It’s been a while between posts, mainly because I’ve been working on finishing the draft of my new novel, so I thought I’d fill you in on what I’ve been writing, reading and listening to. I’m happy to say that after a very stop-start six months my third rural fiction novel has been written. Sort of. There’s still a load of revision to do but at least the story is out and relatively whole. The writing process has been so different with each of my novels but I found this one particularly difficult. I’d write a few scenes and then get completely stuck and instead of persevering I’d allow myself (very unwisely) to take a break for days, or sometimes weeks. About two thirds of the way through I realised something I already knew – sitting down and writing is the best way of coming up with new ideas. Even if you only write a few sentences it sparks something and pushes you into the next part of your story. I also had to keep reminding myself that a first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s where you learn what the story is all about and where you find out who your characters are and what motivates them. You don’t really know what the true story is until you reach the end. I need to print this in bold type and stick it above my desk so that next time I don’t give in to doubts and procrastination. But, knowing me, I’ll have to learn the hard way once again!

All in all I’m pretty happy with the story in its current form – although this could change once I’ve read it through again. The title for the novel is Close to Home. It’s the story of Charlie Anderson, a vet who returns to the town where she spent her youth, to deal with an outbreak of the deadly hendra virus. As reluctant as she is to be returning, she takes her job very seriously. The case brings her back in contact with her estranged relatives – cousin Emma, now married to horse breeder Garth McDowell and her aunt, Hazel Roberts. National Parks and Wildlife Officer Joel Drummond helps Charlie educate the local community about the bats that spread the virus and she finds herself unnervingly attracted to him. When she discovers Emma is the victim of domestic violence Charlie is compelled to act to try and help her and is drawn into a family conflict that is much more dangerous than anyone could anticipate.

So now the story is sorted the fine tuning must begin. I’m always more at ease with the revision process rather than the drafting process, preferring to have words there on the page to tweak and  mould. At the moment I’m taking some time out to re-charge before the revision begins in earnest. I’m watching re-runs of my favourite TV show Castle in preparation for the new season – can’t resist a show about a writer and his muse (maybe I need to get one of those!). I’m also reading a number of books from genres other than mine and have two on the go at the moment: Let Her Go by Dawn Barker and Lost And Found by Brooke Davis, two very talented Australian writers. I seem to be drawn to read stories about grief and loss as well as write them! Both books are beautifully written and I’m enjoying them immensely.

Let Her Go

isbn9780733632754

On the music front I’m loving Ed Sheeran’s new album, especially the song Thinking Out Loud. The line kiss me under the light of a thousand stars makes me swoon. Despite my protests I’m a Romantic after all. Here’s the clip:

I’ve been listening to Sara Bareilles for a while now and can’t believe I missed her when she visited Sydney earlier this week. The lyrics to Brave are so inspiring, and capture the sort of strength I try to create in my female protagonists.

With a few days up my sleeve before the revision starts I’m off to read, listen and relax. Hope you all get to do some of the same this weekend.