Tag Archives: Writing

Amy Dunne on Why You Should Come to Nottingham

27 May

Amy Dunne on Why You Should Come to Nottingham.

Blog Tour Monday

7 Apr



My friend Giselle Leeb who also happens to be a very talented writer has nominated me to continue with the Blog Tour Monday. Check out Giselle’s answers from last week here: http://giselleleeb.cielo.net/2014/03/blog-tour-monday/ 

What am I working on?

I’m working on two very different stories at the moment. Season’s Meetings is a lesbian romance with a festive setting. I’m shortly going to start editing it. It’s due out in December 2014 by Bold Strokes Books.

The Renegade: Book One of the Rapture Series is speculative fiction. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where only a few survivors remain. This is tentatively due for release in Spring 2015. I’m in the process of writing it at the moment.

Both stories are set in the UK and star lesbian protagonists.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

My debut novel Secret Lies was published by Bold Stokes Books in December 2013. It’s a young adult novel. This novel differs form others in the genre because it’s set in the UK and deals with dark/gritty themes such as self-harm and abuse. I wanted to give an honest portrayal of what life can be like for some LGBTQ youth and not shy away from the issues that really affect them. There is also the exploration of first love. Many YA books often don’t discuss sex and I felt it was important to include this in the story. I plan to write another YA book in the not so distant future.

The genres of both Season’s Meetings and The Renegade are drastically different from each other and Secret Lies. I’m new to writing. There are so many different stories, characters, and settings that fill my mind and refuse to leave me alone until I write them. I’m passionate about writing them even though they differ from the genres I’ve written before. There’s a huge unknown and risk that comes with trying to write something different. It’s daunting and exhilarating all at the same time. I accept that some genres may not work quite as well as others, but that’s not enough of a reason to deter me from trying.


Why do I write what I do?

I write lesbian fiction because it’s what I enjoy doing and that’s who the characters demand to be. I read anything and everything, but lesfic always has and will have a special place in my heart. It’s wonderful to be able to read a story and feel represented in the pages. When I was in a dark place and unsure of myself, lesfic opened my world up. It offered solidarity and hope. It enabled me to accept my sexuality and source the courage to live the way I wanted to. As dramatic as it sounds, it really did impact tremendously on my life. It’s always been my ambition to provide stories that do the same thing. It’s a privilege to be doing just that.

As I mentioned above, the genres of my books differ greatly but the main characters in my stories are lesbians.


How does my writing process work?

When I wrote Secret Lies I didn’t have a clue about anything to do with writing a novel. I had an idea for a story. That was it. The process was to sit down each night and write for a few hours. My biggest difficulty was my lack of knowledge. It took a number of years for me to finally learn the basics and edit the manuscript so I could submit it to a publisher. Even then it was rejected the first time.

Now I’m published, the process is very different. Thank goodness! I come up with the entire story and detailed character profiles including their physical, emotional, and psychological attributes. I send a proposal to my publisher and wait to see if they think the story is viable.

This has been the process for Season’s Meetings and The Renegade. It’s nice knowing what’s going to happen and not solely relying on making it all up as I go along. Don’t get me wrong, many things change during the writing process and nothing is set it stone, but I still find it comforting to have a plan of action. It takes some of the pressure off.

My biggest difficulty at the moment is self-doubt. It plagues me all the time. Each time I sit and open my manuscript up to write, I find it a challenge. Will I write anything remotely interesting? Will I let down the publisher and readers? What if I was just lucky to get the first book published and the dream of being a writer is ludicrous? And so on. Eventually the words begin to flow and my doubts are pushed from the forefront of my mind for a little while. I hope with time it’ll eventually ease up.

I’m incredibly fortunate to work an awesome publisher and two fabulous editors. They take my manuscripts and help me to make them better than I ever envisioned. I’ve learnt so much in such a small space of time and feel an immense amount of gratitude to the time and patience they show me.

Writing is a craft. You can have natural ability, but in the end you still have to work hard to hone those skills and improve. I love learning new things and developing my writing.

Without a doubt writing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s also the most rewarding. I truly believe I’ll never take it for granted.



Next Monday the very talented author Andrea Bramhall will be answering the same questions. Check out her blog here:https://andreabramhall.wordpress.com/

Interviewer extraordinaire and writer, Liz McMullen will also be answering these questions on her website: http://www.thelizmcmullenshow.com





My Worst Critic

4 Aug

Where the hell did the last week go? I swear I blinked on Monday morning and when I opened my eyes, it turned out to be Sunday.

In my humble opinion, I now liken the process of editing to alien abduction. One minute you’re happily living life and then—WHOOSH! Editing comes from nowhere and takes you away. There really is a bright light…albeit it’s a PC screen. You end up with a pain in your ass…from sitting for hours. Your head is implanted…with lots of new rules and words, that at first also seem very alien. And you lose time…whole days, and afterwards when you think about it, you’re not entirely sure what happened. And nobody understands or sympathizes with what you’ve been through, except for other abductees–in this case fellow writers.

At this point I’m emotionally bound to give a special mention to my beautiful wife Lou. She was incredible during the last week. She looked after both me and our puppy (who had an operation on Monday). She was basically a domestic goddess—and she’s not going to let me forget it anytime soon. 

Now, back to discussing writing. Writing is a very personal thing. Your book quickly becomes your baby: you’ve created it, are proud of it and only want what’s best for it. Nobody knows your baby better than you. And it really smarts when you’re told that your baby needs to improve. In order for this to happen, you have to try and trust the person guiding you through the improvements. And deep down although you know it’s all for the best, that doesn’t stop it feeling strange. This is what editing feels like.

I’ve spent the last week doing line edits on Secret Lies. It’s been intense for my wife, for me and for my (seriously awesome) editor, Lynda. Thanks to Lynda, my knowledge has blossomed and so has the pride I feel for the book.

I had heard many horror stories about the editing process and so I spent quite a few sleepless nights dreading it. When the day finally arrived, I braced myself for the worst and ended up being pleasantly surprised. Although receiving constructive criticism is never entirely pleasant, when it succeeds in improving something that you’re passionate about, you end up being grateful for it. Well, that’s what I found anyway.

Secret Lies (my very first book) is being published in December 2013 by BSB. Up to now, only a few people have read it but I’ve already identified who my worst critic is. They’ve already been shamelessly brutal in their critique, focused solely on the negative aspects and in doing so have torn my confidence to shreds.

Who is this monster? Well, honestly, my worst critic is…myself.

After finished the editing, instead of feeling relief, I felt worried and scared. An evil little voice in my head had started asking questions and demanded answers… 

Don’t you think there’s too much swearing? And the sex scenes— do you really want people reading those? Surely there’s a reason why other YA books don’t have them in? Why does it have to be so dark and gritty? And what about your family, your grandparents—don’t you reckon they’re going to be ashamed of you when they read it? Some people are really going to hate it— you know that right? Why couldn’t you just right a nice romance?

Not wishing to sound very mentally unstable, I’ll admit that I found myself answering the voice. Secret Lies is like Marmite—some folks will like it (hopefully) and others won’t. I accept that. And writing a nice romance just isn’t my kind of thing…at the moment anyway. 

I wanted to write a YA story that felt real. To achieve that I wanted to address themes that were sometimes gritty, dark, and maybe even a little uncomfortable. It was a conscious decision I made when I started writing it. Please, don’t get me wrong—the story isn’t all doom and gloom. I promise. There’s humour thrown in and even more importantly, there’s the experience and exploration of first love, and all the amazing positives that come with it.

I won’t lie, there is some bad language. There’s also sex. Both are included because they’re important to the story and characters. Those of you who know me well, can testify that I wouldn’t have written a sex scene—let alone put it in the book, if it wasn’t necessary. (In real life I’m a total prude and I’m always getting teased for it.)

The two main dark / gritty themes that run throughout the story are: abuse and self harm. Having worked with vulnerable young people, I’ve seen first hand the damage these can cause. Statistics have revealed that self harm is on the increase in the UK and yet because of the stigma associated with it, it’s treated like a taboo.

What I want more than anything, is for readers (regardless of age) to know that if they are being affected by either abuse or self harm, they’re not alone. There’s a wealth of support and guidance out there and it can really change lives. Trust me.

So, regardless of the evil little voice and all of the worrying I’ve yet to do, Secret Lies will be out in December. In the time leading up to its release, I have to come up with an ingenious plan to somehow prevent my grandparents from reading it. Wish me luck because I need it.

And I hope if you do read Secret Lies and happen to like it, that you’ll please let me know. That would be awesome. 🙂

LGBTQ Books Made Me Realise I wasn’t Alone.

6 Jun

LGBTQ Books Made Me Realise I wasn’t Alone..