Monday, 31 August 2015

All Across the Arts Crescent Radio Interview with Denise Greenwood

My radio interview was aired on Crescent Radio on 11th August but it will be rebroadcast just prior to my All About the Author evening in November. This is a fringe event to the Rochdale Literary and Ideas Festival 2015. 

Friday, 28 August 2015

What if....

I wrote chapter one of a new novel this week. It wasn't what I had planned. I spent over six months planning and researching my story line and characters but a new scenario came to me last week and it was one I couldn't shake off. Once I'd finished writing I decided it would be chapter two and it adds another dimension to what I'd originally planned. I also worked on my talk/presentation for my About the Author event for All Across the Arts which made me think about how I could explain to someone what I love best about writing.  Here goes...

Imagine sitting in a crowded train and it suddenly stops and then everyone has to wait. Three minutes pass before there's an announcement. Facing you, sits a man who you hadn't taken much notice of but now you can see he's perspiring and his mouth is twitching. You suddenly feel concerned and decide to keep an eye on him, just in case he's unwell. At the same time you're feeling slightly annoyed because if he is unwell then there's a chance he could vomit all over you. 

After the announcement, the man becomes agitated and begins exhaling loudly. He looks annoyed and you feel sorry for him and inwardly sympathize. Moments later the man shouts: "Come on! What's holding us up?" And, you feel glad that somebody has vented but at the same time you too begin to feel anxious. He doesn't shut up. "This is bloody ridiculous! All the money we spend on tickets and the service is crap!" You see his point but you also feel annoyed. What is now a ten-minute wait has turned into an eternity and it's eating into your day. You think: We all feel the same way, shut up!

You're stuck opposite an increasingly angry man and he's glaring at you, through you, all he can see is his emotion.  You become angry too and could happily throttle him then, the train begins to move. In a second you feel a surge of relief which quickly turns to resentment. The bloke is still going on about how much time was wasted. You feel superior. You didn't vent, there was no need for it and you think: What an idiot. He goes back to being just another passenger who isn't on your radar.

An image from my book trailer for Temptation lends itself well to this scenario
Within a spate of twelve minutes you've experienced a wide range of emotions.
NOW - put a reader through the same experience.
You can be the man, yourself or another passenger. You could even be a conductor who, when he opens the train doors at the station, finds a scene he will never forget. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

5-Star Reviews for Temptation and Star Keeper

New reviews for my books Temptation and Star Keeper have appeared on both sides of the Atlantic Amazon sites. A big thank you to my readers. Your reviews connect me to you.

Truth Fears No Trial

"Written in supremely vivid style Temptation with its simple yet evocative cover design consisting of two ripe cherries was worth taking a deep bite from and savouring. Its vivid story’s carefully crafted structure opens briefly with darkness and chaos before immersing in the main and sub plots leading to light and calm by the end. From a panic stricken state of being to a composed state of decided triumph. Between these two poles the writer weaves a rich tapestry of interconnecting characters each brought to life with their own unique personalities, weaknesses and strengths explored. 
The author’s vivid style is mana for the creative psyche. She employs every grammatical device at her disposal to create both visual and sound effects. The comedy is subtle, refreshingly pedestrian and unPC in places. Truth in its various manifestations is the story’s theme. Not just as a principle to be aware of but also as a state of being to be worn in the face of adversity. In Temptation the bite of the cherry was worth it. I have been left hungry for more. To this end I have discovered that there is a follow up – Star Keeper, which I have duly purchased."
 A sophisticated piece of writing

"Star keeper is the sequel to Greenwood’s excellent first novel Temptation. Its title alludes to the heavenly figure of Dr Seldon, the star keeper in the musical Carousel. In the novel this figure exists in ethereal rather than heavenly form albeit with a similar re-uniting commission. The book contains in part the continuing stories and developments of characters from Temptation. Then, there are new characters particularly Kim, Caprice and the sinister Mephisto who make up an interesting triangle of conflict. Caprice is an interesting study in human contradiction. Moreover the tense relationship between her and Kim is revelatory. Besides the star keeper’s ethereal form, for me Mephisto is another more material star keeper in a sense, the unlikely one for Jacob. In him the reverend is faced with a compelling temptation. Will he succumb? I’m not saying. The background to this and the threads of the other conflicts are skilfully drawn together towards the end leaving the reader both satisfied and hungry for more. All in all the novel is a sophisticated piece of writing that engages the mind from start to finish. I highly recommend you read Temptation first then this splendid sequel."

A story to get lost in

"I have to agree with the other reviewers, Denise Greenwood is a very talented writer and Temptation deserves 5 stars. This story is well written, interesting and not at all predictable. I think I was most amazed by the author's attention to detail. The characters are so developed. A couple of chapters in and I began to feel as if I knew some of the people of Cherries personally. If you are looking for a story to get lost in and escape reality for a while, this one would be an excellent choice."
Temptation and Star Keeper by Denise Greenwood, available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Festival Fun and a New Novel

Snippets from my recent interview with Steve Cooke and Norman Warwick of All Across the Arts was published in my local paper yesterday. 

It will not come to any surprise to my author friends that part of an author's role in this age of social media is to become involved in promotion and connecting with people. This fact was made very clear to me when dealing with agents and publishers during the past five years and they are keen to see a CV that proves it. They also look closely at how a manuscript is presented to them and they will not read past the first page if it doesn't jump out at them. They are, after all, in the business of selling books. Potential readers must be captivated by the story and characters.

I'm relieved to say, judging by the reviews against my books, that my readers are captivated and I created characters who stayed with them long after they finished reading. My stories may be unique but everyone can relate to them and they didn't happen overnight. It took up to a year to write a book then I spent six months ensuring that it was all that it could be - the "production" phase. Like any TV or film producer, I have to see my story and characters clearly in my mind as I read and if the scene I see is not quite right then I have to alter it. During this process I also learnt a lot about not only refining my characters and storyline so that they were all they could be but also when I think back, it was when I really learned to write. (Remember - you can't polish a turd. If you don't have confidence in your manuscript then there's no use trying to make it into something else).

I sometimes wonder if some people I talk to think that writing a book involves slaving away at a laptop or paper-pad for hours then reeling it off to an agent or publisher - OH IF ONLY!! 

My five year experience to date has taught me
You write a book, you do your best to present it correctly and do not despair if it's returned or refused. Every criticism or suggestion, no matter how small, is another step forwards for a writer IF they then choose to do something about it. Once crumpled feelings have calmed, a better writing-beast can emerge.

These are the things that went through my mind during the submission process: -

Why do they have such a low total word count limit for a book?
How on earth can I whittle mine down to that?

One publisher wants "unique and unusual" then says: "it's too unique and unusual and that their primary concern is selling volume."
Why can't they make up their minds?

Why on earth do they say on their website that they seek only quality literature then they publish a book that's plainly a quick-read and not like anything they've asked for?
What happened to their ethos?
Rochdale Observer - Snippets from an interview with Denise Greenwood

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Radio Interview and Author Event

Last Friday I was interviewed by Steve Cooke and Norman Warwick, the directors of ALL ACROSS THE ARTS for their radio show and I'm happy to announce that I was also invited to be part of "About the Author", a fringe event to the Rochdale Literary Festival.

Steve and Norman made me feel welcome and put me fully at my ease and so we had an interesting and entertaining morning.

Radio Interview
My interview was recorded and it will go live in October on Crescent Radio 97FM so I will post the details nearer the time but it will also form the basis of a feature in AATA's newspaper articles. They have pages in four newspapers.

About the Author event
26th November 2015 upstairs at The Baum, Rochdale town centre - 7 to 9pm.
I will give a talk/presentation followed by an interview and audience Q + A then book signings. Again, I'll post details nearer the time but I hope you will put a date in your diary because I would appreciate your support and it would be good to connect with readers and writers.
All Across the Arts, Rochdale 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Touching the Divine

My short story in The Local Link magazine may raise a few eyebrows this month as well as the corners of mouths.

Touching the Divine, short story by Denise Greenwood, The Local Link Magazine