Friday, 3 February 2012

Charles Dickens, and Getting To Know You Blogfest

Two hundred years ago on 7 February, Charles Dickens was born. If I was in London, I might try to get tickets for the bicentenary dinner at the Dickens Museum.


"In celebration of the birth of Charles Dickens 200 years ago, a dinner will be held at Mansion House.

The evening will commence with a sherry reception at 6.45pm, followed by a three-course dinner at 7.30pm with wines and coffee. Carriages at 10.30pm.

Featuring Dickensian entertainment led by Sir Patrick Stewart." (emphasis mine)

Wonder what carriages means? Do you get driven home in style? How come you don't get picked up, too?

Sometime back, during NaNo, J. L. Campbell hosted a getting to know you blogfest for the romantic suspense group of Rach Harrie's Writers Platform-building Campaign. I came across this the other day on Tara's blog, and thought I'd answer the questions.

Only, of course, I'm going to do them from a historical romance point of view...

1. Name two historical romance authors who inspire you.

That's easy - Joanna Bourne and Diana Gabaldon. Diana's not a romance author, of course, but that's precisely why she's so inspiring - she's an everything author.

2. How did you start writing in your genre?

Short answer - I don't know. Long answer - One day in high school I stopped writing middle grade stories and started writing a romance between two real life musicians. I knew they were meant to be together, even if they couldn't see it.

Some years later, after two finished novels and a few aborted story ideas, I went back to MG. But everything moved slowly. Ideas were halting, editing was plodding along at a snail's pace. And then... well, I've told this story before:

I sent my characters off to another houseparty.

"One or the other of them had previously participated in the writers' houseparties that take place on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community; there have been eight such parties to date and I – and my characters – were present at the very first one in June 2007. Each party after that grew in size and complexity, as more writers joined in the fun, bringing their characters to interact with the characters of other members, who all come from varying places and time periods. Houseparties are a great way to thrust your characters out of their familiar worlds and learn things about them that you may not have known before. Writing for a houseparty is just like writing your first draft – fast paced and fluid, with no second guessing; anything goes at a houseparty, from magic to skipping between time periods, to anachronistic events and language, to romantic interludes..."

I rediscovered my love of romance, the ideas began to flow - unstoppable - and I haven't looked back.

3. You've landed a meeting with your dream agent. Write a one-paragraph pitch to sell your novel to him/her.

Let's go with the one I'm pitching to agents right now:

Out of the Water is a 15th Century historical romance, complete at 115,000 words.
Rosa becomes separated from her family as they flee their Spanish homeland – and the Inquisition. Now her one hope of reaching Constantinople, and reuniting with her family, lies with a stranger, Baha, an artist from the Ottoman Empire. As they travel together, Rosa's drive to find her loved ones is matched by a deepening desire for the man at her side.

Her family refuses to accept this man of a different faith, but when janissaries arrest her father and brother, Rosa and Baha risk everything to rescue them. Together they will prove that their love can withstand their differences... if the Grand Vizier doesn't throw them both into the dungeons first.
4. Sabotage or accident - which would you put your female lead through, and why?

I have to say, I don't plan many of the incidents. Some appear out of nowhere and some are the characters telling me "I know you thought this would happen, but I'm going to do that."

Sometimes they grow out of exercises on the Compuserve forum; that's how I met Baha.

And I always, always, worry that I'm not raising the stakes enough.

5. Plotter or panster - who are you?

Oh, definite pantster. Especially for the first draft. Then I do a read through, with editing, and make a list of all the scenes and links I need. And pants my way through them.

If anyone else wants to turn this into an ongoing blogfest, feel free!

Mr. Dickens:

9 comments:

Jess said...

"Short answer: I don't know. Long answer: One day in high school..."

Lol love it :)
Thanks for sharing!

Joshua said...

Sci-Fi Fantasy:

1. Joel Rosenberg and Orson Scott Card

2. I've been writing sci-fi/fantasy since...as long as I can remember. I posted about my first "book" in 7th grade, and it was fantasy. So...who the hell knows now.

3. ...

4. Accident.

5. Pantser, and everything you said.

The Golden Eagle said...

1. Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.
2. I read a book by Glen Cook, liked some elements of the story and hated others, and decided to write a story building on the elements I liked.
3. I've never written a pitch.
4. Sabotage. Someone must have sabotaged it, which means more plot opportunities.
5. Plotter.

Theresa Milstein said...

Nice interview with yourself!

LR said...

Good luck pitching! And happy birthday to Charles (in 3 days). :)

Nas Dean said...

All the best with your pitching Deniz. Nice interview!

Old Kitty said...

Oh I love how you re-discovered your love for romance writing! What a journey!! The romance genre is all the richer for your Out of Water!

Yay and GOOD LUCK!! Take care
x

Romance Book Haven said...

Good luck, Deniz. And happy birthday to Charles Dickens!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks, Jess!

My sister's got lots of Orson Scott Card, Joshua. Time to borrow a few!

I like that sabotage idea, Eagle!

Thanks Theresa, LR, Nas, Kitty and Romance! :-)

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • Dead Cold by Louise Penny
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison
  • Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman
  • The Magician by Somerset Maugham
  • Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
  • The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (skimmed last third)
  • A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
  • Fatal Fallout by Lara Lacombe
  • secret beta read!
  • The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
  • Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe
  • Carry On, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
  • The Floating Admiral by the Detection Club, including Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, etc.
  • Brief Lives, Sandman 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham
  • The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona (I give up on finishing this; skimmed to the end)
  • Childe Harold by Lord Byron (listened to the parts of it set in Switzerland read aloud)
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
  • Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
  • Tu Vas Naitre by Sylvia Kitzinger
  • Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
  • secret beta read 2!
  • Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
  • The Caliph's Vacation by Goscinny (Iznogoud series; Canadian translation) (reread)
  • Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
  • Le Tresor de Rackham le Rouge by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • Le Secret de la Licorne by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • L'Affaire Tournesol by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • The Bum by Somerset Maugham (short story)
  • The Colour of Magic, Discworld 1 by Terry Pratchett
  • Fables and Reflections Sandman 6 by Neil Gaiman
  • Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene
  • Once Upon an Heirloom by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland
  • Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif
  • Journey to an 800 Number by E. L. Konigsburg
  • various Neil Gaiman short stories on the An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer album (reread (well, this time in audio))
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (reread; actually this was an older edition, published under the original title of Ten Little N******)
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
  • How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
  • biographical note on Lord Peter Wimsey in reissue of Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers (on Gutenberg)
  • One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
  • Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • Temptation by Sandy Loyd
  • The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
  • Effie's Outlaw by Karen Lopp
  • Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
  • The Christmas Crossing by Bev Petterson (short story)
  • secret beta read!
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
  • Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
  • Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
  • Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren
  • Whales by Jacques Cousteau (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
  • Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
  • Go the F*^$ To Sleep (board book)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman: http://www.worldbuilders.org/our-next-stretch-goal-unlocks-at/neil-gaiman-reads-green-eggs-and-ham)
  • The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
  • mini Twitter stories by Talli Roland (available here: http://advice.uk.match.com/dating-advice/enjoy-valentine%E2%80%99s-day-and-get-mentallydating?utm_expid=55691082-15.2L0G0ictTcSJ4BI9Srh77A.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fadvice.uk.match.com%2Fdating-advice)
  • The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter
  • Beloved Demons by Anthony Martignetti
  • Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
  • Let Me Make Myself Plain by Catherine Cookson
  • The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
  • Mystery of the Fat Cat by Frank Bonham
  • Spin by Catherine Mckenzie
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (reread)
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  • The Ghost in the Window by Betty Ren Wright
  • The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
  • The Treason of Isengard - Book 7 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Behind the Lines (poems) by A. A. Milne
  • the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html