It’s an absolute thrill to be invited to write a guest blog for the fabulous Jungle Red Writers blog, which is made up of eight brilliant crime fiction writers – Julia Spencer-Fleming, Jan Brogan, Lucy Burdette, Kallie Ephron, Rhys Bowen, Deborah Crombie, Hank Phillippi Ryan and Rosemary Harris. You can read my blog here, and make sure you check out their brilliant site while you’re there.
I am a glutton when it comes to books. My desires are larger than my reading time – which is why I have two crates full of books sitting in my bedroom right now, all of which I want to read, and yet I keep getting more – because there’s just so much temptation around! Sometimes, during the periods when my writing gets intense, I have to put my reading pleasures aside for a while, and boy do I miss it. I emerge from isolation like a racehorse from a starting gate, and the pile of books at my bed begins a period of rapid turnover (or at least it did before I had a child, I’ve had to slow down a bit). During these times, I try to blog about the books I love. You’ll find these recommendations listed on my facebook page, and full reviews on my website and on goodreads.com. I read a wide variety of genres, but I think you’ll quickly determine that I’m attracted to strong psychological dramas – which probably won’t come as much surprise if you’ve read my books. I hope you enjoy my selections, and wish us all many hours of happy reading!
Jayne at the fabulous Australian Bookshelf site invited me to write a guest blog as part of Aussie August month. There’s also a copy of Beneath the Shadows up for grabs, and all you have to do is leave a comment. Offer ends 31 August. Click here to visit the page, or go to http://australianbookshelf.wordpress.com/
My good friend Natasha Lester has invited me onto her blog to talk about that tricky business of the commercial/literary fiction divide. It’s a frustrating but necessary topic that both of us have become familiar with over the last year or so. To read our thoughts, click here, or visit Natasha’s blog at http://whilethekidsaresleeping.wordpress.com/
Thanks for having me, Natasha!
I’m the guest blogger all week on the Random House Australia blog site: http://randomhouseaustralia.wordpress.com/ So far I’ve written about my heroine, Grace; why the North Yorkshire moors was the perfect setting for a novel; and about losing the plot (and why bad words aren’t necessarily a bad thing).
I have been writing about the experience of being a book editor and a writer on Ah, the Possibilities, a fabulous blog site run by Sarah, a lovely fellow West Aussie. Check out what I had to say here: http://www.ahthepossibilities.com/2011/01/drumroll-sara-foster-author.html
I was thrilled to be asked to put 5 gratefuls on Anita’s blog – it’s a blog I read regularly and I love Anita’s creativity and positivity. See what I was grateful for here: http://anitaheissblog.blogspot.com/
I blame my children for this – they’ll end up blaming me for almost everything when they’re older so I might as well get in first. Except that, in this case, it’s true.
Having recently had the luxury of nearly a whole week to do nothing but write, courtesy of my lovely husband who subjected himself full time to the 3 cherubs, I have discovered that I get the best ideas in the most uninspiring places. Places where there are no pens. And even if there were, it would be impossible to write anything down.
The first day inspiration struck in the shower. I was washing my face and the solution to a major plot problem that had been niggling me for months suddenly and perfectly appeared. Short of inscribing myself with shampoo, there was no way to make a note of the idea. But I’ve learned that if I don’t write it down, I won’t remember it later. So I had to chant it in my head – Dan gets run over, Dan gets run over – while I jumped out and dried myself. My mental monologue was interspersed with shouted directions at the children: ‘Your headband’s in the doll’s cradle’ – Dan gets run over – ‘Your shoes are in the fridge’ (don’t ask) – Dan gets run over. I’m just lucky that, when I got to my study, I didn’t end up writing in my notebook: Dan runs over a doll with the fridge.
The next day we were at the Disney Live concert surrounded by a million mini Cinderellas and my two year old needed to go to the toilet. While I was holding her on the toilet seat, more inspiration struck. This time a brilliant plot twist that I knew would make the book impossible to put down at the critical halfway mark. ‘Please hurry, darling,’ I begged, desperate to get out of there and back to my notebook and pen. ‘But Mummy,’ she piped up, ‘I shouldn’t rush. I need to get it all out.’ Of course my oft-repeated advice, which was never remembered if she was in the middle of jumping on the trampoline, was thrown back at me the one time when rushing would have been very welcome.
The day after that, the ideas came while I was driving on the freeway. No way to jot things down at one hundred kilometres an hour and I’m sure it wasn’t quite the emergency that the stopping lanes were designed to accommodate.
Later, I realised that the reason I keep finding inspiration in unlikely places is because they are quiet places, places where the kids are either absent or silent – shower, toilet, car.
I wonder whether this means that the ideas are there all the time but I just don’t hear them, drowned out as they are by the four year old yelling at the two year old, ‘She took my Barbie,’ and the baby delighting in his new found ability to shout Mum-mum-mum at the top of his voice.
So my New Year’s Resolution is this: to somehow build a quiet moment into every day. The girls received a cubbyhouse for Christmas so perhaps I need to rig up some kind of lock on it – not to lock them in but as a place for me to hide! I know I won’t be lucky enough to dream up a new story idea, solve a plot problem or come up with an unexpected twist in every quiet moment, but the important thing is, I’ll be ready, pen and paper in hand, if the ideas do choose to come.
Natasha Lester lives in Western Australia and is the author of What is Left Over, After, winner of the TAG Hungerford Prize, published in 2010 by Fremantle Press. Check out her website, www.natashalester.com.au, or visit her blog, While the Kids are Sleeping.
This month I’m guest blogging on Nicole Alexander’s website. Visit www.nicolealexander.com.au to find out what I’ve been saying!
I am sometimes lucky enough to be allowed to write on other people’s sites or blogs. You can check out some of my previous posts by following the links below: