Welcome to this week’s A Cup of Conversation with the wonderfully talented author Tina-Marie Miller. I first came across her writing when I read Everything Happens for A Reason back in October 2017 and since then we have become frequent tweeters supporting each other and sharing our writing journey. Tina-Marie is set to release her next book Fame and Fortune in a few days and so this is a super exciting time to have her join us. So let’s see what she has to say about reading, writing and everything in between!
1. When did you start writing creatively?
As a child, if I wasn’t daydreaming I was busy creating stories or making up songs. Instead of cards I used to create mini books for family birthdays. I’d draw cartoons depicting vignettes from our family life – which was never dull! I began writing full time about nine years ago. I started several books – which are yet to be completed – before concentrating on my debut novel, Everything Happens For A Reason.
2. You were brought up in the historic village of Sutton Courtenay, near Abingdon in Oxfordshire. Can you tell us how this has influenced your writing.
I was blessed to have been born in this beautiful, picturesque village which has hugely influenced my work.
As a child, I used to spend a lot of time at All Saints Church which sits on the edge of the village green and is the influence behind the creation of St. Michael’s Church in my books.
I had an amazing childhood growing up in such glorious surroundings and relished exploring every aspect of village life with my friends. Long, hot summers were spent down by the river or walking through green, leafy lanes that lead onto one of the two Brookes that can be found in the village. We’d share a picnic, or various treats that we’d snaffled from our homes and sit with our bare feet in the water, trying to catch tadpoles in empty glass jam-jars. And in later years, when I took my own children to all these favoured spots, I’d sit daydreaming whilst they played happily nearby, conjuring up some of the stories that I’ve woven into The Hamptons series.
3. What was the last book you read and what lasting message did it leave?
The last book I read was The Soul Keeper by Bibiana Krall. She has the ability to weave a magical supernatural tale and her latest short story is exceptional.
The story is set in the late 60s ‘Summer of Love’ era. It’s a haunting tale that will leave you gasping with a cleverly crafted ending.
The lasting message for me? Don’t mess with things you don’t understand!
4. I’m quoting now, “you enjoy nothing more than curling up with a good book and a cup of tea, and losing yourself in tales of love, life and laughter.” What does this actually look like?
When I want to read, I take myself to the corner of the dining room where my reading chair is situated. It is a huge, cosy swivel chair covered in bright pink fabric with a matching foot stool. There are several cushions – in varying shades of pink – which I snuggle into, akin to settling myself on a wonderful, soft fluffy cloud, before losing myself in a book.
5. Tell us a little about your imminent book release, Fame and Fortune.
Whilst we return to the light-heartedness of village life, Fame and Fortune explores the phenomenon of Ghosting – the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation. I have attempted to tackle this serious issue from different perspectives.
We welcome back many favoured characters such as Diana Fortune who has become quite the celebrity. Diana puts the newly formed Fortunettes through their paces in preparation for the Cotswolds County Majorette of the Year competition – which of course comes with its challenges!
We are introduced to a few new characters too, including the glamorous Georgina Fame, a popular weight loss guru.
It’s a tale of family conflict, deceit, broken hearts and redemption… Well… this is the Hamptons after all!
6. Are any of the characters in your novels based on yourself and/or your own experiences?
Absolutely; I write about what I know. I have been fortunate to have enjoyed a fabulous career so far where I have met an abundance of wonderful people from all walks of life. Often the characters that I create are influenced by more than one person.
7. Which of your characters is your favourite and why would your readers like them?
One of my favourite characters is Rita Denby. She’s a nosey, busybody who likes to have a finger in every pie. In my forthcoming release, Fame and Fortune we see a completely different side to Rita and I think my readers will warm to her immensely.
8. How do you organise your writing process and how do you prepare your books for release?
I tend to write between the hours of 10 – 4 during the week and afternoons/early evening at weekends. I have my own office in the quietest room of the house. I try and keep social media activity to first thing in the morning / last thing in the day. I found that this works much better for me and that I don’t get as easily distracted throughout the day!
When I get to the proof reading/editing process I tend to spend as much time as possible polishing my work before sending it to my editor. Once I send it off I usually then concentrate on getting the cover artwork designed and take time to think about marketing activities for the new book as well as ideas for refreshing the marketing for my others.
9. Is there any aspect of the writer’s life you least enjoy? Why?
No. Not at all. I love every single moment and am blessed to be on this journey doing what I truly love – each and every day!
10. If you were able to meet any author, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
If you take a look at my bookcase, there is one author who stands out far amongst the rest because I have every one of his books – and this may surprise you.
I would love to meet Paul McKenna, the UK’s most successful non-fiction author.
I first came across Paul when he worked as a presenter on Capital Radio – my favoured station at the time – and later when he presented The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna. Through his studies, he not only mastered hypnotism but also neuro-linguistic programming and has helped a wealth of people overcome some of the most challenging problems.
11. Are you a planner or a pantser?
I am a planner! I create a storyboard for each book and develop the characters before I begin writing. For my series, The Hamptons, I have created a whole fictional county! I have a map of Hampton Waters and Hampton Ash showing where each of my character’s live that I continually refer to. I create extensive notes that detail the plot and story outline so that by the time I begin writing I am completely focused. However, with each of my books thus far, there are some storylines that have just naturally developed – and no amount of planning can prepare for those!
12. What’s on your current to-do list?
Create an audio version of Everything Happens For A Reason.
Record a vlog for The Curious Miss Fortune.
Prepare for the release of Fame and Fortune.
Carry on with Book 4!
Thank you dear Soulla for giving me the opportunity to feature on your blog. Sending you much love and hugs xoxo
Thank you Tina-Marie too for sharing your world of writing with us and I wish you a path filled with Fame and Fortune as you release your next novel on 31st October 2018. Thank you too my dear readers for joining us and see you again next week. Until then, Keep smiling, keep shining x
Amazon link to books: https://amzn.to/2Cy3aqm
Welcome to Part 12 of my increasingly popular blog series which looks at the inspiration different creatives have gleaned from their favourite quote.This week Marie Webdale, from Marie’s Book Boutique, an avid reader, book reviewer and book blogger has joined me and I’m truly delighted. Marie recently reviewed both my books, Broken Pieces of Tomorrow and The Summer Will Come (click on the book title to read her review) and I found her depth of coverage and connection with each story a true indication of her love of reading and her love of books. So let’s see where her passion comes from…
My favourite writing quote and how it inspired me:
‘You can, you should , and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.’
This quote is so true! I think it’s inspired me to just write in general; whether it’s a blog post, a poem or writing more for my current writing project. And to just keep writing!!!
How the quote got you into writing, helped develop my writing style or attitude:
It’s definitely helping me to learn to believe in myself and what I write a bit more. Notice I say learning, because I’m still trying to master it!
What I am writing at the moment/working on:
Well, I write blog posts about bookish things and share my reviews on books I’ve read. I am working on a romantic comedy, that I’ve been writing for quite a while on and off, due to suffering from writer’s block. But I’m slowly getting my mojo back, which has definitely been helped by my blogging.
A word of thanks…I just want to say thank you to Soulla for asking me to take part. It’s been a joy to do!
I love how this series has connected so many different people from writers to screenwriters, from artists to singers and bloggers to book reviewers.Thank you too Marie for taking part and I wish you all the best with your writing and may your enjoyment of reading long continue!
Until next time, let your creativity shine through whatever it is you are doing! Love Soulla xxx
If you would like to connect with Marie here are her main social media and website links:
A warm welcome to this week’s guest post from Jess B. Moore and Gaebrielle Wieck who share their inspirational writing quotes with us as well as the impact it has had on their writing. Wonderful to be able to collaborate with them both and I hope you enjoy reading! Let inspiration flow…
Jess B. Moore
My favourite writing quote and how it inspired me:
“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them,they should have behaved better.”
― Anne Lamott,
How the quote got you into writing, helped me develop my writing style or attitude:
The first book on writing I read was Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. It was recommended by a friend while I was struggling with staying motivated, and not sure I could really “be” a writer. I devoured the book!! It’s full of wonderful advice and definitely helps you feel like you can be a writer if you want to be a writer. You have to love a “you can do it” book. But the single portion that stood out the strongest for me – one I keep as the background on my cell phone – is the above. Sometimes we need permission to tell our own stories, and this has been pivotal for me. My first book, although fiction, was strongly influenced by circumstances in my own life, and it took a great deal of courage for me to share it with the world. I’m finding it easier as I go, but still occasionally remind myself that these are my stories, and I get to tell them.
What are you writing at the moment/working on?
I’m working on The Worth of a Penny – the sequel to my debut, The Guilt of a Sparrow, which came out in July. I’ve been splitting my time between two series which are both set in the same town, and have some cross over. The first book in the other series, Fierce Grace, is out November 2, with the follow up, Saving Grace hopefully to be out end of 2019. With Fierce Grace in the works, I’ve been doing final edits, giving input on cover design, writing my acknowledgements, and concentrating on promotion. Meanwhile, writing at a steady pace to complete The Worth of a Penny by the end of the year – at which point I turn it in to my publisher, and let them begin their work on it. Whew. Work as an author is more complex than writing the stories, but it’s been a fun learning experience, and I’m loving it.
Social Media Links:
My favourite writing quote and how it inspired me:
I have two actually that have really stuck with me.
Sic Parvis Magna, which in Latin means: “Greatness from small beginnings.”
This is more of a general quote than specifically just writing but I interpret it towards my journey as a writer/author. This is, no shame, from one of my favorite video game franchises: Uncharted. Once I had heard it, it had ignited that love of adventure and the small beginnings that start before the event that could very well change your life. Hopefully for the better of course.
“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”
I never found out who said the quote but I want to shake their hand. This is something I kept saying to myself over and over again. My love for writing and my dream of becoming an author was something I had always dreamed about. Any other job or career choice was, in my mind, a hindrance. I wanted nothing more than to be a writer. It was difficult because I always had to choose between what was practical and what called to my soul. It’s something I think about almost constantly, and so I knew I had to just go for it.
How the quote get me into writing, helped me to develop my writing style or attitude:
The quotes definitely helped me as far as kicking my butt into gear. It ignited and continues to reignite the passion in me everyday, and I truly feel like I plugged my passion and soul into each story I write. I don’t like to write what’s hot or popular at the moment. I like to write what my heart is telling me to write.
What I am writing at the moment/working on:
I am currently working on the first draft in the second book in my ‘Skorravik Trilogy: Forbidden Guides.’ ‘To No End’ is the first book in the trilogy. I am also in the process of writing up the outline for my dark fantasy novel and a children’s book. I am kind of an overachiever when it comes to writing and I have to remind myself, finish what I start first. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
‘To No End’ is about a girl that goes back in time to save her father. She is sent back and time and involuntarily thrown into a war driven by a villainous woman that she had no idea she, herself, would ever be apart of.
‘Forbidden Guides,’ without giving too much away, is a continuation of the girls story. They must travel to a place that could have the answer to defeat the villainous woman, but not everything or everyone is as they seem.
Dark fantasy and children’s book is still a surprise.
Social Media Links:
‘To No End’ is available on my author website or through Amazon.
To No End (Skorravik Trilogy) (Volume 1) To No End (Skorravik Trilogy) (Volume 1)
Hello and welcome to this week’s guest post in this fabulous series where we are joined by Elan Durham who is a screenwriter, editor, traveller, and former university professor. She has written a number of mixed genre screenplays and a novel, Borrowed Light, for which she is currently seeking representation by someone keen on great writing. Her journey is a fascinating one and I hope you will choose to connect with her via her social media and website links.
My favourite writing quote and how it inspired me and helped me to develop my writing:
“If a writer’s sentences have enough life and interest in them – with “every step an arrival”, as Rainer Maria Rilke put it – they will hold the reader and move the writing along. The writing finds a hidden unity that has no need of the mucilage of linking phrases. Each sentence is like a tidal island that looks cut off until, at low tide, a causeway to the mainland appears.”
— ‘How to write the perfect sentence’ The Guardian Books online, Sept 21, 20018. Excerpted from Joe Moran’s First You Write a Sentence: The Elements of Reading, Writing … and Life (Viking)
Joe Moran’s Guardian essay didn’t say anything I hadn’t considered at some point during my formal education as a writer, but the development of the author’s thoughts led to a realization. An old chestnut in Creative Writing courses states: the word is the basic unit of the poem, the sentence is the basic unit of the short story, and the chapter forms the basis for a novel. This instruction is one of the first simplifications in what amounts to decades of practice of our craft, and it seems poor schemata for training minds to think about writing. Word, sentence, chapter, novel . . . Sound, form, meaning, sense; juxtapose them how you will, but you will need sentences and well-made ones to start. A poem may pack more meaning in fourteen lines than a bestselling novel, and a short story or play may prove as evocative as The Illiad and The Odyssey thousands of years after they were first inscribed on clay. And when you open a book to a sentence, and feel a sense of originality, wonderment, and delight, you have likely entered into an achievement that also lives in the communal minds of others for all time.
“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back
ceaselessly into the past.”
Writing may be a lonely occupation. However, Joe Moran’s essay made me feel less alone in my daily obsessions and fixations on sentences. I am continually flipping sentence structures, rearranging the order of sentences, or taking away adjectives or adverbs, and asking a sentence to sit on the page in all its five-word glory and tell a story by itself.
What I am currently writing/working on:
I am writing and editing a novel, Borrowed Light: A Novel in Stories. Borrowed Light traces moments in the life of my narrator in twelve story-chapters to explore American mythology and hopefully place Jean Turner in the tradition of female literary survivors. I am also fine-tuning a 140-page screenplay, ‘Adventures in Paradise’ that offers half of its roles to women, based on the 2011 Hackgate media scandal in London. My other mixed-genre screenplays mostly set in Great Britain are needing much more attention from me.
Huge thanks to Elan for her wonderful contribution…I will certainly be looking through and reading Moran’s writing book…and thank you too for joining us. Please feel free to connect with Elan on any of her links below and happy reading, happy writing…may you continue to be inspired!
With much love, Soulla x
Social Media links:
Contact Elan Durham: email@example.com
Quote in italics from The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925, Scribner.