Thursday, 20 September 2012

John Connolly Author Talk

Hi peeps how you all?

Well still not written or even read much - still reading Wizards First Rule by Terry Goodkind from January - lol but going to get back into that as well as writing.  Still to do a short story from a woman's POV.

Anyway in the meantime on Monday 17th September went to the usual CWG - Cleckheaton Writers Group and had fun chatting about what we were writing but more importantly there was a buzz of excitement as we were going to an author event at Cleckheaton Town Hall to see a talk with crime novelist John Connolly.

Now I have to hold my hand up - I not a great fan of crime and had never heard of John Connolly - most popular for his Charlie Parker series.  His newest novel is out now.

Here's a snippet of what I learnt from his talk about him and his writing.
He writes American crime based in Maine although he is Irish but there are no great crimes taking place in Ireland.
Advised that all Writers are Readers first and that deadlines are suggestions - and usually go past - ha.
Here John quoted Douglas Adams who said that he enjoyed the sound of another deadline wizzing past!
When he wrote his first novel he put everything into it plot wise and other novelists do too as they don't know if they will be published again and want to get a great book out!

John advised that writers usually end a series by killing off the main characters ala Morse and it is usually hard to conclude a series satisfactory.
He isn't sure if he will be killing off Charlie Parker or at least not telling anyone.  John has an overall plot arc for the series although when he first started the series he didn't and started as he wrote more of them.

John shared that he writes without planning the plot and usually jus knows the opening scene of a novel.
He also writes 1000 words a day.
He also gets to about 20,000 words in his novels and wants to give up or throw away and advised that is around the point most writers usually abandon their attempts at a novel between 20,000 to 40,000 words.
But he also advised you learn valuable lesson from finishing a novel.

He also told us about his foray into films whereby one of his short storys was made into a film with Kevin Costner staring although it bombed and went straight to DVD.
He warned when film companies pay writers it's usually to go away - lol - and that you have to be very careful when selling your work to studios!

After his talk myself and fellow CWG bought a book each and waited in a long cue to get it signed. 
John was a very  friendly person and down to earth author - probably the most since I met David Gemmell a few years back - would put both talks at 10 out of 10.
I asked John for writing tips he advised to keep writing and to finish.  To be persistent and with a bit of luck you can get published as the big publishers are always wanting manuscripts - without them wouldn't be around.  He also told me and Karen it took him 5 years to get published.

All in all a very enjoyable evening with a confident yet very down to earth guy - my fellow CWG member Karen also has a review of the evening which is more detailed and includes a photo of her and John! 
Go to to read it! 

Enjoy x

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Ann Cleeves Night

Well as mentioned in the previous post I was off to see and meet Ann Cleeves - Crime author at Brighouse Libarary as part of Brighouse Arts Festival week and it was a joyful and fullfilling event with snacks and free wine - hiccup.
I met up with my CWG partner in crime Karen and we went to look at Ann's books on offer to buy.  We are both new to this author and her work and if it wasn't for Ann's Vera Stanhope novels making their way to the small screen we wouldn't have heard of her - although she has wrote quite a few novels.
Karen picked a Vera Stanhope novel and I picked Red Bones - a novel in her Shetland Quartet.

When we went in and waited for Ann she came in and was very down to earth and humble and I am pleased for her success.
Ann mentioned that it was an accident her Vera Stanhope Crow Trap novel got made into a t.v. series as she was a midlist author and her book was bought 2nd hand in Oxfarm by Eileen Collins who was a book scout for ITV Productions and buying it for her holiday.  The rest as they say is history!  Hope that happens to me also - ha ha.

Ann mentioned how she invented Vera Stanhope - she was told by her editors to write a psycological thriller as at the time detective novels weren't in fashion.  Half way through the novel she had writers block and had been told when this happens to introduce a new character (Phillip Pullman also said this).
So in middle of a funeral scene doors open and in walks Vera - more bag lady than detective and Ann liked the character so much she wrote her again.
Ann wanted an anti female detective one who wasn't in shape or good looking - and so Vera is overweight, drinks alot and scruffy and real.
Ann went on to talk about her writing style and that she never plots the novels in advance and that all writers like herself are nosy.
She also adviced that TV Productions buy up a lot of crime novels and not many actually get made it's just so they have the option and other productions can't make them so she was really lucky.
Ann also read out from her novel Silent Voices - which I found quite amusing and to say I don't normally read crime fiction (Sci-fi and fantasy my stlye baby) it wanted me to hear and read more.

Ann also told us what she was working on next a new Vera Stanhope novel and a new Shetland Quartet - so look out for those in the near future.
She ended on a Q & A session then went out to mingle with all us readers and writers and book sign.
Myself and Karen had our books signed and she was very approachable.
I asked if she had any tips for writers - she said to just keep on writing and more importantly if writing a novel to finish it!
Karen gave me a lift (thanks Karen) and all in all an enjoyable night - and yes it has got my creative juices flowing again - so will be writing and posting a new story very soon.

Thanks Ann x