Friday, February 1, 2013


I am always fascinated by the questions the audience ask after a talk. Sometimes you are really put on the hop but I do love a challenge.

One lady asked me if there was any book that I had written that I no longer like. I thought quickly and realised there wasn't Was there a book I thought could be improved? Well yes absolutely, but if it comes to pass that years on I decide I don't like a book I have written what does that say about me? In all crafts you learn as you go along and I am sure it's like that with writing - well it is with me - and somethings now I would do differently. It was challenging to have to answer that question and it did require a lot of thought.

A popular question is about titles, how do you think up a title for your novel? Do I have to have the title before I write. No. What I do have to do is have the names of my leading characters. That is so important, without those I can't write a word. However, titles are often as problematical as blurbs and synopsis. I can spend ages on those. Quite often I dip into Shakespeare and steal from him, other poets too. "Fortune's Folly" came from Romeo and Juliet, The Longest Pleasure, a poem by Lord Byron. Other are more about the novel. Tilly's Trials, my heroine is called Tilly and boy does she have some trials (and some of them of her own making). Spanish Lies was SO easy, that is one title that came to me before the book was half way written. There were lies and they generated in the country of Spain. Easy! I wish I knew how Eden's Child came about, it just tipped into my mind and readers will know the reasons are obvious but it was a long time before it actually came to me.

When do you write, is also a popular question. How do you choose your setting is another one. Well the last one is fairly straight forward. My next novel "Under a Grecian Moon" was born because I was looking out on a cold, grey day and wished to take myself somewhere warm and sunny. I thought, "I'll go to Greece - perhas a Greek island, that would be fun and it would be warm, so off I went. Ah the pleasure of being a writer and to have the imagination to wish yourself somewhere nice.

I wonder how you would answer these questions - if you are a writer do share!


jrlindermuth said...

Answering these questions can be harder than writing a book. But never as vexing as writing a suitable blurb.

margaret blake said...

I agree, John, writing a blurb is agony for me.

Beth Elliott said...

Everything you say in answer to those questions rings so true, Margaret. It was very interesting as well [and reassuring]. My titles seem obvious to me but 'April and May' has puzzled lots of readers. And I agree that the blurb is harder to write than the story. I try and write them while waiting for the bus, so there is a sense of limited time and urgency. Result... a notebook full of scribble!!

your books have gorgeous covers and intriguing titles. thanks for the tip about looking in poems for inspiration.

margaret blake said...

Thank you Beth. The bus stop idea is a good one, especially since it took me two days to write the last blurb. The thing is to titillate while giving little away!

April and May is intriguing.

Patricia Gligor said...

I loved your responses to the questions frequently asked of writers. I think your last comment says it all, "Ah, the pleasure of being a writer and to have the imagination to wish yourself somewhere nice." I wouldn't want to be anything else!