My #WIP

Now that my debut novel is out in the world, I am fielding lots of questions about what’s next, so I thought I’d blog about it and let you know!

Aside: I have been overwhelmed by the support from the writing community since my debut was published, especially romancelandia, and by the responses to One Summer in Santorini from readers. I’ve had messages, Tweets, Facebook comments and so many wonderful reviews and ratings. Around 95% of readers love my book and it is still sitting well in the charts. I am humbled, grateful and excited by this. Thank you!

But what now?

As you may know, I work fulltime for an educational company as a professional development specialist. My work is 90% reading, writing, and editing educational materials, so sometimes finding the impetus to write and edit fiction is tricky.

But, I have found a solution!

On weekdays, I get up 2-3 hours before I go to work, and I do author biz (respond to emails and messages, post to social media, and so forth), then I write or edit. The early starts have worked well for me.

In July, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo and wrote 35000 words of a Christmas novela – all in the wee hours. I’ve set that story aside for now, as I am currently (re)editing book #2.

Book #2 is actually the third book I wrote – after the sequel to One Summer in Santorini – and because it is in the same world (it’s about Sarah’s sister, Cat), I am editing to ‘fix’ the chronology. It now takes place right after One Summer in Santorini, and I’ve edited out all the spoilers for the sequel to Sarah’s story.

I had edited this book – I call it Cat’s book at the moment – last year, after I finished writing it, but I am a better writer now, so I have also tightened it up in this editorial pass. I will soon hand this over to my editor for their edit. When it comes back to me in a month or so, I will incorporate their edits and it goes back across to them. In the interim, it will get a name and a cover(!)

When I hand over Book #2 (sometime in the next 2 weeks), I have a few options. I can work on the Christmas story, which will now be a full-length novel, go back to Book #4, which is based on a character Cat meets in Book #2 (I’m about 50000 words in), or begin a structural edit of the sequel to Sarah’s book.

So many choices!!! However, the two unfinished stories do call me.

Essentially, what I have learned about being an author, is that there is always something to do. I move between writing and editing, and while I work on these 4 books – each in its own stage of development – there are other book ideas busting to get out. I temper those ideas by making notes, but not letting them take up any real estate in my mind – it’s already crowded in there.

Book #2, That Night in Paris, is about these two, Cat and Jean-Luc… Oolala!

Book giveaway!

Hello everyone!

To celebrate the release of my second book in the ‘Someone’ series, I Think I Met Someone, I am giving away book one, You Might Meet Someone, for FREE on Amazon (Kindle) in all regions until Wednesday July 25. Yes, free!!!

Here’s a snapshot – it’s a romcom with a travel theme: Sarah’s taking herself on holiday – not looking for love, but for herself. Join her for a heartfelt, fun and romantic romp in the Greek Islands.

Download your FREE copy before Wednesday! Links below.

You Might Meet Someone Cover Art DIGITAL

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia

Also available in all other geographies.

How to write a sequel

Maker:L,Date:2017-9-28,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

I originally posted this while writing the follow up to One Summer in Santorini. It is 14 months on, and I have edited this post accordingly.

I begin this post by planting my tongue firmly in my cheek. I would love to say that I’ve unlocked the secret, that I’ve discovered the Holy Grail of writing, that I’ve figured it out! In truth, I have discovered a kind of secret sauce for myself. Other writers may benefit from my ‘process’, so if anything I say resonates, have it – it’s yours.

Reflect on book one

I wrote book one, One Summer in Santorini, for several reasons:

  • My previous agent told me that the book I was writing at the time was my 5th book, not my 1st – too many characters and a multi-narrative. “You’re not Liane Moriarty,” he said. “Yet,” he added. He then challenged me to write a simple, linear narrative. Which I did.
  • It was a love letter to my partner, Ben. We met in Greece and I borrowed (rather heavily) from our story for the book  – the first half anyway. When I introduced a love triangle I was well into the realm of fiction.
  • It was a love letter to Greece. Greece is a place where you go to fall back in love with yourself – and with being alive. It challenges you to participate in your own life. If you haven’t been, go.
  • I had some demons to exorcise. I was single for half my twenties and most of my thirties. And by ‘single’ I mean I dated awful men who I changed or hid myself to be with. I wanted to write about a woman who calls an end to that, who won’t compromise herself again to be with someone.

Make time

I wrote book one on weekends and on evenings after working at a full-time job where I spent the bulk of my time writing. It was often hard to come home (usually post gym or errands) and sit down and write for myself. I did it, but it took a couple of years.

For the sequel, I had time. In 2018, we were on a year-long sabbatical. I had contract work, but I could dedicate significant chunks of time to writing. I started writing the sequel in February while we were still in Australia and I hit 10,000 words. I was reasonably happy with that progress, but my goal in Bali was to up the pace. After 8 weeks there, I finished the book at about 95000 words.

Celebrate the milestones

Every writer gets to decide what each milestone is. I celebrated when I got through an emotional part (if the writing left me sobbing or laughing out loud – milestone!), or I finished a chapter. The sequel is written in parts – and finishing each one was a milestone. Celebrating, by the way, included sharing on social media, pedicures, cocktails, massages, and congratulatory hugs from Ben.

The secret sauce

With book one, I had to knuckle down. I had to carve out time, and often had to force myself to sit down and write or edit or proofread. I had to self-impose deadlines and get others to hold me to account.

Being in Bali, with the luxury of time, the portability of a laptop, and being inspired by my surroundings, I had an absolute ball writing the sequel. And I worked faster, which meant there was continuity in the writing – the style, the voice, the narrative, character development. I had to work laboriously at that in the editing process of One Summer in Santorini, because I wrote it over such a long period of time. With the sequel, I’ve made the editing process easier on myself, just by writing over such a concentrated amount of time.

Most importantly, though, I let the story come to me.

This is the hardest part to explain, and is still my process. I start with only a rough outline, and I have no idea how many chapters it will take to tell the story. For the sequel, I didn’t even know how it ended when I started writing it.

When I got stuck, or I didn’t know what would come, I stepped away – sometimes for a few hours, sometimes days, and when I was doing something else – running, cooking, dodging scooters on the road – it came, the next part of the story. Then I would sit and write.

I’m so grateful that we made this decision to pack up our lives, sell up our stuff, leave our jobs and to live around the world. It was my special not-so-secret-anymore sauce.

While on sabbatical, I also wrote another follow up to One Summer in Santorini about Sarah’s sister, Cat. This book will be out early next year with the sequel to follow.

I Think I Met Someone (Book 2 in the ‘Someone’ Series)

The sequel to You Might Meet Someone picks up Sarah’s story a few months after her Greek adventure.

Here’s the preface…

“Have a great time!” my best friend, Lindsey, called as she climbed into the driver’s seat of her car.

“I hope he shows up,” said her husband, Chris, grinning at me through the passenger window. Chris always teased me. He was the brother I always knew I never wanted.

“Ha, ha. You’re hilarious.”

Lins leaned across Chris, swatting at him as though he were a naughty fly. “Ignore my horrendous husband.” Chris grinned at me. “He’ll be there. And you’ll have a ball.”

I nodded, clinging to her words of encouragement. I needed them.

“We love you,” she said with a smile. Chris winked at me.

“Love you back,” I said as I waved goodbye. The car pulled away from the curb and I took a moment to catch my breath.

To be honest, I was only mildly terrified that he wouldn’t show up, and that I’d be sitting in a hotel room half-way across the world by myself. Self-doubt can be such a buzz-kill, especially when you’re about to fly somewhere you’ve never been before, to meet up with someone you haven’t seen in months.

What if he didn’t show up? Or, what if he did, but it wasn’t the same between us? Oh my god! What was I doing?