Thursday, 12 April 2018

Dinah Jefferies' 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 





The Sapphire Widow was published on 5 April 2018 by Penguin. 

A good night's sleep
This is the most useful tool of all, but not something I can always rely on. However, if I have slept well (without waking up in the night with one of my recurring migraines or half a dozen plot ideas) the words tend to flow and I really enjoy my work. Tiredness is my devil, my demon, and my challenge, and coffee is the only answer.

I can’t even begin to think without a mug of tea and a bowl of muesli inside me. We have breakfast in front of BBC breakfast! When I’m writing, this will be my only portal into what is happening in the real world.

Fresh air
I walk the dog in one of Cheltenham’s many beautiful parks before I start writing, or for inspiration when I’m stuck for ideas. If I want to take my mind off the current book I’m writing – something I need to do to let my subconscious mind flow - I love to wander the many Regency streets marvelling at the architecture and imagining how life might once have been.

My writing room
I’ve had a writing room built at the bottom of the garden. It’s a glorified shed really but large, airy, peaceful and, most importantly, entirely mine. I need total silence to work and my shed gives me that in spades.

My audiobooks
Again, these are a wonderful way of taking my mind off my own book so that I don’t obsess. I lie on my bed and escape to someone else’s invented world instead. Heavenly.

My husband
Richard does all the shopping and all the cooking which leaves me free to write. He’s also an ace researcher and I often bounce ideas around with him when I’m in the early stages of plotting. He should really be at the top of the list.

My exercise bike
I like to be warm when I write, so if it’s chilly I get on my bike (in my shed) to get my blood and creative juices flowing.

My mountains of research books and notebooks
I like to be surrounded by these even if I don’t refer to them. Something about them being there makes me feel safe. If my memory fails me there they all are, although with my somewhat haphazard organisational systems the chance of finding what I need is not that great.

Last but not least. For when I’m having a horrible day and the words won’t do what I want them to, cake is the only solution.


About Dinah Jefferies
Dinah Jefferies was born in Malaysia but moved to England at the age of nine, travelling widely throughout her life and always maintaining a love of Southeast Asia. She spent time living in a musicians' commune, and has had work publicly exhibited as an artist. Dinah’s first novel The Separation was published by Penguin in 2014. The Tea Planter’s Wife is her second novel. 
The Silk Merchant’s Daughter, was published in February 2016 and also entered Sunday Times Bestselling list. Before the Rains was published in February 2017. After living in Northern Andalusia for five years, she now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband.

Find Dinah Jefferies on her website, FB page and on Twitter - @DinahJefferies

About The Sapphire Widow

Published by Penguin (5 April 2018)

Publisher's description
Ceylon, 1935. Louisa Reeve, the daughter of a successful British gem trader, and her husband Elliot, a charming, thrill-seeking businessman, seem like the couple who have it all. Except what they long for more than anything: a child.
While Louisa struggles with miscarriages, Elliot is increasingly absent, spending much of his time at a nearby cinnamon plantation, overlooking the Indian ocean. After his sudden death, Louisa is left alone to solve the mystery he left behind. Revisiting the plantation at Cinnamon Hills, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn towards the owner Leo, a rugged outdoors man with a chequered past. The plantation casts a spell, but all is not as it seems. And when Elliot's shocking betrayal is revealed, Louisa has only Leo to turn to...

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