Sunday, 28 August 2016

Inside The Author: My Hopes & Dreams As An Author


MY HOPES AND DREAMS AS AN AUTHOR

When I first took up my pen and started to make a book out of the thirty-six pages I'd written at thirteen of THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE, I wasn't really sure if it would be something I would continue with. I was nineteen and my world had just collapsed at my feet. I had been medically retired from the professional life and I had just been given not one, but two chronic condition diagnoses. Both of which carried a controversial stigma. I was facing that fact that I would probably never work a "proper" job again and faced with the rest of my life being sick, tired and unable to work, I didn't really know what I wanted to do.

After I finished editing and re-writing that book, I moved quickly onto writing BLACKOUT because it was an idea that I'd had for a long time, and I was desperate to finally get it out of my head and onto paper. I still didn't really know if this was going to be anything. I didn't know if I would ever fulfil my pipe dream of becoming a published author. I wasn't looking for fame and fortune, though it would have been nice, I was just looking for a way to define myself now that I no longer had a job. Had you asked me then what my hopes and dreams were in regards to my writing, they would have been simple: Find my way and see at least one of my books in print.

You see, I never planned to write more than those two. I certainly didn't have the idea for the DYING THOUGHTS series or anything beyond the two books I had written already. It wasn't until my best friend read both books and told me to pursue my "dream" that I started to submit BLACKOUT to publishers. I don't need to tell you what happened because you already know that. My point is that thirteen years ago when I started writing as a job, it wasn't a  lifelong dream, nor was it planned. Life handed me lemons and I decided to make some lemonade.

However, now that I'm thirty-four, have added a few more chronic conditions to the list and am pretty much a full time wheelchair user, I have different hopes and dreams in regards to my writing. I'm still not wishing for fame and fortune, though again, it would be nice, but I am wishing and hoping for a few other things. I could make a long laundry list of things I'd like to achieve as an author, but since I don't have all the time in the world and I'd like to actually write some more books, I'll give you a few of them.

#1 - FINISH WHAT I STARTED: THE END OF DYING THOUGHTS
When I first brought Tara into the world, I planned five books to see her to the end of her secondary education. I never planned to go further than that because I didn't know if there would be any reason to go past that age. After writing four books and starting the fifth, I realised that I wanted to see Tara into her first proper job. I wanted to put her through the education needed to end up working a job she would love. I'm about to finish the sixth book in the series and have already planned number seven, which still won't be the end. One thing I do know is where she will end her story, and I'm writing that book as we speak. My big hope is to finish her story, give the readers closure and give Tara a happy ever after, or at least enough of one for people to feel like she's okay in her world.

#2 - THE ORIGINAL TEN: PUBLISHING THEM ALL
After BLACKOUT was published, I realised that I could keep writing, but I wanted a number to aim towards. I picked ten because at that point I had four written. With the five DYING THOUGHTS books already planned, I figured that five standalone books would complement them nicely. Although I have surpassed that in books written, if not completed, I would still like to get to a point where I have ten books published. With DESTINATION: UNKNOWN due out, bringing my total to nine, I don't have long to wait until I reach that goal.

#3 - INVISIBLE VISIBLE: REPRESENTATION FOR ALL
As someone who has spent their whole adult life needing medications, mobility aids and equipment to keep me either mobile, breathing and out of pain, I want to show young disabled teens that it is possible to have a somewhat normal life. I want to give them people they can see that are just like them. Whether that's showing them my own life, or giving them characters they can relate to in fiction. It's important to me to be able to show people that just because our conditions are invisible doesn't mean that we are too. It's important for everyone to be able to see themselves in the media and that includes works of fiction.

#4 - INDIE LABEL: DEVELOPING BUG BOOKS
Bug Books is my own indie label. One of my dreams as an author is to be able to develop it into a proper independent publishing house that will allow other writers, young and old to publish their own works. I know how hard it is to break into the publishing business and whilst it is easier now with the rise of self-publishing and small indie labels, it's still pretty daunting when you've never done it before. I want others to be able to learn from my mistakes and be able to launch their careers themselves with a helping hand from someone who has been there before. Before I do that, I have a lot more to learn, but every new hurdle I go over allows me to pick myself up and carry on with my day.

#5 - FAME, FORTUNE AND LIVING COMFORTABLY.
Okay, I lied, I do wish for fame and fortune, but who doesn't! ;-)

So, those are my hopes and dreams as an author. I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you to all the blogs who have hosted me on this tour, as well to the people who helped to arrange it all and to you, the readers. I love my job, I'm sure you'll have picked up on that from my pieces along the way, but writing for readers is kinda in my job description and just as much as I love putting fingers to keys, I love hearing from readers too. So, drop me a line on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, come along for the ride on Tumblr or just check out my blog, I'm always up for questions!


Follow Joey here on her blog, on Facebook, or Tumblr to be sure to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Inside The Author: Dealing With Writer's Block




DEALING WITH WRITER'S BLOCK

I think every profession that deals with some kind of creative outlet has a word like "writer's block". For artists it's something, and for crafty people, it's something else. For me, and many writers like me, it's that darned writer's block. I've written pieces on it before my blog, but I thought it would be a good idea to visit again. Everyone who relies on some kind of inspiration to get their work done has their own tricks to get past the road block that it puts up in your mind. Here are some of mine.

#1 - TAKE A STEP BACK
I know that sometimes when I have difficulty moving past a scene or knowing where to go next with a story, that if I take a step back I am sometimes able to work it out and move past it. Sometimes that means closing the file on my computer and doing something completely different and other times it means just giving myself a few minutes to breathe. Once you've gotten more adept at working out which one you need to do, you'll find you're able to choose the better option for each situation.

#2 - GIVE MYSELF TIME
Another big one for me is that when I'm about to fall asleep, my brain seems to go a million miles an hour and I find that I'm thinking about the scene I've been working on, or sometimes one that's coming up that I've been worried about. In the land between sleep and awake, I seemed to be better equipped to deal with the problems I'm facing in my writing. The only annoying thing about that is sometimes I think something through, go to sleep and then when I wake up in the morning I know that I found a solution, I just can't remember the bloody thing!

#3 - LET MY MIND WANDER
You have the chance to work through issues when you're doing other mundane things like emptying the dishwasher or watching a TV show that you're only watching because you have a nine year old who loves Animal Planet. While you're doing your daily exercise at the gym, or queuing up to pay for your shopping. All of these are great opportunities to let yourself think about different scenarios for your story. Sometimes all it takes is a little time to think, when you don't have to be concentrating on something else.

And finally, #4 - TRY DIFFERENT "DOORS"
You know how in some old movies or TV quiz shows they would have doors that someone had to choose and no one really knew what was behind each door. You can do that while blocked as well. Nothing is set in stone and so if you do decide to open door number one and find that it ends in a way that you don't like, nothing is stopping you from changing your mind and going through door number two. You have as many doors as you can think of and maybe you'll find that it doesn't follow your plan, but it takes you somewhere completely different and allows you to either get back on track or sends you down a different path.

So, yes, writer's block will happen. It will also drive you insane when you feel like all you have to do is write and you can't, however, once you get to grips with why you're blocked, there are numerous ways to think or write your way out of it. I know that there have been times that I have backed myself into a corner and then managed to get out of it after I've spent a few days, weeks or even months really thinking about it. Like the frozen lakes in Spring, everything has to melt at some point.


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Sunday, 14 August 2016

Inside The Author: What Do I Love Writing?



WHAT DO I LOVE ABOUT WRITING?

For me the rush that comes from writing is not only when I get the idea and get to start planning it, but also from writing the beginning and then the end. I'm addicted to words and they get me high pretty much every day. My name is Joey and I'm a word nerd. I'm addicted to writing and I love every part of it, from writing the first word, to moulding the plot and to typing that last phrase that will tie up the loose ends into a little bow and end the characters story.

However, these things do take time, but how much time? The short answer to that is it varies. I've been writing for fifteen years now and the long and short of it is that sometimes I'll start a book and it'll take me another six or so years to get it to the point where I can happily call it finished, as was the case with THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE. I started writing that when I was thirteen, but it wasn't finished until I was nearly twenty.

Or, like with BLACKOUT, where from first word to last, only ten days passed. I originally only gave it ten chapters - and they were VERY long ones too. I wrote a chapter a day, starting in the morning, writing pen to paper (not like now where I can only type) and then spent the evening typing it up and editing as I went. However after some serious thought and consideration considering that it was a young adult book and the fact that I also prefer when chapters are shorter, I made it into the twenty-five plus chapters it is today. I didn't need to change anything, just used some of the natural stopping points. So, as far as that book was concerned, it was a short, quick and thrilling ride from starting the book to the rush when writing the last sentences.

It's always been something I have looked for in other areas of my life. When I worked a conventional job before I became ill, I didn't get that from my work. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED my job and I was good at it. Had I not become sick with M.E and the Fibro, then I would probably still be doing it now, some fifteen years later. However, life has a funny way of pushing you into things that you never even dreamed could happen. I did become sick and I did become a writer and now I don't just love my job, I NEED it!

I know what you're thinking, how can writing a few words on a page provide this "rush" I'm talking about? And what does that have to do with how long it takes me to finish a book? I promise you that I'm not just talking nonsense, there is a feeling of such elation when doing a job you love, and doing it well, that just can't be described in words, and I'm addicted to the words. It's also related because while I may experience, as many writers do, writer's block at some points, it's the rush I'm pursuing when I get close to the end. When I get close to starting a whole new story and entering a whole new world, meeting brand new (and sometimes old too) characters and hearing their stories. It's something that I would highly recommend you try to do in your life.

Sometimes, you want to push the thrill to see how long it will last. Life moves you round and while you thought that you'd manage to get this one book finished in a year, it turns into two and then three before you know it. That's life and while it still gives you some kind of buzz to actually sit and write when you can, it's not just about keeping the high going. If someone was to ask me what it is about writing that gives me this rush, this high, this thrill I couldn't really tell you. It's so much of it that contributes to it that it sometimes seems it's just the whole thing.

I love the beginning, setting the scene and giving the reader the idea of where you're taking them. I love writing the important plot points that I have written over and over in my head as I've waited for the chance to write them. I love the middle when you're knee deep in plot, with murders to solve, people to fall in love with and the answers to come to you. I love it when you're so close to the ending that you can almost see it, but it's not close enough to touch. I love writing the ending, knowing that the words have fallen where they may and you've done it, you've actually finished it! Going past the writing part, I love seeing the story after you've finished editing, I love making the promotional graphics and ordering bookmarks and assorted swag for giveaways. I love working with my artist who designs my front covers and seeing them stage by stage as my characters have a face. I love hitting "publish" when it's all come together and it's ready to send out into the world. I just love it all.

My name is Joey Paul and I am many things, but mostly, I'm a word nerd.



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Sunday, 7 August 2016

Inside The Author: Tips For Aspiring Authors



TIPS FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS 

I know that as someone who has used a vanity press and someone who has had (and lost) a traditional publishing contract, since become an indie author, I get a lot of questions asking me how I did it. There has been a lot of bad feeling in the writing community that those who are not published by a big traditional publisher are somehow less worthy of the title "author". It's not just divided between those who are indie or self-published and those who aren't, it's within all the communities too. However, as someone who has been doing this for nearly eleven years, I can say that the way publishing works is changing. In the past, it was not easy to get into the book and writing world without an agent and someone to guide you. With the success of e-books and growing reliance on all things digital, in addition to places such as Amazon and Smashwords that offer free resources that allow someone to publish their work, it's getting much simpler and easier to get your work out to the public for free without the need for a gatekeeper.

The advice and tips I'd offer someone who was trying to break into the book world vary depending on their hopes and dreams for the outcome. There is nothing wrong with dreaming big, of bestsellers and making the New York Times list, of winning awards and becoming rich. Everyone has dreams like that when starting out as a writer. And I know that realistically, when you see how many books there are available on Amazon or in a bookstore, and you think about how many big names you can mention for your chosen genre, you know not everyone will make it big and become a household name in regards to their work. Still, it's nice to day dream and fill your days with wonder. But it also pays to be realistic. So, here's some of my tips for aspiring authors.

#1 - "Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go." E.L. Doctorow
When writing your first draft, you're basically telling yourself the story. You're jumping into the pool, at the deep end, feet first and hoping that you don't drown. As the quote above says, you start from nothing and then you build up from there. You have to remember though that your first draft is just that, a draft. It is not the end product and no-one, not even Stephen King or J K Rowling, published their first draft. So, take your time, stop and smell the roses and don't be too hard on yourself. Learn as you go and remember that the beauty of writing is that nothing is set in stone. You can change later, just get the story out onto the page and tell it the best way you know how.

#2 - "You only learn to be a better writer by actually writing." Doris Lessing
As with most skills, you will get better as you carry on. You will learn from your mistakes and you will go forth and produce better quality work and hone your skills. Don't make the mistake of sending your first draft to an editor, whether you intend to indie publish or not. Allow yourself time to correct and get better. And keep writing, because without practice, you won't get to the point where you can say to yourself that you have done the best you can with this story and it's time to move forward.

#3 - "Everyone needs an editor." Tim Foote
No matter how good you are at grammar, spelling, punctuation and all of that, you will need someone to edit your work. You may think you have caught all the errors and you may think that your finished draft is good enough to pass, but never forgo the editing process. That process is best undertaken by someone else, because they will be objective. They will look at your work and they will see what you are trying to say and will be able to conclude whether or not you've been successful. If the editor doesn't understand why you had your character do or say something, then it's likely that the reader won't either. A good editor is not someone who just checks the spelling and sentence structure, but someone who takes your work to pieces and puts it back together again with your help. They work with you, not against you, and do not be afraid to keep trying with different editors until you find one that fits your end goal.

#4 - "People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it." Harlan Ellison
Writing is hard, it's not a simple magic trick and it's not just like vomiting words onto a page, although sometimes it can feel like that. Don't be discouraged by your writer's block and don't be discouraged if you have to cut something that you worked on for hours and hours. When you're writing, you put your blood, sweat and tears into the work and sometimes it seems like even then, that's not enough. Take comfort in the knowledge that a good story exists in all of us, and that it can take months, years, even decades for a book to be finished from the first to the last word. As the first point said, keep going, because you're learning as you go, and there's nothing wrong with that.

And finally, #5 - "I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged." Erica Jong
Don't be afraid to say that you've finished something. There is always the temptation to keep chipping away at what you've done because you want to get it just right. That's the path to unfinished work and a ticket for the train to crazy town, because until you've gotten to the point where you can sit back and say that you've done all you can, that this is the final draft before editing (or even after editing, there is such a thing as too much editing!), you are just someone with an idea and lots of stress and anxiety. It's hard to let go of something you've slaved over and worked on into the wee hours of the morning and let someone else, someone who may not like it, read it, but it has to be done. However, just because you get a rejection letter, it doesn't mean that you should abandon all hope and cross out the word "writer" on your office door. It takes time to be accepted, it takes time to work out the kinks and to find a publishing house - indie or otherwise - that's the right fit for you work. Don't lose hope, keep going and keep dreaming big!



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Monday, 1 August 2016

Final Tally for July 2016 - #JoWriMoGo


The final tally for July 2016: 58 pages, 28.145 words and 12 chapters written!!

Not my best month, but not something to worry about either. Now onto a new month!

Friday, 29 July 2016

Inside The Author: Fifteen Years As A Writer: Where Next?




FIFTEEN YEARS AS A WRITER, WHERE NEXT?

When I think back to how it all began, to the day I sat down against my bed and pulled out THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE (or rather, what it was in 2001 before I took it apart for the last time and made it an actual book), I can't really see how I got from there - nineteen, sick and being told I was "retired" and would probably never work a conventional job again - to here - thirty-four, sicker, and writing books having completed a university degree, with my ninth book about to be published.

I don't mean that I don't know how I got here, I do. Lots of time, energy, blood, sweat, tears, foul language and hard work. I mean that when I was that person whose world had just broken in front of them, I never saw it ending up like this. I had no idea that I would've written almost sixteen books and having released my ninth and I know that sounds stupid, or like I'm being falsely modest, but honestly, I'm not. Looking back, I can see that scared teenager in my mind's eye. Scared that she had finally found a job she loved (the job I was retired from), and was finally doing well, even excelling at something and then M.E came along and pulled the rug out from under her. I'd never been a well and healthy person, but suddenly going from the person I was before to the person I was after scared the hell out of me.

I never expected that the book I wrote as a thirteen year old, huddled in my school library, would end up on shelves and have people reading it. Oh, I dreamed and I dreamed big. I dreamed of being signed by a big publishing house and making enough money to spend holidays in the Maldives with my family and my friends' families, but I knew that it wasn't likely to happen. And it still really hasn't happened quite that way. I don't make a huge amount, I am certainly not making enough to pay for thirty people to spend two weeks on a sunny, isolated island, but I'm happy with what I do. I love what I do and I enjoy what I do, so I guess that's the main thing, right?

So, what's my next stop? Well, I plan to continue to write two books at a time, usually averaging a finishing time of about eighteen months from first word to last. I plan to continue to release one book a year until I run out of my backlog and then I plan to release as often as I'm able to. Hopefully that won't happen for a while yet though. I'd also like to be nominated for an award - winning one would be awesome and beyond my wildest dreams, but to be nominated would be enough for me right now. I'd also love to take the Bug Books label and launch it properly, opening it up to other authors looking for an indie publisher that will help them realise their dream of seeing their book on Amazon. Both of those are really long term goals though. 


Another long term goal is to finish the DYING THOUGHTS series and possibly start another string of books. One of my next projects is a book that may end up being a two-parter, or possibly even a trilogy. It really depends on length and plot. I know that left to my own devices I could write about it for a few hundred thousand words and while 150K is not unheard of for a YA book, I wouldn't like to push it too much over that, but I also don't want to risk cutting out parts of the story that need to be told. So, I'm waiting until I finish planning the book to see where it goes and how that pans out. I'd like to explore some other genres as well as sticking with my old favourites and I'd like to possibly branch out and explore other aspects of life for teenagers. I would love to write about more disabled characters because I feel that there is a lack of representation in the media for young disabled adults and teens to relate to; the same goes for those with chronic illnesses.

I guess I have a lot of plans and it wasn't until I sat down to write this piece that I realised exactly how many I did have! Mostly though, I want to continue to write as much as my health and life allows. I love telling stories and I love getting feedback from people - both readers and those in the field, so for now, my main goal is to keep doing what I love.


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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Inside The Author: Why Don't I Release All The Ones I've Written?


WHY DON'T I RELEASE ALL THE BOOKS I'VE WRITTEN?

For those of you who have been following either my blog, or this book blog tour, you'll have realised that I'm working on books that are further ahead than the number I've released. For example, DYING THOUGHTS - FOURTH WEEK is my eighth book and at the time of writing, I'm working on the first chapters of books fifteen and sixteen. I have had a number of people ask me why I haven't just done a mass release as I've obviously finished the books and if I just got them all edited and ready, I would have a bigger arsenal to my name.

There are a number of reasons why I don't do that. One of these is that when I was first published through AuthorHouse, I couldn't afford to get more than one book published, yet I kept writing. This led to me accumulating a "backlog", so to speak. When I started as an indie author under the Bug Books label, I did release a number of books at once. My first four were all released within the space of a few months. I then followed six months later with my fifth, LYNNE & HOPE and since then have done one a year. I did initially plan to release one in the summer and another the following winter and continue on that pattern, but the amount of time, effort and energy spent getting a book ready meant that I couldn't keep up with it, and neither could my editor.

I am chronically ill and my energy is closely guarded. I wanted to keep writing, and I am also terrified of getting to the point where I'm working on the book that is the next to be released. I know that everyone has to work to some kind of deadline, but since I got sick, I don't do well with them. I was the same with my uni work - I got ahead of the schedule so that when not feeling 100%, I could take time off without the added stress of falling behind and having to catch up. I spend a lot of time in the hospital and also in bed resting, as well as time spent when I am just too ill to even think about writing.

I work around it in some ways by having a tablet which I can use to write with when I'm in the hospital, or when I'm just stuck in bed. I'm usually well enough to at least sit in my wheelchair at my desk, but sometimes I just can't cope with the energy spent typing and thinking. I know it sounds weird to people who have no experience of this kind of chronic illness, but for me, it's a fact of life.

So, I choose to avoid the stress and worry of disappointing readers because I have not yet finished the latest book by having a backlog of books. It's another reason why I write two at once, not just because it works for me, but because when (and it will happen eventually) I get to the point where I am working on my latest release, I will hopefully also be working on the one that comes after it.

Another reason is the sheer amount of energy it takes for me to read through my first draft and get it ready to send to my editor. I also like to let my work sit and rest for a while before going back to it with fresh eyes and reading it through. It helps me to be more objective about what needs to be in the story and what doesn't and it means that I can read it as if I were a reader and not the author. I found that when I read and edit my first draft so soon after writing, I'm still in the whole "it's my baby and perfect, don't criticise" mindset, which some writers get after they've slaved away at a keyboard for a year or so.

On top of that, it allows me time to work out what design I want for the front cover, and gives my artist time to work on that. Both my cover designer and editor have other life commitments that mean it is not their full time job and while they both work very hard to bring their A game to the table, life sometimes gets in the way. Overall, it gives us all a bit of breathing space to make sure that when the book is released, it's the best it can be, with the best cover it can have and tells the story in the best way possible. So, while it may seem that it's a bit backward, it's the way I found allows for any ill health and also keeps me steadily releasing a book a year and still finding the time (and energy) to write more!


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Thursday, 14 July 2016

Inside The Author: How Long Will I Write For?



HOW LONG WILL I WRITE FOR?

I don't think any writer really ever plans how long their career will last. As I've said before, it all depends on how long they can keep the ideas going in addition to other real life commitments. Of course, many writers would prefer that their day job was writing, but it's not always possible for that to happen. Life has a way of getting in the way of the best laid plans, but I always had some idea as to how my writing career would go.

When I was first published, I planned to write ten books; five of the DYING THOUGHTS series and five standalones. It was only a year or so ago when I was writing the last words to my ninth and tenth books that I realised I still had more writing to do. I had plans for my next two books and so I decided I would aim for fifteen books, with the option of going to twenty if I ever hit that target. As it stands now, I have nearly finished my eleventh and twelfth books - in fact by the time this is published, I think I'll be in the beginning chapters of the next two - and I already have more than a small plan for the main plots of my next projects.

I've always said that I will write until I run out of ideas or until someone tells me to stop, and I think that even if someone did say that to me, I wouldn't actually be able to. I've been writing as a job now for the past thirteen years, published for almost ten years, and I'm nowhere near running out of steam. I figure that as long as my health allows it, then I will continue to write, because it's not just a job for me now, it's something I live and breathe for. It's my passion. I get my inspiration from everything and see ideas, characters and plot twists in everyday life, as I'm sure many other writers do. I feel like I still have a number of stories left to tell, a number of characters left to create and breathe life into, and until I get to the point where I'm no longer getting light bulb moments, I plan to keep going.

Of course, that doesn't mean that I'll be continuing the DYING THOUGHTS series forever. As it stands, I thought five  books would be enough to tell Tara's story, but it's turned into eight. All good things must come to an end and although Tara and Kaolin have been with me almost since the beginning of my career, there will come a time when I have to say that they have told all there is to tell and I must close the book on their lives and let them be. I have the idea that it'll be when Tara is in the police force as a paid and trained officer, but even then, I'm not too sure if I'll get to that point.

As for my others books, well I have plans and ideas and one of the projects I will start on soon has the potential to become a two book series or a trilogy. I don't want the book to be a brick, but at the same time I don't want to end it before it's ready, so I'll spend some serious time thinking about whether or not it can be told in one shot or if it needs to be spread out over two or three parts. I won't really know until I start writing and get some idea of how long it will be. That's another part that I really do like about the job, you don't know what's going to happen every day. You can plan and think ahead but sometimes it's not until you're knee deep in a scene that you realise things aren't going to go to plan and you have to take a left turn. It's constantly surprising me and while it continues to do that, I'll continue to write.



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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

From Joey's Instagram


[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square photo of a white door with a small rectangle sign hung on the door. It's held up with string and is white, with a page from book placed in the middle. On top of the page are the words "I'm not sleeping, I'm plottting!" The caption reads: Because a #writer never sleeps!]



[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square photo of a black phone screen. In the middle if the front cover for Destination: Unknown, which has two train tickets, one is orange and green and reads: "Destination: Unknown" while the other, underneath the right hand corner of the first is brown with "1910" on the edges as well as the words "Joey Paul" in the centre. On the edge of the screen is another cover for a book, though it is not clear what book. The caption reads: Happy Release Day!! Destination: Unknown is live on Amazon!]



[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A square photo of Joey Paul (me) a cis, female white woman sat up in bed against a rose coloured headboard. She has short brown hair, wire rimmed glasses and is smiling. The caption reads: So I'm on the writing train lately and feeling good about it. I feel like I'm actually an author today which is a feeling that comes and goes, but to celebrate the good here's a selfie of me after a hard day's work resting in bed with my tablet. Back to work tomorrow!]

As always,  I am just starting out with image descriptions, so please do jump in if I've made an error!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Inside The Author: Writing Waiting On You


WRITING WAITING ON YOU 

I started writing WAITING ON YOU in the spring of 2007, I had finished my last book and the idea for a new one was fresh in my mind. I was in a long distance relationship and with the success of the internet, it was becoming commonplace for people to meet online, date and even end up married. I wanted to write a book about two teenagers who came from different walks of life and met online. I wanted it to be my first foray into the world of romance fiction and although I had always stuck with crime plots, it was something I wanted to at least try.

Angelina lived in Keswick in Cumbria, her family were not as loving as they could have been, she had a difficult time with both her sisters and her mother. She also struggled with friends at school and they never had the money for her to do much of anything. She finds her solace and rescue in the form of a computer and internet connection from her Aunt who lives miles away. It's intended to just be a tool to help her with her school work, but it opens up a new world for her - a world of friends and the possibility of escaping her life.

In contrast, Zack is one of six children, living in London, with parents who are at work more than they're home. He has a mountain of responsibility on his shoulders, but has always been afforded the luxury of never worrying whether he will eat. He is surrounded by a loving family and has friends at school as well. He's sixteen, compared to Angelina's fourteen, and is well known in the chat room that they both use and ultimately end up meeting in. Zack takes a shine to Angelina, and eventually they get close and start to date. It's a whirlwind romance and all Zack wants to do is rescue Angelina from her horrific life. Only it's not as easy as it seems and despite his want and need to do the right thing, it doesn't all work out the way he planned.

It was while writing this book that I started to write a second book alongside, a practice I have since adopted as a way that works for me. I found that while I had a lot of ideas about how things could go with the book, getting them down on paper was harder than I had first realised. It did all come together (with a few breaks from writing here and there) and I finally finished the book in the Autumn of 2009. Looking back at the way my own long distance relationship worked out, I'm glad to say that although that relationship ended badly, the one between Angelina and Zack was not affected by that and has a somewhat happier ending... though maybe not the one they both hoped for.

Overall, I did enjoy getting to know both Angelina and Zack and seeing the world through their eyes. It was my first time writing from the point of view of a sixteen year old boy and while I may not have first-hand experience in that, I feel like I did a good job moulding Zack and giving him a voice. The same applies to Angelina. I may not have had the experience of a home life like hers, but I have been fourteen and feeling like the world is caving in around me and that no one would care if I wasn't there. I have also had the joy and relief that comes when you realise that someone does actually care and does want good things for you. For me, it was a friend, for Angelina is was Zack. I hope that in writing their story, I'm able to show that sometimes what you wish for can come true, but it doesn't always happen the way you thought it would. In other words, life gets better and it goes on getting better, you just have to hang on through the tough parts and hold on to people around you who care about you. There is always someone who cares, you may just not have met them yet.



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