Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tagged: In Which I Answer Some Questions

I'm deviating from my twice-weekly posting schedule today to take part in a meme - Donna Hole tagged me, so I am invited to answer some questions. It looks like fun, so here we go:

Who is your favorite fictional character, and why?

Oh, this is a tough one! For the moment I'm going to say Cassandra Mortmain in I Capture The Castle. She's interesting and compelling, a little naive, with enough self-knowledge to be interesting but not quite enough to keep her out of trouble. She also has one of my favourite opening lines: 'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.'

How do you come up with the names for your own characters?

Honestly? Usually I start with an initial ('she just feels like she has an S name, you know?') and go from there. Sometimes they just drop into my head perfectly formed (Becky Bailey did this, although I since discovered there's a Beth Bailey in the TV show Spooks so she is in the process of becoming Becky Barrett). Other times I think about names that are from that era or region (this is how I came up with Rosie Martin in an old novel). It varies!

What book would you pass up, even if it was offered for free?

I'm embarrassed to admit this, because it's a classic, but I didn't like Great Expectations. At all. I found none of the characters sympathetic and - probably because Dickens wrote it in serial form - it was full of cliffhangers that went nowhere. Not for me.

Do you listen to music while you write?  If so, what is on your playlist?

I don't, I find music quite distracting.

Do you have to make time to write, or have a set schedule; and do you have any writing quirks?

I make time, and I don't do it as much as I'd like. Usually I write most of a first draft for Nanowrimo and spend most of the year revising it. None of them have been of query-able quality yet! I wish I could have a set schedule but my commitments vary a lot week-to-week?

Writing quirks? I far prefer single quotes to double. In this I differ from the entire publishing industry, so I spend a lot of time replacing single quotes in my novels.

Who is you dream agent/publisher?

Oh, there are so many! There are so many agents and publishers out there doing great work. The honest answer to this is 'Whichever one is willing to represent/publish me' but if I could choose, I would be very drawn to someone with Kristin Nelson's positivity and pleasantness and/or Jessica Faust's straightforwardness. Those qualities, and a willingness to edit, would be the key things I would look for.

Do you prefer printed books or ebooks?

Ooh, this is tough. I prefer printed books hands down, but there is a lot to be said for the ebook reader as a storage solution. I have a small house and a big book habit. Also I find ebooks are often cheaper. But I will abandon print when I die and not before!

What is the weirdest dare you ever accepted?

I have never accepted a dare. I'm too neurotic!

I won't tag, because I think half of my readers have been tagged already, but if anyone wants to play, let me know and I'll give you some questions :)


  1. I like your writing quirk of using single quotes!! Brilliant! LOL!

    My only quibble with Great Expectations is that we had -had to!- to read it for our O level English Lit...!! Not good at all!

    Take care

    1. There's nothing like being forced to study a book at length for making you hate it! To Kill A Mockingbird is one of very few to survive the process for me :)

  2. I haven't read I Capture the Castle in so long! What a good book. I should pick that up again. . .

    1. If you do, Rachel, I hope you enjoy it! It's one of my all-time favourites.

  3. Great Expectations. I hated that novel. I was forced through it for school and it has ruined Dickens for me.

    Single quotes ARE better--there's something lean and sophisticated about them--and many great books have been built on them. Lord of the Rings is just the first that comes to mind.

  4. Thanks Alyson, now I have a justification for using them! The actual reason is that I can hit one key for a single quote, but I have to hold down the shift key and press 2 to get double quotes, and it just takes so much longer!

    I was forced through Great Expectations too. . . I haven't read much Dickens since but I must try him again.

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  6. I like your answer about having to study a book at length to make you hate it...

    I had a teacher who had no business teaching anything that drained the life out of any book that crossed our paths. In my case, that's why I just can't get into Romeo & Juliet.


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