PWL webA novel starts as a thought or an observation or character that niggles away in a dark corner of your mind. If there’s something in any of that that’s worthwhile, it becomes an idea and requires serious attention. It might make it as far as an elevator pitch, or a couple of paragraphs. If you’re like me, ideas worth taking forward turn into two- or three-page outlines. Then, with patience and persistence, a 7-10,000 word synopsis. Only then can I start to write.

Of course, all of the above is the start of a long process. Characters need to be fleshed out, their motivations and history scrutinised, their relationships formed and often dismantled. Setting? Scenario? Secrets? They all need to be winkled out, and steadily and painstakingly built into a narrative that is compelling enough to offer to the marketplace.

There’s more, as every writer knows. Honing, polishing, cutting. Proofing, subbing, beta reading, full scale editing.

Somewhere after all of this, a book may emerge. By this stage, you may love it – or be bored rigid. Your characters may seem shallow, the plot contrived. Will anyone want to read it?

If you’re lucky, a book might emerge that you are still excited about, that you think is good, that you hope and pray readers will engage with.

I’m thankful to say that People We Love is one of these books. I’m proud of it. Bestselling novelist Alexander McCall Smith has said kind things about it. My publishers love it. All that remains is for readers to find it and like it too.

J at WaterstonesThat process started at Waterstone’s in Edinburgh on Thursday evening, when the kind staff treated me to a window display, and a host of friends and supporters turned up to celebrate the publication of the paperback. Engaging in a friendly Q&A discussion with top-drawer author and journalist Fred Bridgland, I felt as though I had already secured a slot at the famous Book Festival along the road. Maybe next year …

In the meantime, I had a ball, everyone partied, some kind souls even bought the book, and all I have to do now is sit back and wait for the reviews. I guess that’s when reality may sink in, but in the meantime – hooray! – I’m an author,  and I have the proof.

Sincere thanks are due to everyone who has made this miracle possible.

People We Love is available as an ebook and paperback.

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It’s real! A paperback emerges from the wisp of an idea
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7 thoughts on “It’s real! A paperback emerges from the wisp of an idea

  • August 8, 2015 at 1:58 pm
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    Great blog and particularly interesting for me as I’ve also been pondering the journey from inspiration to finished product. You’re so organised! By which you’ll be able to tell that I’m not.

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    • August 8, 2015 at 2:06 pm
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      Organised? Moi? Hmm – sometimes! But this just came to me and – the luxury of having your own blog – I acted on the thought… Thanks for commenting.

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  • August 8, 2015 at 3:09 pm
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    Hi Jenny, So glad I read this. It reminds us that the writing process isn’t an easy one. I love the title. That’s what stopped me as I worked through my FB feed. Good luck with it. Cheers from Nova Scotia! 🙂

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    • August 10, 2015 at 8:35 am
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      Thank you, Ann Cameron from Nova Scotia! With a wonderful Scottish name. One of the leading men in People We Love is called Cameron … I like the Scottish thing of having interchangeable surnames and forenames (Campbell, Fraser, Kerr etc). Good luck with your own writing.

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  • August 8, 2015 at 8:02 pm
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    I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to come to your book launch, Jenny. It sounds like it was a fabulous evening – and getting a window display in Waterstones is brilliant and will surely help to sell loads of copies.
    Mary Smith

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  • August 8, 2015 at 10:28 pm
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    So glad the launch was a success. Books look great in the window. 🙂

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    • August 10, 2015 at 8:35 am
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      Thanks Dale! And thanks for dropping by.

      Reply

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