Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Guest Post - The Thing I Love Best About Writing by Catherine Ferguson

Today I'm absolutely delighted to be able to share with you all a gorgeous guest post from Catherine Ferguson, the author of The Secrets of Ivy Garden. I'm currently just over half way through this book and can safely say that I am loving it. It's every bit as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside. My full review will be up here on the blog very soon but in the mean time why not sit back, relax and read all about what Catherine loves best about writing. It's a truly fabulous piece that I thoroughly enjoyed reading!

The Thing I Love Best About Writing

There are lots of things I love about getting a story down on the page.
                I love writing that very first chapter of a brand new book. I love the moment when a character, who’s previously been just a two-dimensional collection of characteristics, suddenly comes vibrantly alive as if they could step off the page. And I love speeding through the last chapter to reach the happy ending.
                But for me, the very best thing about the writing process is when the ‘magic’ happens.
                By ‘magic’, I mean the times I’m struggling to make progress and feeling frustrated and despondent, thinking I’ll obviously never be able to write a decent book ever again – and then without warning, the perfect solution arrives in my head, fully formed, apparently out of nowhere. And all at once, I can see the road ahead really clearly, which is very exciting considering I was almost on the point of tearing the whole manuscript up minutes earlier!
                These ‘magic’ moments don’t happen very often, so are all the more special when they do. And they almost always occur when I’m tramping the lanes around my house, taking a break from the computer screen. (Which is why I now consider a daily walk an essential part of my writing routine!)
                I experienced the ‘magic’ only last week, while trying to make headway with my latest book, to be released in time for Christmas. I had my lovely heroine, Poppy, and my luscious hero and a cast of quirky characters, and I knew roughly how I wanted the story to go, but it just wasn’t coming together the way I wanted it to. Poppy, who longs to turn her love of cooking into a business, has been hired to provide the festive food for a family’s Christmas. They’re an odd assortment of people, each with their own problems, and it’s fairly clear there will be fireworks before Christmas Day is over! My problem was: how could all these different characters shed light on the most important story of all, which is Poppy and the challenges she is facing?
                I had originally planned that the ‘Log-Fire Cabin’ – where the family gathers - would have a large, open-plan kitchen/living space. But on my walk, I suddenly had a clear image of a really cosy, Christmassy kitchen, right at the heart of the house, and a stool at a breakfast bar. This stool, I realised, would be just perfect for a character to perch on with a coffee or a glass of wine, pouring out their heart to Poppy as she bakes her cakes. One by one, the disparate guests would wander into the heart of the house and chat to Poppy (under the guise of grabbing a quick coffee) and in learning about their struggles, Poppy would come to a better understanding of the challenges she herself was facing. And she’d remain right at the centre of the book in that warm and inviting kitchen.
                I was so excited by this break-through, I hardly noticed that the heavens had opened. So I arrived home soaked through but happy – and desperate to get all my new ideas down on paper!