|Author:||Nola||Published:||almost 2 years ago.|
|Tags:||creativity, calling, fiction, prayer, writing process, novel, God's leading||Category:||Projects|
This week’s blog is a little different. I’ve been tagged by Wendy Noble to be part of a blog tour. Wendy is a fantasy writer, blogger extraordinaire, and reviewer for Good Reading magazine. Although we haven’t met face-to-face, we both studied at Tabor Adelaide and are part of a wonderful online writing community. She’s always a source of encouragement and you can find out more about her writing at the following link: http://wendynoble.com/
Wendy has asked me to answer the following four questions as part of the blog tour.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently writing my debut novel, Cry of Speechless Stones. The title comes from a line in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem The Cry of the Children, which was instrumental in changing attitudes towards child labour in the nineteenth century. I’m hoping to complete a draft in time for Editor’s Boot Camp at the Queensland Writers Centre in August, though the timeline will be tight.
It’s a parallel narrative that alternates between the stories of Maggie and Libby. Maggie is a 19-year-old woman who travels to Nova Scotia in the 1880s to find her young brother and sister who were sent to Canada as ‘home children’ without her knowledge. She is shipwrecked on Sable Island en route. When she finally arrives in Halifax six weeks later, she meets unscrupulous businessman Thaddeus Tharaday, whose stock was lost in the shipwreck. He offers to use his position as a member of the Home Children Board to help her find her siblings. However, Tharaday will stop at nothing to protect his own interests, even if that means preventing Maggie from ever finding her brother and sister. In the modern story, young Australian woman Libby has come to Nova Scotia to escape an abusive conman. As she discovers how her story intersects with Maggie’s, she learns the importance of standing up for what’s right, even though it could cost her life. Oh and there’s a little love interest thrown in for both women along the way.
How does your work differ from others in the genre?
I’ve read some parallel narratives in which the main purpose of the modern story is to uncover facts about the past story. It may be an older person looking back on their life or other characters discovering documents such as diaries or letters. While there’ll also be a bit of uncovering in mine, the modern story has its own separate story arc. I want each story to stand on its own merits and be equally engaging for the reader, though the overlap between the stories adds to the intrigue. I’m obviously not the first person to do that, but I’m very conscious of wanting each story to work alone. If I took away the modern story, would the 1880s tale work by itself? If I took away the past story, would the modern narrative work by itself? Nothing like setting yourself a challenge for your first novel!
Why do you write or create what you do?
I’ve been a creative person all my life. I was singing as a pre-schooler, playing guitar and writing songs in primary school, writing poetry through high school and Uni, and even dabbling in art as an adult. About eight years ago, I felt God saying it was time to dust off those creative muscles that had been lying dormant in my academic job and pursue writing more seriously. I enrolled in a Graduate Diploma of Arts (Creative Writing) at Tabor Adelaide and never looked back. At the end of 2013, I felt God’s leading as I left my academic job and started a freelance writing and editing business with my husband Tim. The great thing about our business, The Write Flourish, is that I can indulge my creative pursuits, while also helping others to follow their dreams. I feel my calling is two-fold: to write, but to also encourage others to write. When I’m creating something, I truly come alive.
How does your writing/creative process work?
When it comes to fiction, I’m halfway between a plotter and a pantser. I like to have my critical plot points in place so I know what’s happening, but I like elements of the story to emerge as I go. In my current work, I hadn’t intended for Maggie to have a love interest. She was going to single-mindedly spend her life searching for her siblings. But then it became apparent that some of my plot problems could be solved by having a young reporter on the scene. Before I knew it, they were making eyes at each other. I love it when something like that catches me by surprise. I also don’t think you can underestimate the importance of prayer in the creative process. If I’m stuck or need some direction, it’s amazing how prayer can lead to a host of ideas and solutions I hadn’t thought of previously. I love the dynamic nature of the writing process. I’d go nuts if I had to have every scene plotted before I began. The encouragement of family and friends has also been important. An encouraging word can keep me going when I feel like giving up.
Thanks for allowing me to share some thoughts about my current project. I’d now like to tag my friend and fellow author Jeanette O’Hagan to pick up the blog tour baton. Jeanette is a fantasy writer and poet. We’re also currently editing an anthology together and I’ve really enjoyed the collaboration. She’ll be answering these same questions on her blog on Monday 20th July. Why not pop over to her website in the meantime and check out her writing? http://jeanetteohagan.com/