When writers get together, they talk a lot about writing techniques. We all have them, some more organised than others, and we are all completely different. Since moving from writing romantic comedies to dual narrative historical novels in 2020 (lockdown did strange things to us all!), I’ve found that the way I write books has changed.
1) How did you get into writing novels, and what made you decide to leave your former career?
Writing was a much-loved hobby long before I realised it could actually become my career. Even as a child I was always scribbling short stories and poems. I truly cannot think of a time when I haven’t wanted to write novels. It just took me longer to achieve that goal than I had ever anticipated it would.
I had wanted to write a new contemporary thriller series since my last standalone novel, Night Flight to Paris. Although my writing schedule was taken up with the ongoing Master of War series, I was already nosing around for a modern-day knight errant. A loner with a believable background and a character who allowed me to take him anywhere in the world. And to get him into these places where he needed to operate had to be a natural extension of who he was and when necessary for it to be in a semi-official capacity.
If I had been smart enough to see A Cold Day for Murder as the first in a series that would last 23 books and counting, I would never have killed off Abel, Kate’s mentor. He was later replaced by Old Sam as the eminence grise of the series but there was a considerable amount of angst, not to say consternation for the next few Kate novels.
As a child I’m sure I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I don’t remember what I answered. It could have been any number of things, all sensible options most likely, because even then I didn’t dare admit the truth: I wanted to be a published author.
I wanted to be one of those names on the spines of the books that filled my family’s bookshelves, but it felt like a fantasy.
In this blog post we sit down with Aria author Julie Houston to go behind the scenes on her last novel, The Village Vicar...
Usually, when I’ve finished writing a current work in progress, I find it hard to not only abandon the characters I’ve created, lived with and grown to love, but also to come up with an entirely different plot for the next book.