LOCKING DOWN PLOTS AND ZOOMING INTO MEETINGS

There are always decisions to be made during the writing of a book. Usually these are straightforward and familiar – for example, should a character be killed off in Chapter Three, or can the tension be stretched out until, say, Chapter Eight? There are also the...

RIPPING OFF THE VILLAIN

The creation of a villain can be a surprisingly fascinating exercise.  There are so many roles they can be allotted.  For starters, it’s usually necessary – and hopefully interesting for the reader – to show their multi-layered lives, because they aren’t always...

A DISCORDANCE OF ANCIENT LAWS

I wasn’t expecting to find I had combined an ancient law and opera for a book, but Song of the Damned, (Book 3 of the Phineas Fox series), turned out to have both elements at its heart. It’s not, of course, so very rare for opera and the law to meet up. In Lohengrin...

PUTTING A BOOK TO BED

Finishing the writing of any book is a curiously mixed experience. There’s a sense of achievement and even a muted delight because you finally got there. But there’s also hideous doubt, because although you got there, you’re no longer sure if it’s as good as it seemed...

WRITING THE MUSIC AND COMPOSING THE PLOT

Music has frequently been a catalyst for me in the creating of a plot, and it seems to have found its way into a good many of my books.  There’s the eerie death lament, ‘Thaisa’s Song’ in The Bell Tower, and the music hall songs in Ghost Song.  More recently, there’s...

FROM CLAY TABLETS TO ANDROID SCREEN

There’s a sense of familiarity and reassurance in much-read copies of books by favourite authors.  It’s comforting to turn a page and remember that this is the part where you spilled soup on the name of the murderer because last time you read it you had flu and were...