Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne Dingli

Monday, December 10, 2012

A breathless scene

This brief scene is from Camera Obscura. It's not easy to extract an excerpt that makes sense in its own bubble, from a novel that shifts from location to location quite a lot. The painting by Monet, which decorates my blog, above, shows how the protagonist Bart Zacharin thought of Le Havre. He found it quite different when he got there.

This is from Chapter Eight.

Her movements were unmistakeably familiar. It was Minnie. Bart took off at a trot from where he watched her, across the now silent street. All day, it had bustled with all sorts of activity and movement. At sunset, it was almost deserted, and even the kiosk attendant, whose face he now knew well, was packing for the evening.
The way she leapt, when he drew up by her side so abruptly, made him seem apologetic rather than overjoyed. ‘I’m sorry! Minnie! It’s you – I’ve startled you.’
She exhaled forcibly, then gathered her wits quickly and smiled. ‘Bart! Yes.’ She leaned forward in the French way, expecting to be kissed on the cheek.
Bart kissed her, then kissed her again as she turned her head. Like a French couple meeting on the street, to look like they did so every evening of their life, she took his arm and steered him away quickly.
‘You said Le Havre … I came.’
‘We can’t hang about here.’ She was breathless.
Without another word, as he had done before, Bart allowed himself to be taken forward. They turned a corner, where he could see the glimmer of water he knew was the Bassin du Commerce. He knew the area well now, having tramped it on foot for two whole days. It was large, one end of it bustling, a tourist centre as unlike the atmospheric painting by Monet he had once seen in a book as it could be. There were none of the tall ships Monet had painted, no romantic grey waters. The modern bridge that spanned the harbour to his left was bathed in bright light, and drew the eye from every perspective. White yacht masts tilted and crossed each other; strings of lights from shops and cafés made it seem commercial and alive.
When they reached a third corner, she stopped. ‘I knew I would find you.’
‘I found you!’ Bart exclaimed. But he paused. A vague gut feeling of manipulation flitted in and out of his mind. It was replaced by a confirmation of everything about her he found captivating.
They faced each other, eyes locked, standing on a darkening street, in complete silence. Minnie stood on her toes and kissed him full on the lips, open-eyed, bold and uncertain at the same time. It was not a fleeting peck, not a salutation in the French way: this time Bart felt he was kissed for himself, not for any other reason. Taking her by the forearms, he stopped her retreat and kissed her again, taking the lead. She did not resist.
If anyone passed on the deserted street, it would not have seemed strange to see a couple engaged in a warm embrace. France was like that, Bart knew. But he had never thought he would find himself on a street in Le Havre, of all places, with the same unfortunate woman whose form he knew so well, whose body he had seen outlined in a hospital gown, half a world away.
He held her closely and she deepened their kiss, moaning softly. In her left hand, she held her computer. Her right came up and clasped him firmly by the arm.
When they stood back, she looked him in the eye again. ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘You are that type, Bart. You go at something until you do find it.’ Her eyes held a tiny hint of sadness, which was quickly dispelled. ‘This way now.’ She led him onward along the embankment until he could see darkening shadows of tall cranes in the distance.
They made their way in silence, hurrying past Le Volcan, where wet puddles studded grey concrete paving and the lone sculpture of an upturned hand extended, plaintive, from the wall over the flat fountain-bed.
Across the way, Bart could see where he had run for his life, two nights before, panting and sweaty, fleeing from the thug with the shaven head. He shook his head, but the memory was vivid.
She led him up lanes and down alleys. Finally they turned up a street not far from where he glimpsed the trees of the park at Hotel de Ville.
 She spoke again. ‘It’s what I saw in you right away. You like following threads, solving um … puzzles.’
Bart knew she came close to saying mysteries, but said nothing.
‘I wish I had your brains.’
He laughed. ‘You know nothing about me. I don’t even want my brains!’
The peal of her laughter trailed behind them. There seemed to be no concern now about being followed, about anything at all untoward about their meeting, except the haste to get wherever she led him.
‘See what I mean? You make me laugh.’
Again, Bart sensed a kind of sadness in her voice. It attracted him, making her seem less convinced of her actions and decisions than she outwardly seemed.
At a corner, where lights from a crowded restaurant lay slanting on the pavement, she turned into a doorway and tip-tapped swiftly up a flight of dingy stairs that rose to a glass doorway. Bart ascended behind her, entered after she quickly unlocked it with a key that was ready, at the tips of her fingers. More stairs led them spiralling upward, past many closed apartment doors, until they reached a green one with a brass number seven screwed slightly lopsidedly onto the architrave. She unlocked that one too, turned a switch, and bathed them in amber-coloured light from a swinging lantern in a tiny hallway.
‘You have a place here – in Le Havre.’ He mumbled in surprise, out of breath from the quick ascent.
‘Just two rooms – not exactly the Ritz.’
‘And you’ve got a new laptop.’
‘Yes.’ She put it down without looking at it.
‘Now, you must tell me exactly …’
She turned on more lights: a large lamp in a corner, a desk lamp, and one balanced on a pile of magazines, then stood still, striking a match and trying to light a candle. ‘First, I must put the kettle on – I’m dying for a cup of tea.’
‘There’s lots you have to tell me.’
Minnie nodded. ‘Yes.’ Getting busy with cups and things, shrugging her coat from her shoulders, pointing to a green divan where he should sit, pulling off her hat and teasing out her hair were all done in quick economical movements. She did not talk.
There was a lot he had to tell her, as well. How he had waited in Paris. That he was followed for days on end. When the thug had almost got him. He thought the man would give up, but he was there, as recently as yesterday, confronting him at Le Volcan, as threatening as before. It reeled through his head.

Comments are always welcome. Click on the book cover - you will be taken to where you can read a sample from the beginning of the novel.

How important are rankings?

Whether you are an author, a reader, or both, it pays to examine how much importance book rankings are given by purchasers.

Examine your own buying habits first. What sends you to particular books? Which online retailers do you frequent? And most importantly, what do you look at first when you reach the book or author you seek?

Answer those questions honestly (go on, no one can read your mind) and think again.

Most people seek books because they have heard them mentioned by someone, or they have seen them mentioned in a blog. When they arrive at the book's page, they look at the cover. Then what? The number of pages? The blurb? The publisher? Reviews? Does anyone at all look at a book's ranking?

What a ranking means often confuses book purchasers. Is it a popularity gauge or a statistical average? Rankings are comparative, of course. They can change whether or not a book sells, simply because others do, and the balance shifts. They must be better the smaller they are, because #1 is best. Aha. So what does 214,361 mean - and is it unique, or do many books occupy that 'place'? There must be a bottom number, people suppose. If there is, it must be rather big. Has anyone ever seen the bottom number?

What position a book holds in the grand order of things is probably not what's persuasive to purchasers looking for a good read. Perhaps those figures present more significance to authors and publishers than they do to readers.

If you land on the page of a book recommended by a friend, chances are unlikely you will be dissuaded by the ranking, if you even bother to look.

-- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,393 Paid in Kindle Store --
How important is this line in any book's description? This one, by the way, is today's from The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

Readers - tell me about the importance of rankings when you shop for books.
Authors - tell me whether you regularly check your titles' rankings to see how they are faring.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A sensual episode

I suspect it's this bit out of Death in Malta that has led a number of my fans to gift the novel - in eBook or paperback - to reader friends who love a bit of romantic stuff in their mysteries.

From page 103 -

Hours later, Gregory could not remember how they got to the big iron bed in the front room. Pushed as it was underneath the window, it exposed them to the full brunt of the fireworks’ noise, but by that stage he was totally oblivious to the bangs. Or was he? Forever after, Gregory thought, as he stood at the door in the corridor, the festive explosion of fireworks would arouse in him the quick erotic sensation he felt that evening.
     They had tumbled fully clothed onto the made bed, kissing deeply. By the same lapse of time and memory, how they got out of their clothes and under the sheets was lost now. He might remember one day, after this first rush of excitement cooled. He remembered only the sensation of her warm tense body against his and the way her hands fluttered over his skin. She was at once compliant and explorative, bringing new feelings to his body. It was not surprising, as it was some time since he had been with a woman. What was revelatory to him that night, even before their lovemaking ended and Patricia drifted off to sleep, was the awareness of involvement, the tender certainty of relating to her in more than just a superficial or physical way.
     In spite of efforts to chase the thought away, Gregory remained entranced. ‘Come on, man – this is not the first and only casual encounter you’ve had.’ He mumbled to himself as he dusted a hand past his face, as if to dispel any entrapping tendrils she may have woven around him. But he knew it was not a casual feeling.
     He watched her sleeping form from where he stood at the door and felt again the passion, the wild desire he experienced and satisfied so completely. He felt again her breasts, the soft skin stretched over her hip bones under his hands, the straight series of knobs her spine made down her back. He re-experienced the flush of excitement as he recalled the quick movement of her body against his, the urgency she neither imitated nor faked. And her soft hoarse voice.
     He longed to wake her, to lie again beside her and hold her as before in his arms, but he slid softly under the sheets on the side of the bed furthest from the window and lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, which was becoming gradually lighter. He realised he had not noticed when the fireworks stopped. 


 If you are an author, we can discuss the difficulty - or otherwise - of using sensual or erotic passages in fiction.

If you are a reader, tell me whether the latest trend toward explicit intimacy in fiction is to your liking or not.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Wherever good books are sold..."

Image representing Kobo as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
When people discover you are an author, they immediately ask where your books are to be found. In the virtual world, all readers expect books to be on Amazon. After all, they are rather big - to make a small understatement.

In the physical world, they ask questions such as, "Can I get your latest novel at Dymocks?" That's if you live in Australia. Dymocks is one chain that survived the recent bricks-and-mortar bookstore mass extinction. "Can I order at my local shop?"

It is the duty of every author to make sure their books are available - even if readers must order - in as many places as possible. Online, this poses few real obstacles. In the physical retail world, it's somewhat harder. Many things, however, are possible.

English: 尖沙咀K11購物藝術館商場 K11 (skyscraper) 恬墨書舍
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Online, an author can be assured a presence on most retail book-vending websites. Limiting oneself to Amazon is not the wisest strategy. Although it is acknowledged as the traffic cop of books, where anything and everything is to be found, there are dozens of other places where books can be ordered. Depending on where in the world you are, a favourite retailer can be found who might mail you books free of postage charges, or might offer loyalty schemes that really pay. Earning points towards more books is never a bad idea. Others might specialize in your genre, or hold regular specials and sales that make a great deal of financial sense.

If eBooks are the thing, it pays readers to create an account at a number of retail outlets online, because sales are rather rapid affairs that come on and disappear quickly. It's generally free to open accounts, so it does not hurt to have purchasing facilities in as many places as you can. Try Kobo, Nook (run by Barnes and Noble), iBookstore (run by Apple), Diesel, Smashwords and the eBookStore at Sony - just for starters.

Where paperbacks or hardcovers are concerned, buying online is often the most economical way. Even though there's a wait involved, there's nothing nicer than receiving your latest choice in a nice brown package, right on your doorstep.

There are those who still love to browse in bookshops, however, and catering to that crowd is essential if you are an author who understands diversity and how it works. More and more nowadays, this means forming a relationship with your local bookstores. Shop owners are people too, and love to understand their public. Access to local authors means their sales can become meaningful, and that they can host signings and launches, where patrons usually buy much more than just the book of the day.

Thinking outside conventional possibilities also works for authors and readers. Do not confine your marketing or purchasing to bookstores. Books can be found anywhere - florists sometimes stock romantic novels and poetry books around Valentine's Day. In the Christmas holidays, newsagents and giftshops offer relevant books to their customers, and many a gift basket or hamper comes with a good choice of paperback. Look on the counters of smart delis and purveyors of fine foods and you are sure to find a cookbook or two.

Readers and authors do well when they consider that age-old cliche, "Wherever good books are sold."

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


the books for sale and the umbrella
 (Photo credit: bernat...)

It's the same wherever you look. Diversification seems to be the saviour of retailers, manufacturers, publishers, and authors. In nature, whole species benefit from a tiny change in diet or colouration.

Doing something differently, using different tools, or coming at something from a different angle seems to do the trick to liven life up a little.

That's what I want right now - a bit of a difference to liven up my readership. This was the primary reason behind publication of my novella The Latin Cushion. Inventing a whole new character for a new series of detective mysteries based in Perth was a challenge, but I did it - and interest from my readers means I must continue!

Diversifying focus seems to refresh an author - and diversification of outlets also puts a fresh face on one's following. A brand new kind of reader seems to be discovering my fiction - and we all know that discoverability is the new buzz word in publishing.

Placing books in different places is also something that works. I find that Kobo is improving its search algorithms, extending its reach with Kobo Readers, and gaining ground in the UK... all good news for an author like me.

It just takes a few simple and inexpensive changes to make one's titles more noticeable, with surprising results.

If you are a reader, tell me what changes you intend to make in 2013.

If you are a writer: which changes have you found most useful?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Prize for napping

Priceless! Caught napping, and rewarded for it. Yes, it's true, this blog was not updated for weeks. Closed my eyes for an instant and BAM! There went a month... or two. Rumpelstiltskin has nothing on me. So I get this badge, widget, gong ... call it what you like, I like it.

Prizes are useful. Although I have been given a few crackers in my life, such as real crackers, books, chocolate, coins, jewellery, bottles of wine, gift vouchers, and assorted thank-you cards, I just love being rewarded for this blog. Thank you Dan Mader, of Avoiding the Stairs fame. Wait a minute... of Joe Cafe fame. And The Biker fame.

Now I must tell the world what I do to relax: it's no secret. This is not a closet thing I do. The whole world already knows that I sudoku.  (Yes, it is a verb, like google is a verb. No, dust is not a verb - not in this house, anyway.)

Let me tell you a bit about Sudoku. It's a puzzle of Japanese origin that consists of filling 81 squares or tiles with single digits. The puzzles come in books, one puzzle to a page, which I pull out of my bag at every opportunity to while away the time. Mental gymnastics of the non-verbal kind can be very relaxing, especially if you work with words, like I do.

They are also provided online, by people hell-bent on distracting others from their legitimate occupations. One of my favourites is the daily one at Fingertime.

The thing is, Sudoku makes you look clever, because half the world still doesn't know it's not mathematical. The numbers in this game are just symbols. One could use punctuation marks to the same effect, but that would feel too much like work.

My obligation is almost fulfilled! All I need to do now is inflict the same reward on five other deserving bloggers. Although it might sound easy, it's harder than a Sudoku puzzle. I can't find any bloggers who have not recently (or relatively recently) updated their blogs, so it's going to be a merit award for me. I apologize in advance for the link-hunting they will have to do in return for a bit of publicity.

Mark Hunter
Stuart Aken
Noelene Jenkinson
Tim Greaton   and
Kat Jordan

you're it!

Have a go at this pass the parcel stunt, and enjoy all the extra clicks.

[I did not create the award image, so spellings are not mine.]

If you have anything to say about spellings, awards, napping, Sudoku, verbs or work, do by all means leave a comment.

Thanks again, Dan!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, April 20, 2012

Guest blogger Tom Kepler

This week, guest blogger Tom Kepler keeps us enthralled with location.

Welcome, Tom!


Rosanne Dingli has published three works in which the island of Malta is of central importance: Counting Churches, The Malta Stories; Death in Malta; and her most recent work, Camera Obscura. Perhaps the old truism Write about what you know applies to Rosanne because she was born and raised on Malta, living there until she was twenty-seven years old. I'm guessing it's more than that, though. A familiar setting cannot only supply compelling detail for a story: a setting can also suggest compelling stories to a writer.

Rosanne has asked that I write a guest post, and setting seems appropriate, since Rosanne has used it to such great effect. I write fantasy and have published a fantasy novel, The Stone Dragon. The story came to me one Thanksgiving vacation: dragons, gnomes, and a protagonist called Glimmer. I started writing, and suddenly I was seven thousand words into the novel, which is now available in both print and e-formats. This reality has grown to include a sequel in draft version, Dragons of Blood and Stone, and short stories published as an e-book Who Listened to Dragons, Three Stories.
I drew a map to aid me in the writing of The Stone Dragon, and that map grew and filled itself in as I wrote the first draft of Dragons of Stone and Blood. A funny thing then happened regarding that map. During this last winter vacation (I'm a school teacher in America), I wrote several short stories that were set in the fantasy reality of the novels. 

The stories all started with place. What if in this place a particular character had this conflict? What would happen? One short story begins off the map, to the south, and then moves onto the map. It also takes place two generations prior to Glimmer and The Stone Dragon. Another takes a character from The Stone Dragon and writes about that character prior to the novel. A third considers one reality of the fantasy novel--magical elemental water spirits--and explores the relationship of the season of the year to the behavior of the elemental spirits. All are set in specific places from the Dragons of Blood and Stone series: the Sand Barrens, The Easypeace River, and the Castle Madrone.

Having a reality with which one is familiar can both enrich one's writing and also inspire one's writing. I have more stories to tell. One is about a selkie at Seal Rock. Another is about rock gnomes and a young man named Cobb. I'm also waiting for a place name on the map to whisper to me an unexpected character and conflict.

Rosanne must know all about this. Her book Counting Churches, The Malta Stories consists of thirteen stories. Counting her novels set in Malta, it's apparent that the island speaks to her, tells her its stories. I'm happy to read the Maltese stories that Rosanne tells.
And I'm also happy to explore the fantasy reality of The Stone Dragon, to learn its stories and to tell them to you.


Thanks so much, Tom! I am sure all readers would love to ask questions or comment.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What does this painting mean to me?

For years now this blue-grey painting of yachts in a marina has graced my blog.

Many of my readers have asked, privately and not, where it's from, what it means, who painted it, and why I chose this painting to head my blog.

The time has come to tell you.

First, look at it for a moment: note the vague bank of buildings in the background. Note the hanging sky, which has just shed its burden of rain over the promenade, where afternoon strollers quickly take the daily air before another shower sends them scurrying to the cafes along the waterfront. Can you smell the fresh rainy scent that just veils the stagnant algae-heavy odour that hangs about the wharves?

Claude Monet, Fishing Boats Leaving the Harbor...Claude Monet, Fishing Boats, Le Havre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Can you see how children hurry adults along, thinking of the pastries that might accompany a bowl of warm milk in a minute? The impatience of meeting yet another acquaintance is in their step. Being told to watch the berthing boats, and the departing fishing ketches, is no consolation: it would be better to be indoors, or to watch the shifting scene and the gathering storm from behind a large window.

The crack of a canvas sail, the whistle of a breeze that clinks a steel chain block against a mast, the snap of a painter that tows a small dinghy, the plash of oar in cold water: the sounds of yachts being berthed, ropes being coiled and shouts carried by water, but dulled by coming rain are all here ... there.

There: just the way Claude Monet painted them in 1874, at Le Havre, in France.

This is the Le Havre of more than a hundred years before I used the very same location in my novel Camera Obscura, released globally last month by BeWrite Books. The painting appears in the book, and the location is significant in the story. Much has happened to change the harbour at Le Havre - there are still yachts there, and some fishing boats, but they are not the same as the ones you see here. Renovations and the march of the decades, prosperity, wars, ingenuity, and new architecture have changed the port town.

Enjoy this scene, and seek it in Camera Obscura - and let me know whether you recognize the landmarks.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Aspects of the human condition

It is possible to watch oneself develop as a writer. One can see oneself mature. Even without a mirror, one can take a step back and see a kind of stream in one's writing that becomes predominant. A stream that seems to take over: perhaps it's the aspect of life that fascinates, that preoccupies that author most.

That author is me: I take myself as the case in point and find some recurring themes in my writing - now that three of my novels are published, and a fourth is being written, it is certainly detectable. There are several aspects of the human condition I find fascinating, and they take over as I write.

Even without my knowing, they infiltrate my stories, and predominate. The careful reader will have noticed this some time ago, possibly even before I noticed that I am drawn to the way men of a certain age engage in affairs of the heart. Even before I understood my own fascination with the way locations affect people, perhaps, readers were twigging the fact that I am bowled over by some locations.

The things people 'know' and 'believe' do intrigue me. Belief and knowledge, especially when they dominate a life, move and inspire me. How can fully-grown adults allow a branch of knowledge, or a particular belief, take over their whole lives? It happens, and it's in my fiction ... several times over.

The aspects of human affection and love fascinate not only authors, but a great number of readers - which makes romance a very popular genre. And while I do not write strictly within the romance genre, the love and affection of my characters tends to colour my stories. I have also noticed that I am intrigued, struck and rather interested in avuncular male characters who imbibe the story with experience and wisdom. It took me a while to notice this, especially when I was still rather fond of writing short fiction.

Courtesy health.msn
Nothing tells you more about an author than reading two or three of their novels. Sometimes, it's better than a biography. Aspects of love and hate, of irritation, of joy and disappointment - of the whole gamut of human emotions and relations pop up ... but some of these keep recurring, and one can relate to that author's preoccupations.

So am I preoccupied by ageing? By aspects of knowledge and belief? By relationships? By the way life's troubles and stresses get in the way of love?  By the way a particular place on the globe colours a traveller's whole life? I must be, because I write a lot about these tendencies. I give my protagonists problems of the kinds I would not like myself, and am slightly scared of, but have often wondered about. This is telling.

I have found out that it is possible to discover more about an author than they might be willing to reveal about themselves.

If you are a reader - have you ever wondered about your favourite authors' preoccupations, and whether they surface in their fiction?

If you are an author, how conscious are you of your concerns and obsessions filtering through into your stories ... which, after all, are supposed to be fictions?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The wisdom of others

Where would we be without the wisdom of others? They might not think they are wise, but they lend us their experience. Listening to those who talk about fiction gives me insights into novels I haven't even read, gives me introductions to authors I had not heard of until then. Listening to other parents gives me a view on teenagers I did not see before. Hearing and reading about friends' adventures in the kitchen makes me write shopping lists that are a bit different from the staple "Carrots, cranberries, cabbage."

Few of us think we are wise. When we are posed questions, or asked for advice, though, we bring our age and experience into play. Wisdom is not merely stuff found in books. Wisdom can be found in family anecdotes - of digging a "hidden" pair of sandals out of a sandpit, or mopping refused spaghetti off the front of a brand new t-shirt.

Wisdom can be found in commonplace opinions about books or movies, which can give a new slant to the terms "jealousy", "gluttony" or "joy". Ask someone you know, and whose opinions you think you have a handle on, what they think joy is, and you might have material for a new novel.

Leonard Bernstein
An off-the-cuff comment about a chance meeting, or a single word about a shared experience such as a concert, can give a creative person the whole basis for their next work. "Did you see how the only thing moving at a certain moment was the conductor's baton?" And the creative person goes home, stays up half the night, and produces a canvas of a hand, complete with cuff and baton, that is a sure masterpiece.

I am in the middle of writing my next novel. It would be practically impossible to do it without drawing on the depth of experience, the advice, the anecdotes, the opinions and the wisdom I have observed in people around me, strangers I meet, and acquaintances I make online.

One might think it would be impossible to produce anything at all without the input of a number of people: all works are the product of a team of some sort. Inspiration is nothing short of the wisdom we gain from others.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Holding a new book

We all like new books. There's nothing like holding a nice crisp edition in the hand. Everyone loves the feel and smell of a real book, and it's true - nothing beats the experience.

In the hand! Camera Obscura
For authors, this is doubly true. Ripping open the packaging the postman brings, to reveal your latest release, is something not everyone can do. Authors are special people and books are special objects. Riffling the 300-odd pages of a new book, knowing all those words were hard-won and took immeasurable time to put together, is not something everyone can feel.

Ebooks too are special - we are living the dream. Authors and readers now arre at the pointy end of innovation in the book world. I doubt there was ever a time when more reading was done. Authors and publishers everywhere are staggered by the speed of innovation and change.

BeWrite Books have come up with a sophisticated cover for Camera Obscura. It is sleek: the lens shutter image seems to capture its focus, photography. The life of a photojournalist turned upside-down by the explosive entry into his life of a mysterious woman is explored through his actions in a unique adventure.

Stay with me as I ride the roller-coaster of this novel's first year. Perhaps you might catch a glimpse of what it means to be an author in the grip of the market's fickle movements. What it means to read the impressions of readers as they trickle in. What it means to have to return to the draft-pad... because surely, this is a cycle, and it's got to happen all over again.

Have a look at Camera Obscura, and let me know your initial impression, whether you are another author relating to all this, or a reader wondering what all the fuss is about.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Excitement and fear

The various stages a book undergoes between inception of an idea and final publication are packed with incidents and accidents that can fill any author with doubt, loathing and fear. Writing, researching, rewriting and editing all require decisions, creativity, and incredibly hard work. Sometimes, authors can simply stop in their tracks, numbed by the process. Although it is not strictly speaking writer's block, this stage has been called that by many. It is enough to drive one quite insane.

Then there's the stage when a finished novel is being prepared for release. It is possibly when an author feels most doubt. The manuscript could have undergone another edit or two. Or a rewrite... or something! Is it really ready to go? Will readers like it? There are distinct stages in the creation of a novel that can soothe, disturb or agitate. Will this ever end?

Questions of that nature abound - but soothing things happen to even the keel of the most hesitant author. Working with a publisher whose digital awareness and marketing aplomb are terrific certainly helps. While I am struggling with doubt and trepidation, BeWrite Books and its editors and designer are working behind the scenes in a capable kind of calmness that's so realistic ... and yet so frightening.

They, of course, have created dozens of titles. I have not come anywhere near one dozen, so my nervousness is understandable. Camera Obscura is slated for release on March 30 or thereabouts, and I have no doubt BeWrite Books will once more come up with the goods - their third time for me.

Design by Tony Szmuk
Imagine my delight when I find they are unveiling the cover in stages, using puzzle pieces that so aptly denote the contents - it is a puzzle indeed. It's a thriller with a strong romantic overtone, which might seem a bit unusual, seeing the protagonist is a male Australian photojournalist.

This kind of gradual revelation is soothing to an author, who takes a novel from inception to launch with a number of foreboding questions. There are many slip-ups, reversals, decisions and knotty problems. Always, there is that feeling of indecision - a sense of insecurity. One teeters on edges and rocks on one's creative heels - locked on the itchy horns of some dilemma which might be halved if shared.

Only other writers understand this stage. Luckily, I have the privilege of knowing a number of writers whose advice, support and help - not to mention their understanding at a time like this - is gold. Gold.

Bear with me as I weather this time. As I cross this bridge, as I reach for metaphors to signify this terrible time  in an author's life, when everything seems futile and a complete waste of time.

Comment if you are an author who also experiences times of frustration and inertia, especially on the threshold of a launch.

Comment if you are a curious reader, who wonders what the fuss is all about.
Enhanced by Zemanta