Samantha HayesI grew up in the Midlands with my parents and younger brother. I always wanted to be a writer and pestered for my first typewriter when I was ten. It wasn’t a clear-cut path to my dream career and it took several decades longer to get there than I’d anticipated...
UNTIL YOU’RE MINE paperback coming soon!
Christmas isn’t far away now and that means it won’t be long until you can get your hands on (or your e-reader on) a copy of the paperback edition of UNTIL YOU’RE MINE. It’s available from 2nd January 2014. I thought I’d put up a picture of the cover with its snazzy yellow text – just a little bit different to the hardback – which of course is still available and would make an excellent Christmas present!
Meantime, to whet your appetite, here are a few lovely reviews that some kind bloggers/reviewers wrote about my book – some glowing words at the Vulpes Libres site, then another fab review by The Book Whisperer, and yet another at Mean Streets – The Home of Crime Fiction. Thanks to all the bloggers and reviewers! And…some exciting news soon revealing the title of my next book, out in April!
Killer Girls’ Night In – The Library of Birmingham 30th October »
Event at Rugby Library 8th October 2013 »
Until You’re Mine in Independent’s 50 Best Beach Reads »
Harper’s Bazaar picks UNTIL YOU’RE MINE as a new ‘Gone Girl’ »
Do Not Disturb – #AmEditing
There’s a Regina Spektor song called ‘Edit’. She sings: You can write but you can’t edit. Now I really like Regina’s music, but she’s not going to get very far with an attitude like that, is she? Editing is up there with writing the book in the first place and, of course, actually having a story to tell. It is, in other words, Very Important.
Editing, like writing, is a personal business. Every writer has their own way of tackling what can seem quite a daunting process. But ultimately the aim is the same for all writers and their editors—we want the book to be the very best it can be. Editing hones and polishes, cuts out the unnecessary, does away with all those crazy notions that the writer once thought were clever, and focusses the story. It loses all those wordy, overwrought sentences. It banishes whole scenes – even entire characters/sub-plots/threads – to the recycle bin. Editing is a breath of fresh air after all those sweaty months of hammering out the first draft. And not editing your work is like wearing a new dress to a party without brushing your hair or cleaning your teeth.
I’ve finished the first draft of my new novel. It needs work. When I write, the first thing I do each day is read what I wrote the day before. I spend some time making alterations, usually nothing major. I don’t get too hung up on minute details. But anything glaring and I’ll whip it into shape there and then. Then I get on with my day’s writing, knowing that before long I’ll be revisiting the text many times anyway, probably making some drastic changes. The thing is, as I approach the end, I’m desperate to go back to the beginning. Writing a novel is a very fluid process. Of course I start out with strong ideas and a solid plot, but things have a habit of changing along the way. If I get stuck, leaving it for a few days and coming back to the text with a fresh eye is often the key to fixing a problem.
Editing isn’t just making the words hang together right and sound pretty or slick or enticing when being read. Editing is about making certain that if a character is meant to be angry throughout, they don’t suddenly go around hugging trees for no apparent reason. Editing tightens themes, carries sub-plots, and most importantly, makes the story gallop forward.
There comes a point when the book needs a fresh pair of eyes. So in steps my editor. Then I will hold my breath until she tells me what’s wrong, or not, with my book. It has the potential to be a scary time in the crafting of a novel, but it’s actually not at all. A good editor will know exactly what needs doing and how to best execute it—whether the book needs only a few minor fixes or a greater overhaul. We will discuss issues that slow the book down, characters that don’t seem to be working (why didn’t I think of stripping out so-and-so?) to changing viewpoints to altering the order of events. It suddenly seems obvious. Woods and trees spring to mind. Much tea is consumed.
Alone, when I set to work with my editorial notes, sometimes I think: How can she not like that? Sometimes, to coin a phrase, she completely slaughters my darlings, even though I’ve already spent weeks trying to do the same myself. Of course, she is absolutely right.
Memories From Harrogate »
THE IDEAS BEHIND UNTIL YOU’RE MINE »
Inspiration and Ideas »
Until You’re Mine »