Here is the final part of the VITVW questions. I have put questions together to answer as many as possible. If yours was missed, let me know in the comments section.
11 ) Did you learn anything new about writing while working on Vengeance in the Valencian Water? Did you enjoy writing this book? Would you change anything about your books?
I learned plenty once again. My last novel release was only five months ago, but I feel like I learned so much about editing in that tiny space of time. I feel like the quality has stepped up another level. Because the time it took to write this book became a mess due to illness, I had to stay on task, and I learned I can write a lot of a short space of time if I make the effort. If I needed to have a chapter done start to finish in a couple of hours, I can do that. Doing 5000 words a day doesn’t feel like a big deal.
I have two individual book series and they are very different to each other, and flipping between the two wasn’t as hard as last time I swapped between them. I finished Violent Daylight and felt ready to finish VITVW once and for all. Now it’s done, I can go and work on Luminous Colours of Dusk without any trouble. Because I feel happy with the product, can I put it to bed and move on without any worries. Swapping between Night Wants to Forget and Blood in the Valencian Soil was harder because the first edition of NWTF never made me happy.
The other thing I learned is that you need to have several proofreaders. Everyone puts their hands up to volunteer to proofread, but then bow out when they see the level of reading involved. It makes perfect sense, since the world is a busy place, so always get a few extra readers, just in case. Big thanks to Sue Sharpe, who volunteered to painstakingly edit the book, and to Mary Mixon who proofread the entire book in a really short space of time. I wouldn’t change a thing!
Tip to looker thinner than you are on research trips – stand in a giant room filled with fat pillars
12 ) What did you mean when you wrote on Twitter – ‘I hope I don’t sound like a Franco sympathiser in my next book’? Why do you write about Franco? Is it possible to be objective about Franco?
Eek – Franco questions. It instantly remind me of the troll who told me I was liar and Franco is a hero and a genius. That really happened.
If you have read the first book in the series, you won’t be confused about where my political alliances lie – I am an unashamed leftie. Writing a story about a group of anarchists in the Spanish civil war didn’t produce any trouble for me – the desire for freedom, rights for the working class and equality for women appeal to everything I stand for. Of course, the two families in the series come from different angles – one Republican anarchists and one Nationalists heavily in favour of Franco. In VITVW, the story learns more about the Morales family and their Franco and religious leanings. What I know is that people on either side of the divide believe in their ideals without question, so I wrote a family who believe Franco was a hero. It’s not my personal belief, and there are plenty of lines in the book which go against what I think is true. Remember it’s not the final book in the series, so it will swing back to my beliefs more in the next book. What’s the point of writing the series if I don’t explore both sides? I am not endorsing Franco at all, the book does not even attempt to do that, and I still dislike religion as much as ever.
I may take photos of this Falange loving weirdness, but I don’t support it
13 ) Will this book be hard to read if I don’t know anything about the history of Spain? Is this book for Spain lovers? I have never been to Spain, will this book to be complicated?
I hope not! This is not a true story; it’s not a set of facts. VITVW is a novel, first and foremost. While I stuck to reality in terms of the timelines, the people are completely fictional. Are there groups of Franco lovers out there, ready to praise the man? You bet there are (they are called the Spanish government… I’m kidding… but not really…), I spoke to Franco lovers personally. Headlines used in the Valencian papers are close to reality, but the characters are fictional when looking for their stolen babies, and you don’t need to already know the background of the baby stealing process of the Franco era – everything you need to understand in the story is included. Likewise with the 2010 drugs in cycling scandal – everything you need to know to understand it is there.
14) Tell us a few things about you that we don’t know about you. Is your online persona the same as your real-life persona?
Jaja, my online persona is probably way cooler than real life. In saying that, I am a snappy dresser (I wish) and get into some funny situations. Things you might not know –
I like radishes
I get so seasick that my backyard hammock is even off-limits unless I take my seasickness pills
My homemade salad dressing is made with condensed milk
I scuff the toes of every pair of shoes I own
I climbed onto a railway line when a train hit a car (first on the scene) when I was only 13. Only two of the six car occupants survived. It was as bad as you could imagine. Only two years later I dealt with my step-brother’s body being fished from a river.
I’ve never understood why some women say they feel threatened by other women. I’ve never felt threatened. Am I the threatening one?
I once cried at a Spanish supermarket
My parents both got terminal cancer in their 50’s, which taught me to never hold back – dreams, words, goals; there is no extra time, now is the time to get out there
When I was 17, I carried around a Volvo Ocean Race magazine everywhere I went – I ended up getting work on sails for a team
As a child, I was pulled from classes to take part in a special writing course. The teacher said I had terrific storyline ideas, but I would never be smart enough to write a book
My best friend is my brother who sadly lives in Australia (upside – epic holidays together)
I feel like the last stay-at-home mother left in New Zealand
I was a show-off in 1982 (and a natural blonde! Shh…)
15 ) What else are you writing?
The inevitable question. I will go back to finishing Luminous Colours of Dusk, the third and possibly last book in the Canna Medici series. I’m not sure I could live without Canna! Another book high on the agenda is my novel based in Barcelona, about the glory and demise of the Republican ideals in the civil war. The pressure to get historical detail correct is massive, and the book is a challenge. I do little bouts of writing and researching at a time, rather than taking on the project full-time, because I’m just not ready. I will have to return to Barcelona for a second research trip in the near future. Of course there with be the third novel in the Luna Montgomery series, Death in the Valencian Dust, which will take a lot of work. I also have a book about cheating on someone with cancer, a book about being a pioneer moving to New Zealand in the late 1800’s, and an Australian gold rush story to flesh out. Those six should keep me busy for the rest of the decade, and I’m sure more will come to mind.
Upcoming cover art
Up next is Part 4 of VITVW, photos and locations used in the book. Part 5 will have the first chapter free to read on January 2014, book release day.
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