This afternoon it's my pleasure to welcome Rebecca Bradley back to the blog to tell us a bit about her novella Three Weeks Dead which was published last week, as well as give us a bit more of an insight into her writing process.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing journey?
Firstly, can I say thank you for having me on the blog, Sharon. I appreciate you having me, especially when I messed up last week!
This question - Ah, it’s a bit of a long-winded one, but I’ll try to keep it short.
I started writing properly when a big birthday approached. It took me a long time to write my first novel, Shallow Waters, because I was learning. There was a lot of rewriting and editing that needed to happen, but I was lucky enough to get some help along the way in the form of early agent and editor feedback – before I was signed.
When I felt it was ready, I submitted to agents, signed up with one, but eventually we went our separate ways and I decided to publish Shallow Waters myself. I couldn’t have predicted how well it would do. Reviews were amazing, sales were great and the support from everyone has been brilliant.
The follow-up, Made to be Broken took less time to write but was filled with much angst. And Three Weeks Dead was much more fun to write, though I mistakenly thought writing a novella was going to be easier than a novel – I was wrong!
If you had to give an elevator pitch for Three Weeks Dead, what would it be?
How far would you be willing to go to save your wife?
Especially, if she had only been buried a week ago…
Having already published 2 books in the series, what inspired you to now write a prequel novella?
The novels are mostly from the point of view of DI Hannah Robbins, but during Shallow Waters one of her team, DC Sally Poynter is put through the mill, so I thought it would give readers a bit of insight into how she started life on the Major Crime Unit. The prequel is Sally’s first case and is set when she first joins the unit, so we see her vulnerable, slightly nervous side. You know that, new kid in the office feeling?
How does your writing discipline change when writing a novella as opposed to a full length book?
It doesn’t really. I still sit down to write every day. The only thing that changed was my belief that a novella would be easier to write. I was soon shed of that misconception.
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
This is a strange one. I don’t go out to a day job as well, as I have been medically retired from the police due to a genetic condition I live with. It causes pain and fatigue issues, so though I write every day, that point in the day can be at any time, morning or evening. I listen to my body. I like the routine of writing daily, though. It keeps the story flowing. It’s makes it easier to keep track of what you’re doing, easier to pick up and keep going. So, there’s no typical writing day, other than there is an everyday, writing day.
Are you a meticulous planner or are you a pantster?
With Shallow Waters I was a pantser. I knew how it started and how it was going to end, but I didn’t know anything else. That was one of the reasons it took me so long to write. I’m now learning to plan and I’m finding it works much better for me. I write a long (several pages long) synopsis so I have something to follow. With Hannah 3, (which I started when Made to be Broken was with my editor) I even wrote chapter plans! The standalone I’m writing at the minute, though, is not playing well and needs some beating into submission.
If you get a plot block during the initial writing phase, how do you work your way through it?
The only way I can work my way through a plot block is to walk away and leave it. Thinking time is still working time. When you’re writing, the story never leaves you and this is particularly true when you are struggling. I often find problems resolve themselves when I’m in the shower. I should be very clean when I’m having problems.
What essentials do you need to have close to hand when you are in writing mode?
Tea. Lots and lots of tea. And a notepad and pen. I work with my laptop, but I’m also a fan of scribbling notes.
Have you treated yourself to anything special to celebrate publishing your books?
I haven’t actually. I really should. For the next one!
Finally what can we expect from you next?
A standalone. One I’m quite excited about, but whether I can get what’s in my head onto the page, is another thing, but if I can, then I’ll be thrilled. This is something I hope to be really proud of. It’s a little different. And that’s all I can say about it, I’m afraid.
I will also be working on Hannah Robbins 3 for release next year, where Hannah gets involved in a case that threatens to bring the entire police service to its knees. (How’s that for a sneak peek…) Sounds intriguing, can't wait to find out more at some stage.
How far would you go if someone took your wife?
Especially, if you buried her a week ago.
When Jason Wells is faced with this scenario, he is confronted with the prospect of committing a crime that will have far-reaching consequences.
Can young DC Sally Poynter get through to him before he crosses that line, or does a desperate husband prove to be the case she won’t ever forget?