Kyra Lennon: an interview

2uglwsxAs you know, one of my stories has been published in the Where Words Fail Music Speaks anthology, and over the next few weeks/months, I’ll be featuring a series of interviews with some of the other authors involved (and possibly me, because I love talking about myself!)

You can find the anthology on Amazon, on Kindle and in paperback.

First up to be interviewed is Kyra Lennon, whose idea and dedication started all of this…

  1. Welcome to my blog, Kyra – tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hello! I’m Kyra Lennon and I live in the South West of England. I write contemporary romance, mostly of the fluffy variety, and when I’m not doing that, you’ll probably find me trawling the British countryside, looking for pretty things to take photos of!

  1. Why did you decide to be involved with the anthology?

The idea for the anthology came about as several of my friends live with cluster headaches. One of them has them extremely severely at times, and after finding out more about what he goes through – because it’s more than just intense pain – I discovered that shockingly little is known about cluster headaches. Most people have never even heard of them.  There is not yet a cure for them, and while there are some medications available, they aren’t as effective as they would be with further research. That was what triggered me into action. I want to help raise money so more research can be done to help those who suffer so much.

  1. All the story/poem titles are 90s Brit Pop songs. How did you choose your song title?

Haha, that was a fun process! 90s Britpop is like a step back in time to my teen years, and reminding myself of how many amazing songs there were back then was super cool! Choosing the right title was a matter of listing my favourites and slowly whittling them down until I had one that I felt I could work with. I settled on Come Back To What You Know (Embrace) but my finalists included Hush by Kulashaker, The Day We Caught The Train by Ocean Colour Scene, and Do You Remember The First Time by Pulp.

  1. How did your story/poem develop?

I struggle to write short stories, and it turned out my plot was a tad too long to fit into the word count limit. I think (hope) I made it work, but it was hard as I wanted to make sure the emotion came across and made sense. The idea for the story itself came – as it so often does with me – from a situation I was in a very long time ago, but the plot was severely altered for dramatic purposes.

  1. Does your submission in the anthology reflect your published work, or did you take the opportunity to experiment?

My submission is pretty normal to the kind of thing I would usually write. I planned to experiment and do something totally different, but when it came down to it, I went back to what I know! (See what I did there? :p )

  1. Tell me about your last/next project.

Okay, my next project is actually a short story that came from a previous anthology. It’s been lengthened and the end has changed since it was previously published. This one, I did experiment with a little. It’s not straight up fluffy romance. It’s called Reasonable Doubts, and this is the blurb:

Darcy Ryan is a woman on a mission.

A mission to take down the corrupt cops who ensured her best friend, Matteo Torres, went to jail for a crime he didn’t commit – the murder of his wife, Rebecca.

Darcy is willing to do just about anything to prove his innocence, including getting up close and personal with lead detective, Finn Drake.

She knows she’s playing a dangerous game, but it gets more dangerous than she could have ever imagined when she discovers everything she thought she knew about Rebecca Torres was wrong, and Finn Drake isn’t the man she thought he was either.

Darcy’s life and her best friend’s freedom are on the line. With her entire world turned on its head and time running out, she has to decide. Should she take a chance on Drake and go against her gut instincts, or go it alone and pray she can find the killer before he finds her?

  1. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Being able to write about things I am not brave enough to do in real life!

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? (writing or non-writing answers allowed 😊)

Ha, I don’t do thinking that far ahead, but I would love to see myself on a bestseller list at some point in the next five years!

 

Kyra LennonAuthor Bio:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she’s not reading, you’ll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall. Lennon is a proud supporter of several charities. She currently volunteers for her local cat shelter as a fundraiser and social media guru. Kyra has also had stories published in charity anthologies to raise money for Cats Protection, the British Heart Foundation, and the Innocence Project.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels.

Find Kyra here: Facebook // Twitter

The green edits are done!

Green edits

I originally allowed myself thirty days for this part of the process, but did it in fifteen! As I got closer to the end, I reduced the date goal, because I like tidy graphs…

Normally when I edit, I meander around – reading, adding notes, watching TV, going back over the same parts again and again to get them perfect… on the first set of edits, I hear you ask? Well, yes, I am was a perfectionist.

But, no more! I’ve finally learnt. I worked steadily through the comments I made, although some of them still exist because I’m not quite sure how to execute them just yet.

There have been a lot of other changes though, a lot of additions (including, finally, a character’s reaction to an event that affected her deeply, but I ignored in my first draft!), and an awful lot of crossing out. However, the opening chapter is still shockingly bad, and the last chapter is dragging – but that’s okay. In fact, they might even still exist when I’m ready to share with my beta readers.

In the past, I have only shared my work when I’ve gone through extensive drafts, and made it as perfect as I can get. If people so much as point out a spelling mistake or punctuation anomaly, I’m devastated. I consider this to be a huge step forward in my writing attitude.

 

Green edit page
These edits have been nicknamed the green edits, because of the green pen. The next edits will be the red edits. And, because I do love a chaotic-looking draft, I’ll be making the changes on this same print-out!

Years ago – stop me if I’ve told you this before – my favourite subject at school was technical drawing (Yes! I’m so old, that was actually a separate and specific subject!) I loved the lines, the angles, the pencil chaos that became clear when my black pen – in two different thicknesses – created the picture. All the pencil marks were essential to get the right lines in the right place, but eventually they were erased and my cube (in my first year) or my detailed house floorplan (in my last year) was revealed.

I approach editing a manuscript in the same way, and it’s so satisfying when I see the final story revealing itself.

Next up: the red edits, trying to get my first and last chapters improved, and possibly extend the length. It may not be a very long novel – some of my recent reads have been under 50,000 – but I’m currently at 39k. That’s a good novella length, but I’m desperate to get a novel under my belt – my long-term goal depends upon it!

How many different colours do you use?

Do you edit by hand, or prefer to do it all on the computer?

The anthology launches!

I’m excited to be taking part in the release blitz for the Where Words Fail, Music Speaks Anthology, which is out now!
Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.
Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.
Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Ker Dukey, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry.
All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.
 

Reading my first draft

Since starting this blog, I’ve been unsure of the direction, but as I have decided to attempt to write, and have ready to submit, by the end of the year, I’m going to blog each step of my new-found process, under the Novel in a Year category tag. If you read this post first, it’ll all make more sense! I hope you’ll find it interesting and/or helpful 🙂


And now, for today’s update:

As planned, I read my draft with the eyes of a beta-reader. When I beta for someone, I use the Comments on Word, and I hope I make helpful comments as well as highlight the really good stuff. I know I let a little sarcasm slip in too. I pretended I was reading someone else’s work, and acted accordingly.

Editing pages

It took me six days to complete the read-through, and then act on the easily sorted issues. A lot of my comments simply said delete or unnecessary, which is pretty self-explanatory. Some of them were paragraphs that I could slot into the work at the appropriate point, and some will be longer and harder to solve. There’s a timeline problem relatively early on, a rather large omission of someone’s reaction to a particular event and a whole lot of underwriting practically all the way through.

To be honest, the underwriting is a lifelong problem, so that wasn’t a shock!

Here are a few of the comments I’ve made:

Remember how hard this was to get the right reveal here? Well, it hasn’t worked. Try again

This all needs to be re-written… you know that glazed over look you get when you read something hideously boring… yeah, that

So they’re not going to talk about last night? Jo tried to murder a painting, and he’s okay with that?

Really? We’re smiling at hats, are we? Why not at the coffee, or that mop in the corner?

My next task is to print out the manuscript and mark up where the deeper changes need to be made, where a couple of chapters need to be moved, and to write new sections so that the other changes make sense. I can’t wait to get my fountain pen out and jot notes all over the pages!

Once again, I’ll be using the NaNoWriMo site and giving myself four weeks to complete this part. I might even work out all the stages for the rest of the year, so I’m not doing quite so much guessing about the deadlines I should be imposing.

How nice are you to yourself when you read your own work?

How long does it take you to write a book?

How many drafts do you take? (My personal best is somewhere in the 20s!)

Draft finished, feeling accomplished

At the beginning of the year, I decided I was going to write a novel much quicker than I’d ever written one before – in a year. Completed, beta-read, edited and ready to submit.

My WIPs tend to take several years, malingering through many rewrites without much of a plan, and at the beginning of the year, I decided – finally – that this was stupid.

And, coincidentally, at the same time these decisions were occurring, the NaNoWriMo web site announced that people could create their own goals whenever they wanted. So I set up a goal – to write 40,000 words in 90 days.

Today, I finished – 8 days (and 3,600 words) short of the deadline, but the draft is complete, and I am very happy with it, as it stands!

NaNo page

As you can see, after a good start, I had a bit of a… ahem, break. A couple of short stories took priority, and there were probably a few days of Olympic-style procrastination and hot chocolate drinking with friends. However I think I rallied quite well.

There’s something satisfying in recording my words in this way. I usually use a spreadsheet, but that doesn’t include an end date, it just lets me write and write and write… In fact, it was precisely that deadline which forced me back to the WIP on day 57.

My next step is to do something else I’ve never done before – I’m going to read my draft the way I beta-read other people’s – complete with sarky asides and random comments.

Of course, I’ll be setting a goal for that too – 132 pages, 5 pages an hour (because I’ve never made an hourly goal before, so I’m not sure how long it will take) – 26 hours should do it.

Have you seen this feature on the NaNo site? Would you consider using it?

How do you keep yourself accountable?


To all A-Zers! If you’re in the middle of the challenge, thanks for visiting – I know you’ve got many other places to be. I’ll be reading your posts with interest, but I probably won’t comment very much, because I know how overwhelming this time of the year can be. I thought long and hard about joining in again this year, but my WIP challenge is more compelling. Have fun!

 

 

 

Reasons Why I Should Have Planned

I’m not a planner. I feel stifled if I have plot to fulfill, instead I usually start with a title and the very last line. I sit with my pen poised and let the words flow. I go back and add chapters where needed, go forward to write a killer line, backwards to add a bit of foreshadowing. And the whole thing comes together. It’s a long process. Where other authors can have a book written within a year, mine take a little longer. In some cases they taksimson-petrol-110900e… ahem, years and years.

My current novel is supposed to be a mashup of a character/plot that’s been on the back-burner since the early 2000s, and the story I wrote for last year’s NaNoWriMo, with some other stuff that I’ve started and abandoned within a couple of weeks.

Except, I have a main character that is both named and nameless, in past and present tense, first and third person. She lives in London, a nameless city, on the coast. She’s always an artist and has just won an art award, or won it years ago. Her current exhibition is both on display and cancelled. She has a lodger but is lodging, and a sister who is in varying degrees of existence.

I’m staring at these pages, completely overwhelmed – in some cases, reading the same scene written in different ways, with different outcomes. I have two folders that have an abundance of Post-It notes to remind me where I think that scene might fit, or not fit, or needs to fit.

And I don’t know what do to… Apart from go back to basics and write a plan. Or give up altogether and bake a cake.

Tips, advice and hugs all appreciated right now 🙂

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks – Cover Reveal

Yes, I know, I’m late to this particular party – a cover reveal for an anthology I’m going to be included in! I had Tuesday’s post for Theresa Milstein scheduled weeks in advance, the only post currently scheduled for the rest of the year! It’s a bit like that story/urban myth/utter truth that the first two cars in Ohio managed to crash into each other.

However, there might be people who haven’t seen the cover yet, so without further ado here’s the cover for the Where Words Fail, Music Speaks Anthology, which is scheduled for release April 21, 2017.

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Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.

Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.

Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry

All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.

Add to your Goodreads to-be-read list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34409894-where-words-fail-music-speaks

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