A Sense of Place

Reuben Powell Claydon House Heygate Estate

Claydon House, Heygate Estate, by Reuben Powell. For more of his work, go to Hotel Elephant http://hotelelephantgallery.blogspot.co.uk/

When I’m thinking of a new story, I usually start with a ‘what if’ question – what if you couldn’t remember parts of your childhood? (Tarnished) ‘What if, sixteen years down the line, you bumped into the man you nearly left your husband for (indeed, your own personal ‘what if’) and you still had that deep chemistry thing going on?’ (Every Vow You Break), or ‘What if your husband died and his lover hung around in your life, claiming in no uncertain terms that you owed her something?’ (Her Husband’s Lover).… read more

Write it all down

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My three 1980 notebooks

I am a great fan of notebooks. I have always kept what I call an Everything Book: just one journal that I carry everywhere with me in which I put everything: notes taken at meetings; ideas for stories;  word or line sketches of things that take my fancy; eavesdroppings; doodles (rather too many doodles, if truth be told).

Why an Everything Book? Well, I am an alphabetiser, an organiser, a categoriser. By recording everything in just one place, I save a lot of energy that would otherwise be wasted by deciding where to put it.… read more

How NaNoWriMo stopped my fear and helped me find my fourth career

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(This post expands on a NaNoWriMo pep talk I wrote a couple of years back).

Are you at the end of the first week of NaNoWriMo 2013? If so, congratulations!

If you are (and even if you’re not), it’s likely that you will be very familiar with this scary thought:

When you start to create something, YOU ARE FACED WITH INFINITE POSSIBILITIES.

You may sense the germ of an idea, a character, a colour, a bit of story or a setting, but beyond that, once you sit down to start whatever it is you’re making, anything can happen; you’re simply finding the best path through the whole universe of choice.… read more

TARNISHED launch

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Last week it was the launch party for TARNISHED, held at Brighton Waterstones. Despite the strange, heavy April snowstorm that kicked off at about the same time as the launch, it was a great night. Loads of people turned up and enjoyed wine generously supplied by my publishers Headline, and amazing mozzarella, parmesan, parma ham and various salume provided, as ever, by my sis-in-law’s company the Ham & Cheese Co.

A book launch is a marvellous thing for the author.… read more

Win a signed copy of Tarnished!

I am completely delighted to let you know that Tarnished is book of the month at You’re Booked – the online community for crime readers and writers over at the Harrogate International Festivals Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival site.

Not only that, but they are running a competition to win a signed copy.

It’s not a piece of cake, though. You have to answer a devilishly difficult question…… read more

TARNISHED publication day!

It’s a funny old business, publication day. Particularly when it’s your third book and you’re writing a fourth, and the deadline is looming.

For your first novel you go out and have a long, boozy lunch, ‘possibly’ followed by an ill-advised walk along the seafront. Your second might see you nipping out to the pub and perhaps sharing a bottle or two of champagne in the evening with a couple of mates.… read more

Tarnished copies arrive!

OK, so I know it doesn’t look much different to the book in the photograph on my last but one post, but believe me, this is a different thing altogether.

They arrived a couple of days ago, a big box of them: beautiful, pristine, gorgeous and smelling as brand new books should.

It’s the finished trade paperback of my new novel TARNISHED, and, unlike the bound proof, it shouldn’t have any typos or errors. I am bracing myself to go through it and check, but as I’m loath to spoil the illusion of perfection it gives me as I flick through it today, perhaps I’ll put my Jonathan Franzen moment off until tomorrow.… read more

About Plotting and Planning

Last week I ran a three-hour MA class on plotting at City University. Apart from being one of the scariest things I have ever said yes to (and I admit this as a constant yes-person), planning the session coincided with a small sea-change in my working process.

If you have even glanced at some of my previous posts, you will have gleaned that, in NaNoWriMo parlance, I am a pantser, not a plotter.… read more

TARNISHED proofs arrive!

This is one of the most thrilling moments in the life of an author. Well, I suppose winning a major literary prize – say the Booker – might almost be up there… It’d be good to find out.

But really! Back down to earth, Crouch. This is the moment. You have spent the past year grappling with the contents of your mind, trying to give this story you have to tell shape and form and voice, feeling sometimes exhilarated, more often downhearted, wilting with guilt about leaving it alone for more than a day, feeling sick if youdon’t hit your deadlines; dreaming and thinking and scribbling and writing and writing and rewriting and cutting and slaying.… read more

Next Big Thing

The Street in Tankerton

Last week, Rosanna Ley tagged me in her blog for this, which is a sort of chain blog thing, where you answer questions about your next book and tag five other writers to take up from you. It’s a great idea, but I’m suffering from mathematics, because practically everyone I know has already done it.

So I’m not able to pass it on to quite five, but I hope you’ll take a look at the blogs of the lovely writers at the end of this article, who should be posting within a week (but it is the holiday season, so perhaps we can be a bit more lenient about timescale than we might normally be).… read more