I’m a sucker for a podcast, and not just my own. My podcast habit started, as I think it did for many, with the first series of Serial. Serial offered the kind of compelling water cooler moments that used to happen with linear once-a-week TV. Writing my own crime drama podcast is very much on my to-do list when I finish my latest book but in the meantime, here are a selection of the podcasts I’ve enjoyed the most recently.
The Teacher’s Pet
I’ve only just started this and I’m utterly hooked.
In 1982, devoted mother Lyn Dawson went missing. Her husband, high school sweetheart and former sports star Chris, claims she joined a cult. Just a few days later, Chris – a P.E. teacher – moved his teenaged babysitter (and pupil) into the house. Two separate coroners have ruled the Lyn was killed by Chris and yet no one has been arrested for her murder. This is a terribly sad and incredibly compelling story expertly woven by seasoned journalist Hedley Thomas.
The Honest Authors (Gillian McAllister on the left, me on the right)
There are dozens of book podcasts out there – but those aimed at aspiring authors are less common, and almost entirely skewed towards the self-publishing market. One notable exception is the Honest Authors podcast, created last year by authors Holly Seddon (Try Not To Breathe, Don’t Close Your Eyes, Love Will Tear Us Apart) and Gillian McAllister (Everything But The Truth, Anything You Do Say, No Further Questions). Aiming to highlight everything you’ve ever wanted to know about being a author but were too afraid to ask, Honest Authors claims to be “the only podcast recorded by bestselling, traditionally-published commercial authors being transparent about this brilliant, terrifying life.”
A year and a half in, with 26 episodes under their belt, we asked the pair about fighting for attention, finding your niche and keeping your audio content fresh.
Read the rest on The Bookseller
tl;dr I go nuts.
My third novel, Love Will Tear Us Apart, was published yesterday. For my third go around, you might expect that I was fairly relaxed. Or at least professional. The truth is less impressive. And as I’m one half of the podcast team the Honest Authors, I figured I’d just spill the beans this time. So here’s my publication day diary, in all its horror.
I can barely believe it but the day is finally here. I had the idea for Love Will Tear Us Apart for a long time and I’d actually written the first few chapters before I submitted Try Not to Breathe to agents… I was the mother of three young kids when I wrote those first lines, which never changed through the drafts.
If you’ve not pre-ordered yet and would like to, please do! The book has a pre-order price guarantee so even if the price goes down between now and release, you’ll be charged the lower price.
I’m so excited to see this book out in the world!
I recently did a talk to secondary schoolers about creative writing. I wanted to tell them a little about structuring a satisfying story and about building compelling characters. But what I wanted to get across to them more than anything was the importance – and the joy – of finding their own voices.
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Last week I shared some handy tools and techniques for planning a novel and because I’m literally currently doing this, I thought I’d follow up with the next step: planning characters.
Most of my books have a small ensemble ‘cast’ but I tend to start with the most ‘active’ voice and build that character first, the other characters are formed almost as ‘answers’ to that first character.
In Don’t Close Your Eyes, which features twins with equal billing and points of view, I started with one character (Robin) and then built the others using her as a starting point. The reason for this was simply that Robin came to me almost fully formed, so I had a running start. It’s not always that easy!
In Try Not to Breathe, I started with Amy. Although in the present day she is definitely not the most active, Amy’s point of view opens the book. And because the central question of the novel is ‘what happened to Amy?’ it was vital that she really came alive for the reader straight away.Readers have to care about what happens to a character, and you can’t care about someone you know nothing about.
But I don’t use anything remotely cutting edge to plan my characters…
To celebrate its UK launch on 7 June, I’m giving away three signed copies of Love Will Tear Us Apart.
“One of the most moving and involving books I have ever read… just perfect. I absolutely loved it.” – Gillian McAllister
“Beautifully written, with an intricate yet perfectly constructed backstory, and characters I didn’t want to leave. A must-read.” – Clare Mackintosh
Competition now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered.