Monday, 17 March 2014

The writing process Blog hop

There are invitations I just doesn’t say no to, and one from Faith Colburn, to take part in this blog hop, I was delighted to accept. 

Faith: the smile says it all
Faith writes with wry humour and never-failing optimism. Proud of her status as a sixth-generation Nebraskan, her writing is suffused with the rootedness that comes from so firm an anchor in the soil: raised on a farm, she went back to it after more than a decade away, studying journalism and working for a state game and fish management commission, and was back at the family farm just in time to be driven into bankruptcy by the latest agricultural crisis.

Undeterred, she took a master’s in journalism and went on to work for an organisation providing services for people with developmental disabilities – from which she was made redundant. Again, she returned to university, but this time for employment as well as study: she worked for a research and extension centre, and in parallel took a degree in English and Creative Writing. Her talent was quickly recognised, as she won awards for both the outstanding work of fiction in 2009 and the outstanding thesis in the college of fine arts and humanities in 2012.

She has three sons, a step-daughter, and a step-son.

The wisdom and talent that she’s developed down the years shines through in the two books she has out in paperback and ebook formats, Threshold: A Memoir and From Picas to Bytes, She is currently working on a novel based on the lives of a big band singer and a shell-shocked World War II vet, for the background to which she has drawn heavily on her family history. The award-winning short story, Driving: A Short Story, is available on

As well as publishing, she keeps us all informed and entertained on her blog,, and on her Facebook page.

She asked me to answer four questions:

What am I working on?

I have two novels complete in draft, and intend to publish one of them later this year on Kindle. Good Company is about the lure on a young man of the world of business, for which he deserts teaching, the fascination of an older woman, who keeps him spellbound and bemused, and the attraction of London over his origins in provincial Sheffield. But behind the glitter, things are less rewarding than he’d hoped, as he finds himself both faithless and betrayed in love, alone miles from home, and facing a work atmosphere which is not merely toxic but ultimately lethal, as death strikes among the senior executives of his company. And the worst part? There’s more than a whiff of murder in the air.

In addition, I keep blogging: five years now, with a Kindle collection to prove it, and working on the next five years.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hundreds of thousands of people spend their lives in business, but apart from thrillers about shenanigans in board rooms, few novels are based in the everyday lives most of us face in private companies – in my case, for over thirty years. It was time, I felt, to sing of the dramatic events that engulf us too, and why not wrap some love (or possibly just sex) into a thriller about office politics turning fatal?

As for my blog, it’s called ‘Random Views’ for a reason. It touches on anything that catches my fancy, so I hope it keeps a certain freshness even after five years.

Why do I write what I do?

That’s a question plenty of people ask me, though sometimes in its alternative form, “why do you bother to write what you do?” 

The short answer is that I enjoy it and I hope my readers do. There’s plenty out there to bore us  or drive us to distraction; I like to think I create a little oasis which to me feels like sanity, and if anyone else agrees, they’re welcome to share it with me.

How does your writing process work?

With blogs, an idea comes to mind and I work on it. It can take as little as half an hour. It can take as much as four hours. I usually write too long and then have to cut back. I try to put a little sting in the tail.

The worst problem is when I can’t think of a subject. But generally, there’s enough in the news to fill a gap if I have one, and my family, my animals and my reading don’t usually allow one to open up in the first place.

As for novels, I can only say that I’m the opposite of Henry James: he hated writing but loved editing; I wish I didn’t have to edit, but I do. And cut, cut, cut.

My thanks to Faith for having invited me to take part in this exercise.

I’ve invited two others, Lydia Aswolf and Sam Boardman, in turn, to join in. You should visit their blogs just for the fun of it, whenever you want to, but in particular on 24 March when they too will be answering these questions.

Enjoy their writing. And enjoy Faith’s.

Lydia Aswolf: haunting and intriguing writing
Social Media Brand Manager by day and aspiring author by night, Lydia Aswolf knows a thing or two about keeping busy. When she's not on social media, Lydia is behind the scenes lining up great guests on her podcast, Lydia's Literary Lowdown. On the weekly podcast, Lydia welcomes artists from all walks of life to discuss their latest projects, as well as the creative processes that drive them. 

Lydia also writes a weekly blog, on which she writes haunting and intriguing posts in her own distinctive style of blank verse:

It was due to the madness. 

The madness we see every day.
That I discovered what it is.
To grow up glib. 
And like so many things. 
Once knowledge came. 
It couldn’t be spirited away. 

which she varies with profiles and reviews on her podcast. She’s also been interviewed many times herself on podcasts and the websites of fellow bloggers. A former Featured Contributor at, Lydia loves nothing more than handing out #tweettreats in gratitude to her many followers on Twitter and keeping up with Friends on Faceboook, LinkedIn, and other various social networks. She likes to say “Pop by and chat me up at your peril...” but in fact there are few people it’s more of a pleasure to exchange with, and to read. As she admits herself, if there's anything Lydia loves more than reading, it's chatting with people far and wide. 

Sam Boardman: concentrates on what's right in the human mind
Sam Boardman is a New York psychiatrist at Weill-Cornell Medical College, but as she points out, she’s a lot less interested in what’s wrong with people than in what’s right with them: a few small tweaks, she maintains, can make all the difference.

She regularly administers such small tweaks through her highly readable, entertaining and illuminating blog Positive Prescription – well worth following by anybody interested in the psychiatry of everyday life, including their own. She naturally also contributes to learned journals as well as more accessible media, such as Harper’s Bazar and Huffington Post.

Recently elected a board member at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she explained to website 1stDibs “Our biographies are not always written with a pen. The things we love also tell the stories of our lives, if we let them”, before choosing an inspiring set of objects by which most of us would be more than happy to be defined.

It all feels once more like concentrating on what’s right and not what’s wrong...


Faith A. Colburn said...

Can't wait to read your novel. You'll let us all know, I hope.

Anonymous said...

Seems like an interesting experiment in the offing.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and good luck for the novel.