job now.

Me: (murmurs) In more ways than one.

R: (sharply) What was that?

Me: Um… nothing.

R: I suppose you’re referring to my love life?

Me: Well…

R: (turns red in the face) I don’t see how it’s anyone’s business but my own. Yes I’ve had my ups and downs in that department, but haven’t we all? (Pauses, smoothing down already smooth hair.) Mr Leavis and I are…

Me: What?

R: We might be an item, but we’re keeping it under wraps. For now anyway. Daniel, his son, has just finished his GCSEs so it should be easier without him at the school. I mean, it just looks bad if I’m dating my pupil’s father.

Me: (nods) But I don’t suppose anyone really cares. It’s not illegal is it?

R: (shakes head) No, that’s true but I’d hate to think that I was the subject of gossip. Though I have been warned that people do gossip at Wyncliffe. It’s just what seems to happen. I suppose that’s life. (sighs)

Me: And are you happy in your life at the moment Rebecca?

R: (smiles) Yes, very. I wouldn’t turn back the clock, not for anything.

Me: What do you mean?

R: Ending my engagement with Alex. We both made the right decision and I know that he’s happy now and I’m happy too. It’s taken a long while for me to get to this point. Now that I’m with Jonathan things are good for me. Though I hated his guts for a while. (smiles)

Me: Well I’m glad you’ve found happiness. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Rebecca. (I hold out my hand for her to shake.)

R: Thank you very much too. You helped me and Jonathan to find each other.

Me: I did? (feigns perplexity)

R: Yes, you know you did. I’m grateful for it.

Me: Maybe I helped you a little… anyway I’m glad you’re happy. See you around, Rebecca.

R: Yes, see you in the twenty first century.

(I blink and she’s gone.)

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday all you have to do is share a piece of whatever you’re working on writing-wise. It should ideally relate in some way to the date, though I’ve broken that rule today! Then add your name here.

Thank you to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. I believe she’s back from her travels now, so why not pop over to her blog and take a look? 🙂

Spotlight on author Laekan Zea Kemp

bio1I’m pleased to be promoting my fellow author Laekan Zea Kemp on my blog today. She has just released her new novel The Girl In Between, which will become perma-free on October 31st. See the links below for where you can download copies for free! And I am appearing on Laekan’s blog later on today too. She’s interviewing me about my writing process and my experience of self-publishing. Click here in a while to check it out.

Synopsis: Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23124500-the-girl-in-between
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NQL0LRC/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1GT1AKPRWGQ1B9VMPF3A&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846
Barnes & Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-girl-in-between-laekan-zea-kemp/1120421881?ean=2940150744608

TheGirlInBetween1600x2400Author Bio:

Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn’t Bury, Orphans of Paradise, Breathing Ghosts, and the Young Adult novel The Girl In Between, which is the first in an upcoming paranormal romance series.

Blog: http://laekanzeakemp.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaekanZeaKemp

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6577467.Laekan_Zea_Kemp

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/laekanzeakemp

Sort of finished – WIPpet Wednesday

wippetwednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, that time of the week when we WIPpeteers share some of what we’ve been working on writing-wise lately.

As the title of this blog post suggests I’ve finished the first draft of Teaching Mr Leavis. Yay! you might say – I’m sort of yay but not quite because now comes the hard part.

It’s come in at less than 50,000 words and ideally I want it to be longer than that. Also it needs a LOT of work on it and when I say a lot, I mean a lot! I need to tighten things up plot wise, develop underused characters, make it more romantic (yes really!) – the list is endless!

So I’ve started going through from the beginning and starting to change things. I want to edit the entire thing myself before anyone else sees it. Then maybe get an alpha reader to look at it. And only after that will I get any beta readers to take a look. Right now I’m feeling like I don’t want anyone to see it in its present state! (WIPpet Wednesday doesn’t count – I can share the better bits with you all for that!!)

Anyway onto what I’m sharing with you today. I’ve decided to share something a bit different. I thought I’d introduce you to Judith, my MC Rebecca’s disapproving mother. Rebecca and her parents – Judith and Martin – don’t see eye to eye. Judith and Martin have always wanted Rebecca to do what they think she should be doing – they don’t approve of her teaching. Rebecca won’t play ball so there’s tension. Lots of it! This scene takes place after Rebecca has had another encounter with Jonathan Leavis. Today Judith is visiting Rebecca in her flat. Rebecca’s preoccupied and things aren’t going well between them…

For today I’m sharing with you 21 sentences. My maths goes like this: 20 + 1 = 21 (I’m cheating again, taking the digits from the year!) Enjoy!

‘So how’s it all going at the school then, Rebecca?’ her mother Judith asked, taking a sip from her bone china cup of tea. It was Saturday afternoon. Rebecca’s mother and father were visiting Stokington for a few days. Maria had point blank refused to let them stay with her again so soon after their previous visit, so Judith and Martin, Rebecca’s father, were staying in a local hotel. Judith was visiting Rebecca while Martin went to explore the Stokington aviation museum, which was on the outskirts of the city.

Rebecca was silent for a moment, pondering her mother’s question. Memories of her encounter with Jonathan Leavis two days ago came flooding back. She felt heat rush to her face and downed the rest of her tea in one go.

‘Are you feeling hot?’ Judith asked. ‘It is a bit warm in here; maybe you should open the window.’

‘No, Mum, it’s all right, I’m sure I’ll cool down in a minute,’ Rebecca replied, her face warm with embarrassment. ‘School’s going well thank you. It’s busy but I’m coping.’

Barely, she added silently. She was feeling the pressure of continuing to prepare her pupils for their exams later in the school year.

Judith nodded. ‘Well you know what your dad and I say. You can always…’

‘Give it up, yes I know,’ Rebecca snapped. ‘But that’s not going to happen. I’m not going to give up after just one term. I know how much you’d love it if I did, but I won’t.’

That’s it from me today. 🙂 If you have any advice re editing/pulling a book apart let me know!

WIPpet Wednesday is open to anyone who’d like to take part. Just share with us on your blog an excerpt from whatever you’ve been working on writing-wise lately. Preferably your excerpt should relate in some way to the date. Then add your name to this linky thing.

Thanks goes to our lovely currently-travelling K. L. Schwengel for hosting.  😀

 

 

 

 

I’ve finished… sort of!

BookThis is just a quick post to say that I’ve finished my first draft of Teaching Mr Leavis, the romance about a school teacher I’ve been writing.

It’s come in at less than 50,000 words though, so at the moment although it’s technically classed as a novel, it’s a short one. Now comes the hard part. It needs a heck of a lot of editing, which in a way I’m looking forward to.

I reckon I can significantly increase the word count while at the same time improving on what’s written as I go through the editing process. Why has this story kind of run away from me and made me end at the end at what feels like too soon?

Well maybe it’s because I didn’t stick to my plan enough, that I didn’t make a detailed enough plan and so things just kind of evolved. But it’s definitely been an interesting experience so far. I’ve discovered more about the characters who’ve developed and changed during the course of the story and I’ve been able to take the plot in new and interesting directions.

So anyway I’ve decided that for now no one is going to see this story apart from me. I’m going to go through it and edit it as thoroughly as I can. Then I may well see if I can find an alpha reader to take a look at it and only after that get it beta read. I’m hoping that way I can greatly improve on what I’ve got at the moment.

I do believe it’s a promising story and could be made even better when I’ve gone through and corrected things, developed some of the subsidiary characters more and fleshed out the plot. I have to say I’m actually looking forward to this process. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but I’m hoping it’ll be worth it in the end.

What are your current writing projects looking like? Are you in the middle of editing?

A lift home

Hi all. Hope your week’s gone OK so far. I’ve been doing all right. I’ve made some progress with Teaching Mr Leavis  and I’m beginning to have at least a vague sense of where I want the story to go and how it’s going to get there. Thank  you all for your advice re first drafts – it was very helpful to have my instinct to stick with the first draft until I’ve finished it confirmed.

So for today I thought I’d share with you 10 paragraphs for the month from Teaching Mr Leavis. This scene takes place about a page on from where last week’s excerpt finished which you can read here. To see the excerpt before that go here.

In this scene Rebecca has left the club and is making her way home when she hears someone call her name. When she realises who it is her heart sinks…

‘Mr Leavis,’ Rebecca replied, her voice coming out as a groan. She didn’t care if he noticed. He walked up to her until he was standing only a few feet away. The dull orange glow from the streetlamps didn’t give her much light to see by, but nonetheless Rebecca got another good look at Jonathan Leavis.

She had to admit to herself – albeit grudgingly – that he wasn’t a bad-looking man. He was tall and had a good figure. His hair was almost black and, although short, wavy. His striking eyes were the same colour. She surmised that he was in his early forties, though he was one of those people whose age was indeterminate.

He cut a powerful figure, although he seemed a little worse for wear tonight. Maybe it was just the poor light. But he looked almost a little haggard to Rebecca, and she wondered how often he went to his club, how much he’d had to drink.  

A half-smile was on his lips; his expression was friendly enough, but Rebecca really wasn’t in the mood to have a verbal sparring match. Feeling a wave of fatigue hit her again, she cleared her throat and tried not to sound hostile as she spoke.

‘Mr Leavis, what do you want? It’s late, I’m tired and I need to go home.’

‘Would you like me to take you home?’ Jonathan asked her, giving her direct look that made her feel as though he could glimpse her soul.

Rebecca said nothing, just gawped at him. Had she heard him right? Was that really the parent from hell, Jonathan Leavis, asking her if she wanted a lift home? He has been drinking, she reminded herself, shaking her head to try and clear it of confusion.

‘I’ll take that as a no then,’ he said, pursing his lips and beginning to turn away.

Rebecca thought quickly, weighing up the pros and cons. If she went home with Jonathan she’d have to put up with his questions and general talk. Also he would see where she lived, another downside. But if she chose to get a taxi home, she’d have to wait a while for one to turn up – they weren’t all that frequent in this part of town – and it would be expensive.

‘Wait, Jonathan,’ she said, wincing as she realised she’d used his Christian name without meaning to. He turned back; she saw a half-smile creasing his lips and silently berated herself for slipping up. But she swallowed any biting comment she would have liked to make. ‘Yes, I would like a lift home, thank you.’

WIPpet Wednesday is open to everyone who would like to share some of their writing on their blog. If you want to join in, just post some of your recent writing on your blog. Ideally it should relate in some way to the date. Then add your name to this.

K. L. Schwengel is our lovely hostess. 😀

Fight!

Hi everyone! How are you? I hope OK. Here in the UK we’re just about coming to the end of our Indian summer. It’s been a very warm, dry September which is great for me as I hate winter and I want the warmer weather to last for as long as possible!

But at the same time the evenings are drawing in and I’m not used to that yet! It’ll be even worse at the end of the month when the clocks go back. 😦 Anyway, that’s my moan out of the way.

For today’s WIPpet Wednesday I thought I’d share with you 14 paragraphs from my WIP which I’m calling Teaching Mr Leavis. Thank you to all those who helped me come up with the title BTW – you know who you are! My WIPpet maths goes like this: 1 + 10 + 2 + 1. OK so I played around with the date a bit, but that’s what WIPpet Wednesday is all about!

To give you a bit of context this scene takes place BEFORE last week’s excerpt. Rebecca and her friends are at a nightclub. Rebecca has already had an encounter with Jonathan Leavis at the club. She’s seen her friend and colleague Nick (from the school where she teaches)  there too, who she likes. (She’s not keen on Jonathan!) Although she’s seen Jonathan, her friends have shown up and everything is going OK until this happens:

Two men were standing facing each other with their fists clenched, looking as though they were about to engage in fisticuffs. When Rebecca saw who the two men were, her mouth fell open. It was no less than Nick and Jonathan Leavis. What on earth?

‘Isn’t that…’ Michelle trailed off.

‘Yes it is,’ Rebecca replied. ‘Why are they arguing?’

‘Maybe they’re arguing about you,’ Karen piped up in Rebecca’s ear.

‘Get real, Karen,’ Rebecca said, then wondered for a moment if she might be right. But that couldn’t be so. She shook her head as if to clear it from troubling thoughts, and she and her friends watched engrossed while the argument between the two men continued. While she couldn’t hear clearly what was being said, Rebecca could tell from their body language that Nick and Jonathan were incandescent with rage at each other.

‘I won’t!’ Nick’s shout reached her ears. He looked as though he were about to turn around and leave, but Jonathan caught his arm and forced him to turn back and face him.

‘You coward!’ Jonathan yelled. He shook his head and turned his face away from Nick for a moment. Bu this proved to be a bad move. Jonathan was caught off guard as Nick landed a punch on his chest, clearly winding him. Although Rebecca couldn’t see well in the half-light of the club, Jonathan’s face looked almost purple. Nick turned to leave again and Rebecca watched, biting her lip with tension, as Jonathan rushed at him, pushing him over.

‘Why doesn’t someone do something?’ she muttered. But it seemed that everyone was enjoying watching what was happening too much to intervene. It looked as though Nick and Jonathan were going to get into a full blown fight. Someone was going to get seriously hurt. She shook her head. Standing up and ignoring her friends’ protestations, Rebecca left the alcove and weaved her way through the crowds of onlookers until she had reached the space where the two men were.

Saying nothing, she walked into the centre of the space and positioned herself so that she was standing in between them. Her lips pursed, she glared at them.

‘What are you doing, Rebecca?’ Nick asked, pulling himself up off the floor. It was the most he’d said to her for days. His face was red and she noticed that his eyes were bloodshot. He sounded annoyed.

Rebecca felt a hand on her arm. She turned to see Jonathan, a calmer, serious expression on his face.

‘Yes, Miss Engleton, this is between Nick and me,’ he said.

‘Maybe it is,’ she replied. ‘But you’re about to hurt each other. Couldn’t you at the very least do it outside and allow the rest of us to continue with our evening?’ She paused, looking from Nick to Jonathan and back again. Jonathan’s face was as red as Nick’s, if not more so. But his eyes were their usual dark hue.

‘Better still, cut it out,’ she said finally. ‘I really don’t want to have to be the one to call the police or worse still an ambulance.’

Hoped you enjoyed that! As always your comments are welcome. WIPpet Wednesday is open to anyone who’d like to share a bit of their writing. So if you fancy doing that just post a bit of your latest work on your blog. Then add your name to this. Don’t forget to check out the offerings from the other WIPpeteers.

Thanks goes to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. 🙂

The story’s changing…

Novel

I’m having an interesting time writing my new as-yet-untitled novel.  I must decide on a title soon I guess, but at the moment I’m stumped on what to call it.

Anyway, I digress. Ideas for a title is not what I wanted to talk about in this (short) post. Rather I wanted to talk about something that I guess happens a lot for authors – the plot veering away somewhat from the plan. OK, so I know some many of you are pantsers.

Well I’m not – I’m definitely a plotter. BUT my plot does tend to veer away quite a bit from the original plan.  It’s something that happened in Reunion of the Heart and it’s happening with this story too. This new story I’m writing is a romance too and I’m wondering exactly how my MC is going to get with the person I intended her to get with when it seems as though she’s deliberately disobeying me and leading me to write her falling for someone else completely.

So I think what I’m going to have to do is somehow drag her back at least towards the original plan, rather than completely away from it, and create a diversion so to speak so that she gets with the right guy.

Does this sounds familiar to anyone?  I mean it doesn’t necessarily have to happen when you’re writing a romance, right?  From what I’ve read on other writers’ blogs, this sort of thing happens a great deal to authors writing in all kinds of different genres.

And I just wanted to ask: when you find your characters pulling you away from your original plot or idea, what do you do?  Do you pull them back onto the straight and narrow?  Or do you go with the flow and let them take you somewhere new?

As always your thoughts are welcome.