I am delighted to welcome
AUTHOR OF DARK WATERS
TO SHARE HER WRITING TOOLKIT
FOR HER BLOG TOUR
A room of one's own
It’s not necessary to have a whole room to write in - indeed it can even become a bit of a millstone (husband says ‘you can have the whole day to write in your room’ I freeze and generally find I can’t do much at all) - and I like to be able to write in all sorts of places - the dining room table, the train, an aeroplane, a balcony in Greece overlooking the ocean... but I do love my room and I probably write my best stuff there. I have a lovely view over the Common and see sparrow hawks, kestrels, rabbits, dog walkers and even deer. I keep my handbags in my room, and I often have company in the form of one of my dogs, Reggie, who likes to sleep on the futon (I know, I know, who on earth buys something as uncomfortable as a futon?). Sometimes *whispers* I curl up with him.
And talking of Reggie, walking him and Bella is a wonderful way to clear my head, untangle plot messes, think about characters and feel that maybe what I’m writing isn’t one hundred percent c***p. I often go up the road to a wonderful area where the dogs run free to sniff and smell and play. The East Anglian sky is wide and beautiful and the sense of space is amazing. The dogs are also very good sounding boards as they always seem pleased to hear about my plots, characters, and so on. They never get bored! Marvellous!
I have to have silence while I work, but when I want to switch off I love listening to the radio, usually plays I have downloaded from the BBC - Radio Four or Radio Four Extra. I have heard some great stuff over the years, and I particularly like plays that use the medium of radio to its fullest - a recent Jonathan Myerson play was a brilliant example of this. If I can’t sleep at night I listen to Radio Five Live Up All Night, which is full of interesting and informative items, so not great for getting me off to sleep. I am also an out and proud fan of The Archers....
Notebooks, notebooks and more notebooks! Of all shapes and sizes! But mostly I like to write in big ones, at least A4 size.... I make notes, write character outlines, doodle, and often write down what has happened so far in the latest book I’m writing - I find if I do that a couple of times it can unlock the next bit...
Couldn’t do any of this without him. Simple. He is encouraging, he doesn’t yawn when I bore on. And on. And on. He listens and makes great suggestions, tells me I’m great (even though I’m not), whistles when I’m shouting about things not working - computer, ideas, that sort of thing (actually the whistling can be quite annoying). Suggest ways to make my writing tighter. AND HE DOES THE IRONING. ALL OF IT.
The delete button
To take out those clumsy sentences, those rubbish paragraphs, that purple prose, those over-the-top descriptions, those sentences that seem so fine but are far to ‘writerly’, and all those damn ellipses and exclamation marks!
THANKS FOR TAKING PART, MARY-JANE!
About Mary-Jane Riley
Mary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Mary-Jane has three grown-up children and lives in Suffolk with her husband and two golden retrievers.
DARK WATERS is her third crime thriller featuring investigative journalist, Alex Devlin.
About DARK WATERS
Published by Killer Reads (16 March 2018)
DARK WATERS is the third crime thriller in the series featuring journalist Alex Devlin. It begins with a macabre discovery on board a pleasure cruiser on the beautiful Norfolk Broads – the decomposing bodies of two elderly men. It appears the dead men did not know each other and police suspect an internet suicide pact.
Alex’s search for the truth reveals a darker story. She finds a connection between the two men and possible links to other unexplained deaths.
As she investigates further, the stakes rise and her own family becomes embroiled in the mystery. Her inquiries lead her to the University of Cambridge. Could the roots of the puzzle lie there with a tragedy that unfolded amongst a group of carefree students many years before?
Long-buried secrets come to the surface and Alex’s life and the lives of her family are on the line. As the past and the present collide, Alex questions everything she thinks she knows about those she loves.
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