filed under The French Photographer.

This week, I’ve been working on the copyedit for The French Photographer. As well as that, there have been quite a few behind-the-scenes things happening with the book, so I thought it might be interesting to talk about the process of getting a book ready for publication. The Back Cover Blurb When you’re browsing in the bookshop, how often do you pick up a book and turn to the back cover and read the blurb? Most of us do this often. Therefore, the blurb has to be captivating and convince the reader that this book is worth their time and their…

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filed under How To Write A Book, Writing Historical Fiction.

Besides the structural edit, which is a process that adds new meaning to the word difficult, the hardest part of the writing process for me is writing the first draft of a novel. Other writers I know love the first draft and hate the redrafting. We’re all different. And everyone writes their first draft in a different way. As I’m about 90,000 words into a first draft of my 2020 book, which has a working title of The Dior Bequest, I thought I might talk a little bit about how I write first drafts and why I find them so…

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filed under The Paris Seamstress.

Last week I talked about my trip to Paris to research The Paris Seamstress; this week is all about my trip to New York. A lot of the research books that I read before I went talked about Paris, in terms of fashion, as being the city of art, whereas New York was the city of industry. So I went to New York prepared to find a slightly less romantic version of the fashion industry than what I had found in Paris. But did this turn out to be true? New York’s Garment District I once again organised a private…

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filed under The Paris Seamstress.

One of my most favourite parts of my job would definitely have to be travelling overseas for research. Who wouldn’t want to go to Paris and New York and places in between all in the name of work?! And the trip I organised for researching The Paris Seamstress was especially spectacular, full of discoveries that inspired scenes for the book. The Théâtre du Palais Royal For this trip, I organised a private tour guide to take me through the Sentier, Paris’s historic fashion district. I met my guide at the Palais Royal, which backs onto the Sentier. There, I made the…

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filed under The Paris Seamstress.

I much prefer redrafting to starting a novel and The Paris Seamstress only served to confirm this preference; it is definitely the one book of mine that was the hardest to start. I sat down in November 2015 ready to write my 20,000 word pre-first draft only to discover that I didn’t really have a story idea. I had a character in my head and this character had a very distinctive voice but I didn’t know who she was or why she was there. I let the voice lead me and while I really liked a lot of what I wrote, I had no…

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filed under A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, Her Mother's Secret, How To Write A Book.

What a difference a year makes! I remember vividly, during the school holidays last summer, sitting at my kitchen bench, furiously working away on something on my laptop, and being interrupted by one of my three lovely children for the millionth time. I remember shutting the lid of the laptop, (I can’t remember if I answered my child’s question or not though!) and putting my head in my hands and wondering what the hell I was doing. My Mini Crisis of Confidence Why was I working so damn hard during the holidays – when my kids wanted my undivided attention…

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filed under How To Write A Book.

The most terrifying part of the writing process is, for me, starting a new book. Every single time I begin, I feel as if I won’t be able to do it, as if the story idea that I have is just too outlandish or difficult or impossible to pull off. As if there’s too much that I don’t know and I will never, ever know enough to write this particular book. Or, that I might spend weeks on the draft and discover, as I near the end, that I just can’t pull off the climax and the whole story collapses…

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filed under Author Interviews.

Welcome back to Where Stories Are Made. Fiona Palmer is my special guest this month and I hope you enjoy this tour of her writing space. Plus, if you read all the way through to the end, you have the chance to win a signed copy of her new book, Secrets Between Friends. Over to Fiona! 1. My stories are made … I always write at home in my office. I find its just too hard when I’m away as I usually have so much on. Besides I have that much research bits and stuff jotted down on paper that…

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filed under How To Write A Book.

I’ve published 4 books, but I’ve just handed in the structural edit on my 5th, and am up to the final draft on my 6th. This is not a position I ever really imagined I’d be in, back when I was writing book number one. If I had been able to glimpse the future, there are a few things I would have liked to have known—saving the good names being chief amongst them! Here are a few of the lessons learned from writing those books. Save the Good Names There is a finite supply of good names, especially male names!…

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filed under Her Mother's Secret, How To Write A Book.

On Facebook last week, I saw someone asking the question: how do you define success as a writer? It came on the back of a Twitter update, from someone attending a writing seminar, where UWA Press publisher Terri-Ann White said that the average sales of a book in Australia were just 800 copies per year. Does that then mean if you sell 800 copies in one year you’re a success? 800 copies might earn an author just over $2,000—for something that’s taken about 5 years of their life to write. Maybe for some that is success. For others, perhaps not.…

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