Thursday, 4 October 2012
Guest Post - Jane Sanderson, Ravenscliffe Blog Tour
Today I am delighted to welcome Jane Sanderson to my blog, on the launch of her new book, I was interested to find out how she finds inspiration for her books and how her third book is coming along.
Writing fiction is such a curious pastime. I sit at my desk for long hours, chew my pen, stare out of the window, and make things up. What’s more, the things – or, more specifically, the people – that I invent begin to seem more real than reality; the cast of characters in Netherwood or Ravenscliffe populate my head, and follow me even when I’m not writing, distracting me from the details of daily life so that I end up putting the iron away in the fridge, or driving away from home with my handbag on top of the car.
At the moment, the publishing cycle being as it is, I’m half way through a third book before my second has quite hit the bookshelves, so therefore I have brand new characters rubbing shoulders with the old. And what I’m finding is just what I found before: some characters are so strong and compelling that they take me by the hand and lead me forwards.
This is another example of the curious nature of writing fiction. Just because I’m the author, doesn’t mean I always know what to say; however, there’s always a character able to help. When I wrote Netherwood, for example, I found that Anna Rabinovich could always get me out of a corner. If I was absolutely stuck, or my writing seemed leaden, or a plot line implausible, I would bring Anna in, and she showed me the way. In Ravenscliffe, Lady Henrietta Hoyland fulfilled the same role, along with Amos Sykes. (Interestingly, they were both in Netherwood, but they weren’t nearly so obliging then, for some mysterious reason.) In my latest book, I have a wonderful new character called Ruby Donaldson, who has picked up the baton as chief trouble-shooter. I had a great day’s writing yesterday, and it was all thanks to Ruby.
Before I became a novelist, I would have scoffed at this. What nonsense, I would have said: a character is only as good as the writer who created it. Of course, to a point, this is true. But at the same time, and just as in real life, some fictional people are bigger personalities than others, with thoughts and ideas that flow more willingly through my fingers and on to the page. These characters take up residence in my head, and when I finally write The End, I endure a brief period of mourning that I’m no longer by their side, watching their every move. It’s one of the reasons that I quickly start work on the next book in the series – I miss the company of my fictional friends. The sooner I’m back in the swing, the better for all of us.
Right now, they’re calling me back to my half-finished manuscript, where Ruby and Eve Williams – ah, lovely Eve! – are about to become acquainted. I actually feel excited, as if I’m introducing two of my dear friends to each other for the first time. Hope they like each other. I fell asleep last night thinking about their conversation, and woke up this morning doing the same.
My poor husband and children are playing second fiddle to a cast of fictional characters, and there’s nothing either they or I can do about it. Oh well. I have to say, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, back to work.
Thank you very much Jane, for taking time to visit my blog. I will be reading Ravenscliffe very soon and will be including my review here too.
Ravenscliffe by Jane Sanderson is published as paperback original by Sphere on the 27th September 2012, £6.99