Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Killer Women Week - Day 2: Tammy Cohen

It's Day 2 of my Killer Women Crime Writing Festival Feature Week. 

Today I have Tammy Cohen on my blog talking about how writer's block affects her working day. Tammy's latest book, When She Was Bad, was published by Black Swan (Penguin Random House UK) in April 2016. 

The Killer Women Festival is taking place at Shoreditch Town Hall, London, on 15 October 2016 - more details at the end of this blog post and on Friday. 

Writer's Block
By Tammy Cohen

Theres always a blissful split second when I wake up where my mind is a merciful blank and alls well with the world. Then I remember the days and weeks of false starts and empty pages that lie behind me and am flooded with panic as I do my mental calculations. How many months until my next book is due? How many weeks? Days?

After rattling off my last novel in almost indecent haste, the new book is stubbornly refusing to get written. It seemed like such an excellent idea when I scribbled down the two-page synopsis that my agent and editor fell in love with. But stretching out those two pages into a hundred thousand words is proving a challenge*. And my November deadline is fast approaching.

Its not through want of trying. Every day, after walking the dog, I sit down to write. But so far Im struggling to find a way of getting into the story. And its precisely when youre struggling that the Internet suddenly becomes so irresistible. A YouTube clip of dogs acting guilty? Dont mind if I do. When work is going badly, social media is a black hole that swallows me up and spits me up some hours later having come up with several witty entries on the #BrexitMovies hashtag, but no usable words.

By evening, panic has usually given way to a low level nausea that I try to assuage by watching something mindless and ranting at the 10 oclock news (and sometimes gin). After which, finally, fully-fledged fear might prompt me to get out my laptop and get down some words. Any words. In any order.

When I go to bed I remind myself that Ive been here before. Writing When She Was Bad, I was completely stalled until one evening, in the bath, a voice came into my head that became a totally new thread and the whole book instantly fell into place. Thats what Im looking for – the magical key that unlocks this new book and lets me in to write it. I know its there, its just a question of finding it. And in the meantime, ooh look a clip of a fireman rescuing a kitten…

* Ive substituted ‘challengefor ‘total impossibility, just in case my editor is reading.

About Tammy Cohen
Tammy Cohen is the author of seven novels. Her latest, When She Was Bad, came out in April 2016 and is a psychological thriller set in an office. She shares a birthday with the Killer Women Festival and can't imagine a better way of spending it than hanging out with all her favourite crime writers, not to mention seeing all-time heroes like Val McDermid. And no, she's not saying which birthday it is.

Find out more about Tammy on her website and follow her on Twitter - @MsTamarCohen

The Killer Women Festival
The FIRST EVER Killer Women Crime Writing Festival takes place on Saturday 15th October 2016 at Shoreditch Town Hall, London EC1.

Founded in 2014, Killer Women is a collective of female crime writers from London and the South East. As well as the Killer Women themselves, other high-profile authors taking part in the Festival include Ann Cleeves, Martina Cole, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid.

The day-long programme includes readings and debates, masterclasses, an exclusive Murder Mystery, Killer Women cocktails and much more.

Tickets cost £75 and are now available to book here!

Learn more through the Killer Women website and follow Killer Women on Twitter - @killerwomenorg

Read my other Killer Women Festival Week blog posts:

Day One - DE Meredith
Day Three - Erin Kelly
Day Four - Sarah Hilary
Day Five - The Killer Women Crime Writing Festival

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