Thursday, 2 November 2017

Gill Paul's Writing Toolkit

WRITING TOOLKIT gives you an idea of an author's writing process through the tools they use. The tools can be anything (real or virtual) that they think is essential for their writing - serious, fun or even a fetish (that they're willing to own up to)! 

I am delighted to welcome 




I go through dozens of packs of these per novel, usually (but not exclusively) yellow ones. I rip each post-it into three raggedy pieces and use them to mark paragraphs I want to remember in my research books. The best books end up with hundreds, like a bizarre kind of plumage. It saves writing on the pages, which I hate, but it’s a real pain taking them off if I decide to donate books to a charity shop. 

'Work hard' sign
This hangs behind my desk as a reminder. I used to have a hand-scrawled sign until a lovely friend painted this on wood for me. My dad was a workaholic and I think he’s passed on a bit of a gene because I’m not good at taking days off. Even on holiday I’ll be doing research or scribbling notes on odd scraps of paper. 

I carry these around and make notes like “Henry needs to be more charismatic”; “don’t forget about the camera”; “how does she find out?” Either that or I’ll describe things I notice as I wander around during the day, like pigeons having sex on the path in front of me, or a ravaged couple smoking a crack pipe on the top deck of the 24 bus.

Herbal teas in big mugs
There’s always a tea beside me as I write, and wandering to the kitchen to make the next one helps me to think of the next line. Twenty cups a day would not be far off the mark.

Swimming cozzie
Most days I toddle up to the Pond on Hampstead Heath to swim with the ducks, heron, kingfishers and other women. This is where I’ll work out plot points, character traits, and what is going to happen in the next chapter. The changing room is useful for finding experts on a wide range of different subjects.

Writing desk
If I showed you a photo of my desk, Louise Beech (author of Maria in the Moon) would have a conniption fit so I’ll describe it instead. It’s got an iMac in the middle, a big industrial printer on one side and a scanner on the other, several open books lying face down, umpteen scribbled notes to myself, a mug full of pens that don’t work, a box of tissues (Sainsbury’s Basics), a spotlight, an exploding address book and diary, a globe, dozens of business cards from people I can’t remember, several general stationery items and a thick coating of dust.

Thanks for having me on your wonderful blog, Vicki!


About Gill Paul
Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, Another Woman's Husband, is about links you might not have been aware of between Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales. 
Gill’s other novels include The Secret Wife, published in 2016, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.
Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.

Find Gill on her website, on her Facebook page and on Twitter - @GillPaulAUTHOR

About Another Woman's Husband

Published by Headline Review (2 November 2017)

Publisher's description
Two women who challenged the Crown.
Divided by time. Bound by a secret...

Rachel's romantic break in Paris with her fiancé ends in tragedy when the car ahead crashes. Inside was Princess Diana. 
Back in Brighton, Rachel is haunted by the accident, and intrigued to learn the princess had visited the last home of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, only hours before the crash. Soon, the discovery of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson leads Rachel to the truth behind a scandal that shook the world.

At the age of fifteen, carefree Mary Kirk and indomitable Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. Their friendship will survive heartbreaks, separation and the demands of the British Crown until it is shattered by one unforgivable betrayal...

To read my review, click here.

To read more Writing Toolkit features, click here.

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