My Writing Process

Come what May Landing Page

Thank you to my dear friend, and highly versatile writer and author, Julie Fison, for inviting me to be part of My Writing Process Blog Tour. Julie and I go way back. In fact that tiny faded pic is of the two of us holidaying one summer on Great Keppel Island. These days, Julie writes travel articles, children’s books (The Hazard Rivers Series), teenage romances and more. In fact she’s going to be a guest here next week to celebrate the launch of her upcoming book, How to Get to Rio, so please pop back next week.

In the spirit of this tour I am going to answer 4 questions about my writing:

1)     What am I working on?

I am currently itching to work on Come What May, the second novel in The Iceberg Trilogy. I’m hoping to launch it in the second half of 2014. It’s sitting at around 108,000 words and I thought I had finished it a few years ago but the characters have been talking to me of late and I realise I have more of their life to tell. Consequently, I’m excited and longing to get back to them. The story is set in the years 1939 through to the mid 1970s. It starts in Newfoundland then moves across Canada so that a lot of the story takes place in Northern Ontario, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg. It continues Samuel and Rebecca’s story while moving to the next generation, primarily their daughter, Evangeline – Gene as she is known by everyone. In Come What May readers get to meet a wonderful new character by the name of Sonny (pronounced Sunny) who is a very talented pilot.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think this question could perhaps be more objectively answered by my readers!  I write epic adventurous love stories. Seldom Come By and Come What May are historical and maybe by the time Come Full Circle is released it will be historical too! (It’s set in the 1990s). And they’re romantic as well…however if you put the words ‘historical romance’ together you might think bodice ripper and if you did, you’d be way off the mark.

I think there are three aspects to my writing that I hope over time will define my style:

Intensity of emotions. I want my characters (and my readers) to go through the full spectrum of human experiences and emotions. Their lives are certainly deeply felt by me as the writer. I cried for them as I wrote about them. Even this line got me started: as three generations of Dalton men folded their hearts and their lives in each other’s arms.

A sense of place. I love landscapes, seascapes and nature. I want my writing to reveal the visual splendour of a place in a way that has almost a cinematic quality to it. I want to capture the imagination of my readers and transport them to places that are almost otherworldly. There are other books that do this as well so I can’t say that’s unique about my work.

‘Signature Moments’ are where I combine the two, so where emotions like elation, heartbreak and enlightenment unfold in a sublime setting, creating an intense emotional connection for the reader. The iceberg scene in Seldom Come By is one such example.

The unexpected. The other element, which I do see as a hallmark of my work, is an unexpected and shocking plot development. I can’t really say much more than that other than to say people will be reading along with a sense of where my story is going and then something happens that totally challenges that. Some in my inner circle call this the ‘Gasping Moment’.

3)  Why do I write what I do?

A starting point was to come up with a story that would explain one unusual woman I encountered during my travels in Canada.

But now that her and others’ stories have evolved it’s almost in a bizarre way like I know these people and have been given permission to tell their story, to bear witness to their pain and suffering, but also their joy, and that there are learnings to their stories.

But why did I want to write in the first place? I think it comes down to that Helen Keller quote: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” I wanted to connect with people’s hearts.

4)     How does your writing process work?

I am not a full time writer. I long for the day when I can be. My year tends to be made up of chunks of marketing project work  – the feast and famine adage applies – so what I like to do is carve out several weeks at a time when I can, as much as possible, lock myself away and write and write and write. So that’s long hours at the computer where I drink copies amounts of tea – Earl Grey, Chai, Jasmine or Russian Caravan – interspersed with walks or swims. I find that when I get a block or can’t figure something out I need to get out and get moving and the fresh air seems to help unravel things for me.


I hope that gives you a little more background on my writing. At this point I am meant to introduce you to the author who will continue the tour next week but I’ve been a bit snowed under so haven’t got round to doing that as yet. (I know, slack!)… but I’m hoping Jennifer Collin might be able to tell us about her writing process…  I’ll post the details on my Facebook page. Stay tuned 🙂

Meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to add a comment and I’ll respond.