Hi everyone – I just wanted to share the news that my new novel White Lies is now available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released on Tuesday 27th June.
If you would like to find out more click on the image and there’s an excerpt below to whet your appetites.
White Lies by Ellie Holmes
Sam Davenport thought she’d imagined it: the driving rain, her husband Neil’s shout of surprise, the sickening crunch of metal on metal, the explosion of inflating airbags.
A bad dream. That was all it was. Why, even now, they were on their way back to Meadowview Cottage with its thatched roof dipping low over leaded-glass windows and a welcoming fire burning in the TV room to keep the children and their sitter cosy in their absence.
Yes, it was a bad dream. Soon, they would be home and Neil would take off his clothes in the bedroom while she took off her make-up in the ensuite and together they would dissect the party and their friends.
Except, they wouldn’t. Because she hadn’t imagined it. The Range Rover was skewed at a crazy angle across one of the main roads of the Essex market town of Abbeyleigh and picked out in its headlights was the shape of a motorbike and, a few metres on, the body of its rider.
The thing about writing is you have to sit down and get it done. There are no shortcuts. Just you and the keyboard in harmony or despair – sometimes both in the same half an hour.
I have discovered the key to finding time to write is not to go looking for it in the first place. Your life will already be filled or else your natural instinct to want to relax will kick in. There is no free time to write. That is why you have to carve it out of your everyday routine. It is the only sustainable way to achieve your long term goals and call yourself a writer unless you have invented the ability to stretch time in which case call me.
I happen to be a morning person. I love mornings! I am an early riser, the earlier the better. I love the solitude the new day brings when it is just me, my dog and a cup of tea as the world wakes up around me. I find writing early in the morning easy. Mentally, I get out of the way and just let the words flow. I do keep one eye on the clock because I have a forty-five minute window to make the magic happen. The reason I have a wonderful forty-five minute window? I get up early just to write.
It’s no good asking an evening person to do what I do. It would be like asking me to write good stuff at ten o’clock at night. It’s not going to happen.
Once you know what suits your natural rhythms you will know the best time of day (or night) to write. Then you will need something to aim for – a set period of time or a word count target. I have both. I try for 1,000 words in my forty-five minute window.
If I have had a break from my morning routine I know that the first few mornings back in the saddle will take some adjusting to. I did this a couple of weeks ago – the first day I managed no more than 300 words, the second day it was 750. By the third day I had hit my stride. I didn’t beat myself up about not reaching the target on the first two days. I was simply pleased with the quality of what I wrote and the fact that I had SHOWED UP.
Sometimes writing is all about demonstrating your commitment to the project and in yourself as a writer. Showing up for a writing session, day after day, is what gets a book written. We can all hit a rich seam of creativity for a few hours at a time but it is the sheer slog that pushes a writer over the finish line.
So my tips for getting the writing done are simple:-
Find the time of day or night that suits the rhythms of your body best and carve out writing time from it.
Set yourself a realistic limit on time and/or word count for your writing sessions.
Show up, day after day, week after week.
Don’t beat yourself up if you fall short of your word count target, just be pleased you still showed up.
If you break the routine of showing up, get back to it as soon as you can.
When you reach a milestone in your work in progress choose a little treat for yourself.
Keep showing up until the book is finished.
Before you know where you are, you will be ticking milestones off your list and your writing sessions will be incorporated into your days as if they have always been there.
Even before The Flower Seller was launched I had already turned my mind to my next book conscious of the mantra of write, publish, repeat. My next full length romantic novel White Lies will be out in June 2017. White Lies was written a few years ago and did the rounds of the main publishing houses (as The Flower Seller did). I had some nice comments but no takers and so it went into a box and was tucked away. In my blog on 12th May 2016 I talked about Diamonds in the Drawer https://goo.gl/AchuZW those pieces of writing that have been discarded for various reasons but which might, with a little loving care, live to see the light of day once more.
So it is with White Lies. It’s been a number of years since I last looked at the manuscript. I remember the characters and the main plot points but I couldn’t remember every little detail because so much time had passed. In one way I found that exciting – how often have we wished to have the ability to see our writing through the eyes of a stranger, as if reading it for the first time. Now I would come as close to achieving that as possible. But I’ll let you into a little secret. I was scared of starting the read through.
I’m a busy person so finding reasons to put it off was easy, so easy in fact that I didn’t even consciously register I was avoiding it until the avoidance became extreme. When I did finally grasp what was happening, I knew I was running scared in case reading it with fresh eyes opened my eyes to the fact it wasn’t very good and perhaps it would be better not to find out.
But I’m a practical person who believes in meeting problems head on so I pulled myself together, poured myself a stiff drink and started to read. Three days and one hundred thousand words later I was finished. My assessment? It needs work but not as much work as I’d feared. The characters and the plot hold together. It needs a good edit and some finessing and I need to tinker with the structure at the end but it’s all doable. I even started to feel excited at the prospect of tackling the rewrites.
A couple of things struck me as I read the story through. I began to remember the scenes I had struggled with and sure enough they still don’t read as smoothly as the ones which came easily but at least now I could spot why this was. What really irked me, however, was the fact that on three occasions I ducked the scene.
Crucial scenes were told either in flashback or reported by one character to another. Reading the story in 2016 I can’t now remember why I did that. Perhaps it was the pressure of the word count (the story was bouncing up at 120,000 words at one stage) but I think it was more likely the case that I considered the scenes too big for me and the coward in me ran and hid instead of toughing it out and getting the scene down on paper.
I stopped ducking scenes years ago but remember this was a story from a long time ago, I obviously still had the habit back then. My writing has now matured and instead of being scared that I’m not capable of doing justice to those scenes they are the scenes I am actually most excited about working on, their potential has got my mind fizzing with enthusiasm. I wouldn’t be surprised if when the book is finished, those scenes don’t end up being amongst the stand out scenes in readers’ minds. We’ll see.
The moral of this story is don’t duck the big scenes through fear. Readers are likely to feel cheated if you do. Back yourself as a writer to do them justice and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised…..I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.