The Pleasures and Pain of Writing a Series by Georgina Troy

RNA Joan Hessayon shortlisted author, Georgina Troy, talks us through the pleasures and pain of writing a series. As author of The Jersey Scene Series, Georgina is well placed to talk about the challenges and I’m delighted that she agreed to stop by my place. Take it away, Georgina.

A Jersey DreamboatThe Pleasures: Although the books are stand-alone stories, one of my pleasures has to be that I can revisit favourite characters in each of the books. For example, although you’ll meet Luke, Bea and Paige in book one, Paige is also the heroine in book two. Sebastian makes his first appearance in book two where he meets Paige. In book two, Luke and Bea make an appearance, as they do in books three and four. Knowing I haven’t had to leave these favourite characters of mine behind is fun, I love meeting up with them once again through the other books in the series.
Another pleasure has to be the setting of this series. I love Jersey – it’s small, only 9 x 5 miles in size, so it’s good to get away occasionally. But whenever I do get away I’m always reminded how lovely it is back here and am happy to come home, refreshed and able to appreciate with a fresh perspective what a treat it is to live here. Setting my series here means that I can either introduce places that I love in the island, small bays, areas of the quieter parishes, etc, to readers who haven’t visited Jersey, or give others who might be from here and living away, or who’ve come here on holiday, and remind them just how lovely it is.
The Pain: I can’t begin writing a book until I’ve settled on the names of my characters. To be able to envisage them as people they have to have a name that I feel suits them and says something either about their character, or where their parents were emotionally when they named them.
I recently submitted the fourth book in my Jersey Scene series, A Jersey Bombshell, to my editor, happy with the name that I’d given the hero. Then, I was sent the edits for book three, A Jersey Dreamboat – which was published on 9 July – and realized that I’d used the same name for one of the hero’s brothers in book three that I’d given the hero in book four! I decided to keep the brother’s name aware that I’ll now need to find a suitable replacement name for my marine explorer hero in book four. Getting the names right can take me some time and it’s amazing how many times I revert to the same names and have to change them.
To be honest, I can’t think of any other pains. I try not to re-use a setting and for each character I need to come up with a new story, but that’s what writers do and I love that side of creating a book.

About Georgina

Georgina TroyGeorgina Troy believes her love of writing was influenced by Father Christmas giving her a typewriter when she was seven. It probably wasn’t the present she was hoping for at the time, but on reflection, maybe it helped focus her imagination while giving her parents a break from her constant chatter.
She bases her Jersey Scene series on the island where she lives and spends a lot of her time working through plotlines while walking on one of the two beaches near her home. Previously self-published, Georgina was signed by Accent Press in August 2014.
Georgina was a finalist in the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award 2015 with her first book in the series, A Jersey Kiss.

Thanks very much for inviting me to your lovely blog, Laura.

So good to have you here. Good luck with the novel!

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Jersey-Dreamboat-Scene/dp/1783757094/
Amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jersey-Dreamboat-Scene/dp/1783757094/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/GeorginaTroyAuthor
Website: http://www.GeorginaTroy.co.uk
Blog: http://georginatroy.blogspot.com/

Another journey begins

I thought little could top the total amazing-ness of 2014, but I was wrong.

After much discussion with my editor, Greg, and managing editor, Rebecca, I am delighted to announce that last Monday I signed a two book contract with Accent Press.

Nothing is set in stone regarding release dates but provisionally, Redemption Song will be released in late 2015/early 2016 with a possible e-book release this summer, with Skin Deep following hot on the heels of Redemption Song in summer 2016. I’m excited at the prospect of working with Greg and all the team at Accent again – they’re such a dynamic, dedicated and talented bunch, and they work their socks off.

So, what are these books going to be about? Love, Redemption and Beauty.

A dilapidated pier balustrade

A dilapidated pier ballustrade

Redemption Song is about faith and forgiveness, an old pier ballroom, and the redemptive power of love. A rough blurb might go like this:

After a tragedy, twenty-four-year-old medical student Saffron de Lacy and her mother, Rain, move to a remote Welsh resort to heal. Riddled with grief and guilt, Saffron is angry and confused.  Faith is the key to Rain’s redemption, if only she can admit the truth.

Carpenter Joe Jones lives a solitary life on the edge of town. Joe is also hiding; he’s not all he appears and he’d like to keep it that way.

When Joe rescues Saffron after her car breaks down he is drawn into the women’s lives. Saffron is trapped by her past; something Joe understands all too well, though he plans revenge. To move on, they must learn to trust and forgive. Love could redeem them, but will they risk it?

It’s set in a fictional seaside town inspired by Llandudno on the north Wales coast. Here are some pictures of Llandudno on my last research visit there. A rock shop also features in the story, as well as an old Standard.

Beautiful Llandudno in north Wales

Beautiful Llandudno in north Wales

Skin Deep is a darker read. It’s also a contemporary novel, set in Manchester and London, and is told through the eyes of beautiful artist Diana and interwoven with the story of Cal, a deformed boy. Both of them are seeking love and purpose, trying to find acceptance and their place in a world fixated with image. The novel follows their journey to professional success and personal happiness across two decades, and explores love, beauty, and the legacy of parental exploitation.

An early draft of the novel was in the final seven of a national competition with a glitzy awards ceremony held at the O2 and was almost picked up three years ago – but the novel’s near-misses journey is an involved tale, with plenty of advice and warning for new writers, and best left for another post. Since then, Skin Deep has been sitting in a virtual drawer, awaiting a rewrite. It’s a story I haven’t been able to let go of, or the characters, and I’m more pleased than I can say that Diana and Cal will finally get to tell the world their story. There’s a lot of work to be done first, of course.

And on that note, I’d better get on with it. My first deadline is the end of the month. Yikes.

What’s the story 2014?

It’s been an especially good year for great fiction with the release of cracking debuts and stunning works from more established authors. You can read my personal pick of the best here.

photo by Sarah Smith

photo by Sarah Smith

And 2014 has been a good year for me personally. So much to celebrate and enjoy, and lots of hard work too; I find the two are often connected. Where to start? In classic chronological style perhaps? *listen to the sound of me opening my Mslexia diary*

March 2014 saw the release of my ‘miners’ strike’ novel Public Battles, Private Wars (in fact, it’s about complex friendships, rivalry, love and finding the best of yourself in difficult circumstances – oh, and lots of cakes!). Publication coincided with the 30 year anniversary of the landmark strike and as a result I found myself appearing on radio, newspapers, blogs and e-zines all over the shop, including BBC Radio, the Western Mail, and the Yorkshire Post. My publicist at the super-fabulous Accent Press worked extremely hard for me – as did my wonderful editor – and I am so grateful to the entire team for their faith in me and the book. Reviews have been terrific and out-performed my expectations.

Edinburgh-Aug 2014 115This year I was fortunate enough to be offered appearances at literary festivals too, starting with a reading at Grit Lit in my home town, Brighton.  Then an all-day event at the Feminist Library in London on a baking hot June day. I spoke alongside Dr Katy Shaw of Brighton University, a leading expert on literature of the miners’ strike. Thanks to a friend, I was also a last minute speaker at The Big Book Club in the Barn event – 19 Sussex book groups (about 120 people) in a barn gathered to talk books and drink wine – my idea of heaven! Later in the summer, I appeared at GladFest – a dynamic festival in north Wales at the stunning Gladstone Library. My workshop sold out, much to my amazement.

WH Smith Show Card with author (3)After this came the Richmond Books and Boots Festival (Yorkshire, not London) where I spoke to a group of 25-odd readers at the town library about the novel. The reception was wonderful. In amongst these events, I have spoken with a number of local book groups and I did my first ever book shop signing at WH Smith Cardiff in the autumn. Lots of travelling, lots of talking, lots of fun.

2014 wasn’t all about the novel either. A short story, Deep, Dark and Dangerous, made the final ten of the inaugural Brighton Prize competition. Delivered by spoken word organisation Rattle Tales, it has a prize of £400 so worth looking out for in 2015. The winners were announced at a live event – there was champagne and roses for all the shortlisted writers too.

Resized cover imageSpring saw the launch of a special anthology of prose and poetry from Blinding Books, an independent publisher spearheaded by Richard Penny. I was thrilled when Richard approached me and asked if the collection, My Baby Shot Me Down, might include two stories of mine: The Whispering Wall and Buried. Another story, The Difference Between Us, appears in Accent Press’ summer anthology: Holiday Fling. If you’re feeling cold and dreaming of long hot days this might transport you there right now.

Holiday FlingAnd as if 2014 couldn’t get any better regarding my short fiction, I was over the moon to discover that another story had been selected to appear in an anthology of Gothic fiction published by Parthian Books. It contains work by some fine, fine writers and I am flattered (and astonished) to be included. The collection was launched at an event in October and the paperback of A Flock of Shadows will be available in good book shops in February.

OK, so this review isn’t exactly chronological but life is full of unexpected twists and turns, no? And because life can’t be wonderful all of the time – nor should we wish it to be so – we should savour the beautiful moments – little and large.

Right now, as I look back over the year and at what has been achieved, I cannot imagine 2015 being as hectic, though a part of me hopes that it is. Already, there are some special things lined up – a writing retreat at the Gladstone as part of a sponsorship for one thing – and early in 2015 there’ll be an exciting announcement (at least for me). I’ll keep you posted.

All that remains is to wave 2014 goodbye – it was good knowing you – and wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Productive 2015.

Do you like my sheep pencil? I'm part Welsh, you know.

Do you like my sheep pencil? I’m part Welsh, you know.

Freebies, Events and an Anthology

Yet again another blog post with a three-pronged title. Next time, I promise it will be different

Resized cover imageSo, from today (22nd) until Saturday (25th) Blinding Book’s brilliant anthology My Baby Shot Me Down is FREE for Kindle. If you’ve not taken a peek at this interesting and diverse collection, now would be a good time. As you may know, I have two stories in the anthology.

This Saturday, 25th October, between 11.30 and 12.30 I will be at WH Smith in Cardiff – the Queen Street branch – talking about, and signing copies of, my novel, Public Battles, Private Wars. It would be lovely to see some of you there if you’re local. If not, perhaps you could let friends and family know. I will have chocolates – not that I bribe or anything.WH Smith Show Card with author (3)

And again for the South Wales, West Country based amongst you, I’d like to invite you to the launch of a special anthology from another fabulous Welsh publisher, Parthian. A Flock of Shadows is a collection of short stories with a Gothic flavour and I am absolutely thrilled to have a story included. The paperback will be available in the shops in February, with the e-book available sooner. Of course, if you can make it to the launch you’ll be able to snaffle a copy there.GothicAnthology_LaunchPoster_web

That’s all for now, folks.

Laura

My Baby Shot Me Down is here

Resized cover imageI’m thrilled and proud to be included in this anthology of prose and poetry by women writers, published by Blinding Books next week.

It is the brain child of Blinding Books founder Richard Penny who has been a long-time member of the writers’ project, ABCtales.com. It was on the ABCtales site that Richard, the author of two children’s books, first came across the work of writers included in the anthology and decided that he simple must publish it. Rather than blathering on, I’ll attach the press release (below), which puts it across succinctly and powerfully.

If you would like to order a copy you can find it in all the usual online shops and it will be available in selected independent book shops and Waterstones. Here’s a link to Amazon, but if you live near me I’ll have some copies, which will be cheaper than Amazon – and that’s something you don’t hear too often! Press Release