Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Writer's Wednesday: All the More Unfamiliar Places

PHS Columnist and Harlequin Historical author Nicole Locke asks: Can a writer reinvent themselves?

I love to write in all the more unfamiliar times and places. I don’t write only in the morning, afternoon or evening. I write at any time. I certainly don’t have a writing spot in my house. It’s the red chair, the sofa, or on top of my bed. Sometimes I even sit in the hallway.

I gallivant as well. I write on buses, on trains, and on tubes. I’ve written in almost every museum in London (except that one at UCL, which had very little space). Oh, and benches. I love benches. And café’s, and sometimes libraries (often too quiet). I write indoors, I write… I think you get the picture.

I am a Creature of the Unhabit.

Does it work? It doesn’t…unwork. After all, I have actual finished novels that have been published. Better yet, these stories have given me inspiration for more stories. So good, right?

Yet, should I tell you how long my writing process has been?  I found a floppy disc dated 1999 with bits of my first story. I know for certain I thought of the story before that date. When did it get published? Once I split the story (it had two storylines), the first one was in 2014, and the second one in 2016.

In other words…I think you get the picture. Oh, sure Life happened. Kids, my insanely demanding day job. We moved countries. It took me six months to try all the different cheeses suddenly available. Oh, and we travelled. A lot.

Through it all, I wrote here and there. I entered writing contests. I tried to find my storytelling voice. I adored finding new words; I soared when I wrote that perfect moment between characters.

Yet, how did I possibly get published with this much dribble and drab of words? Because I persisted with those words. Every year I wrote a bit more until I finished the manuscript and started querying agents (all to no avail). Along the way, I fixed stories. I joined groups and met other writers. I kept trying.

Then in 2014, I met a Harlequin editor, and laughed that my manuscript sent over a year before hadn’t been rejected yet. Three days later, I received a series of emails that ended up being The Call.

I tell people that the only reason I’m published was because of an administrative error. In truth, the only reason I got published was because I persevered. I kept with the struggle; I kept dreaming.

Now that I have contracts, do my unworking, unhabit practices work? Not at all.

Because let’s face it, I dreamed, but I got in my way.  And that doesn’t work in the publishing world. That doesn’t work when I have characters vociferously demanding their stories (inspiration is great until you have too many voices in your head). It doesn’t work with editors and never for the reader. I, too, am a reader. I know how demanding I can be for the next book.

So I must become familiar. I must find habit. In 2017, I think I’ll dream a little less; I’ll struggle a lot more. In 2017, I want to soar with more perfect storytelling moments.
-- Nicole :-)
Nicole's fourth book in the Lovers and Legends series, In Debt to the Enemy Lord, is out now!

“You have a debt to pay. You owe me your life.”

Anwen, bastard of Brynmor, has fought hard to find her place in the world. But she’s forced to re-evaluate everything when she’s saved from death by her enemy Teague, Lord of Gwalchdu. Instead of releasing her, he holds her captive…

Teague trusts no-one. And with ominous messages threatening his life he must keep Anwen under his watch, no matter how much her presence drives him wild. And when passionate arguments turn to passionate encounters, Teague must believe that the strength of their bond will conquer all!

To find out more about Nicole Locke, visit her website, and follow her on Twitter.


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  2. You've given me hope, Nicole that a winding, twisting way to publication is possible! Thanks : ) And good luck with the new writing regime in 2017!