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Writing Ego

writing

I’m sure every writer would agree that the writing ego, of all professions, has to be one of the most delicate. They’re far too easily deflated, and let’s be honest, with the amount of rejections most of us receive when entering competitions or submitting to publications it’s a wonder that many of us are able to pick ourselves up and carry on. And although as a writer, the more you write the better you become – it appears that self-doubt never fully disappears!

I was shocked to hear so many great authors, with lists of acclaimed books to their credit, admit that there comes a stage in every novel (usually mid-way) where they feel like throwing in the towel. They doubt the current book will ever see the light of day and that even if it is published that it will be torn apart by the critics. But that’s the difference between professional and amateur writers – the professional perseveres regardless, pushing through the pain until they reach that elusive final page. Then, at least, they have the bones to work with – a manuscript they can edit and edit and edit – until it finally becomes the polished work which arrives in our local book shop.

While working on my debut novel the last few years, I’ve entered a number of competitions and submitted to a couple of publications. Sure, they may have taken me away from the novel, but in times of self-doubt, in among the rejections, there have been the highs of being long-listed or short-listed or winning or of having a poem or flash fiction or short story published. They’ve had me dancing around the kitchen, forcing my family to read whatever piece has brought success (that’s if they haven’t already been forced to read it before submission!?!). But more importantly, as two good friends and mentors are fond of saying, ‘success breeds success‘ (Eileen Casey) which helps to ‘keep your bum on the seat‘ (Valerie Sirr). And that’s what keeps you writing.

This week, having just returned from a wonderful trip to San Francisco and Vegas, I was jet-lagged like never before and began a week feeling drained and tired instead of rested and refreshed. But I couldn’t have pictured a better week. On the professional front, the contract in my new job was extended into next year, and on the writing front; my poem, Lavender Scented Memories, was aired by the lovely Brenda Drumm on KFM Radio. Then I received a beautiful, hand-written letter from Rosaleen Thomas (wife of Eamon MacThomais and mother of Shane MacThomais – the wonderful historians and writers) telling me how much she enjoyed one of my short stories which was recently published in My Weekly and wishing me well with my novel. The following day a letter arrived from the Jonathan Swift Awards to advise me that my short story has been short-listed, with the award ceremony taking place next Saturday.

Such an exceptional week really can keep you focused and driven and stuck to your seat, so that you can get words on the page! I’m currently attending the NUI Certificate in Creative Writing for Publication – part short story writing and part novel writing – so right after I upload this blog post I’m signing up to NaNoWriMo. I’ll then be committed, from 1 – 30 November, to writing 2,000 words per day to get my second novel well and truly on the way.

Wish me luck!

Guest Blog: Louise Phillips

THE  DOLL’S  HOUSE  BLOG  TOUR

I am delighted to welcome friend and crime fiction author, Louise Phillips, as a guest as she continues on The Doll’s House Blog Tour.

Let me introduce you to the trailer:

When it went live, The Doll’s House book trailer, caused quite a stir.
You can be view it here, but be warned – it’s not for the faint-hearted!

Survived that? Check out the latest reviews:

THE DOLL’S HOUSE has been described by crime writer, Niamh O’ Connor, as ‘chilling, mesmerising. Gets under your skin and stays with you,’ and by Myles Mc Weeney of the Irish Independent, as, ‘A gripping, suspenseful story, peopled with well-drawn characters…’

And now, at last, the book itself:

The Doll’s House

The Dolls House

“Middle-aged male, multiple stab wounds, found drowned in the canal. You have my number. Call me.”

This is the message criminal psychologist Dr Kate Pearson receives one cold Saturday morning from Detective Inspector O’Connor, spoken in his usual curt manner. The middle-aged male in question is Keith Jenkins, the host of a popular TV programme, and as Kate and O’Connor begin their investigation, they find themselves faced with more questions than answers.

The past . . .

Following her mother’s recent death, Clodagh has begun to explore her past – her memories of her father, who died in a mysterious accident, and the dark tragedy that seeped through the cracks of her childhood home. When she begins to visit a hypnotherapist, scenes from her childhood begin to take shape, with interjections from a sometimes sinister cast of dolls.

. . . is waiting . . .

As Kate continues to investigate the disturbing details of the vicious murder, she is drawn closer to Clodagh’s unsettling family history. What terrible events took place in the Hamilton house all those years ago? And what connects them to the recent murder?

Time is running out for Clodagh and Kate. And the killer has already chosen his next victim…

 

Now over to Louise for some questions:

 

What do you feel makes for a great character – one that the reader will remember a long time after the final page?

Creating characters can be a bit like life, sometimes they can surprise you! And by that I mean that on occasions they can arrive practically fully developed on the page, and at other times, you have to dig quite deep. I think for the most part I know I have a strong character when their voice is constantly in my ear, so that when I go to write, it’s almost like you’re not the one doing the writing. We all have our favourite memorable characters from novels, but by and large the ones that stay with you are the ones that strike a strong emotional cord. I like a character that runs through your bloodstream the deeper into the novel you get. If at the end of a book, a part of you is already missing that character, then it is undoubtedly a memorable one.

There was quite an amount of research involved in The Doll’s House and part of it involved hypnosis and regression. Knowing what your character, Clodagh, uncovered, how did you feel while you were awaiting the countdown for your hypnosis session?

I think researching hypnotic regression for The Doll’s House reminded me how complicated our minds are. I was fully committed to the idea, and really believed it would happen. I had no idea that my conscious mind would block me from being regressed. Perhaps with the research I had learnt too much. The whole area fascinated me, which is why I chose to write about it in the first place. We all think we remember things as they happened, but we don’t. We constantly compromise our memory, as each time we recall an event, instead of going back to the original memory, we shortcut back to our last recall. So, getting back to your question, I was both nervous and excited. I hope to make further efforts to regress, and when I do, I’ll let you know how I got on.

It looks like The Doll’s House was a sell-out at its recent launch in the Gutter Bookshop.  Were you surprised to find an even bigger turnout than at your debut novel, Red Ribbons?

Surprised and delighted. I was thrilled to see so many people there, and I think in part it was a testament to RED RIBBONS that so many people were keen to pick up a copy of THE DOLL’S HOUSE. I was amazed that whilst signing copies, on a number of occasions I looked up and saw that people were starting to read the novel on the queue! So far it’s got some fantastic reviews, so fingers crossed. The story seems to have really struck a nerve with people, and as a writer, you can’t ask for more than that.

About The Author:

louise-phillips

Born in Dublin, Louise Phillips returned to writing in 2006, after raising her family. That year, she was selected by Dermot Bolger as an emerging talent.
Her work has been published as part of many anthologies, including County Lines from New Island, and various literary journals. In 2009, she won
the Jonathan Swift Award for her short story Last Kiss, and in 2011 she was a winner in the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice platform. She has also been short-listed for the Molly Keane Memorial Award, Bridport UK, and long-listed twice for the RTE Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition.

Her bestselling debut novel, Red Ribbons, was shortlisted for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year (2012) in the Irish Book Awards. The Doll’s House is her second novel and has recently hit the book shelves with a vengeance!

I can promise, an enjoyable read awaits you . . .

The Doll’s House and Red Ribbons are available from Louise’s site here.

Available directly from Amazon: The Doll’s House and Red Ribbons.

www.louise-phillips.com

Louise on Twitter

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