When I was teaching I always knew what day it was. Now that I have given up teaching to write I find it more difficult on waking to work out whether it is a week day or a weekend; everyday is a writing day but every day is different.
I have always been a lark – I like to be up early and make a start on my ‘to do’ list which I will have inevitably made the day before. I find I work better in the morning and begin to falter as the day progresses.
The first thing I do in the morning is let Scout, my Patterdale Terrier, out into the garden while I get his breakfast. After my first coffee I check social media and perhaps post something to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or all three. Then I check my emails. Prior to the book launch there were heaps of them all needing attention. I will usually reply straight away to the simple ones, while the others I add to my ‘to do’ list in order of urgency.
After breakfast I take the doglet for his first walk. I am lucky to live in a pretty Yorkshire Dales market town so there are plenty of lovely walks on my doorstep. However, Settle is on the wrong side of the Pennines and it rains here –a lot! Scout hates the wet weather and his excitement at the prospect of a walk can come to an abrupt halt when he sees the wind and rain. As I write about the North East coast of England I often go there for research and just to be in the environment where my characters ‘lived’. Then dog walks are on the beautiful sandy beaches of Whitby, Sandsend, or Alnmouth in Northumberland. This is where I get inspiration and my best ideas. I get more writing done here than anywhere else – often jotting down ideas, phrases or plot lines in one of my favourite cafes, Tides in Sandsend or Bertram’s in Warkworth.
Back at the cottage I will read and amend the part of the story I wrote the day before. Writing is ten percent writing and ninety percent editing. Sometimes I rewrite the whole thing; other times just change the odd word or sentence. Sometimes I remove entire paragraphs which can be frustrating. Then I begin to write from where I left off the day before. Often I have ‘written’ a chapter in my head in bed before I’ve even opened my eyes so I am eager to get the gist of it down quickly before I forget it. I have a note book by the bed in case I come up with a good idea or even a word that I like.
I write until around 1pm then have a short break for lunch and take Scout on the village green to stretch my legs. Most days I will write through to about 6 ish. I don’t set myself a goal like some writers who want to achieve a certain word count by the end of the day. I write while the ideas are flowing and usually stop when my back begins to ache or I realise I’m hungry.
Although I write everyday some days I also get to do things unrelated to writing such as dancing. I go to two dance classes a week, one a morning session and the other in the afternoon, these help break up the week. I’ve always loved dancing and it’s the only exercise I do willingly. I also meet up with friends for coffee or for lunch. Writing can be a lonely business so it’s important to get away from the computer screen from time to time. I am a trustee of an animal charity so I have commitments there to attend to. I enjoy organising coffee mornings and other fund raising events which help raise much needed money for our two sanctuaries.
The least exciting part of being a writer for me is the marketing side. As an Indie author I have to do all the marketing and publicity myself; it has been a steep learning curve. The great thing however about self publishing is that I stay in total control throughout. I can choose my own cover, font style, layout etc. With a publisher often authors have to cede control to them.
Inevitably some part of my day is set aside to look at publishing and marketing. However I couldn’t have done it without help. I am a member of The Romantic Novelists Association and was lucky enough to be on their New Writers Scheme. Once a month my chapter meet in Harrogate to talk about what we are up to. I have learnt a lot from these authors, some of whom have been in the bestsellers lists for twenty five years. Others, like me, are at the beginning of their writing journeys. Some have gone down the traditional agent/publisher route while others are self published and equally successful. Some started out with a publishing house but have now chosen to self publish. All have a great deal to offer and are very generous with their time. I am also a member of Promoting Yorkshire Authors which is an on line group for Indie authors. They are a group of writers who have all self published and so are a fund of knowledge and information. We also meet up and exchange views and ideas.
In addition I have my small team of ‘helpers’ who bail me out when the computer says ‘no’. These include my ‘EPA’ who reminds me I have to be somewhere or helps me on the tech side when I get totally stuck – which is often judging by the time she spends a my laptop! I’m not very good at techy stuff – I once lost three entire chapters – they just disappeared from the screen. Despite the fact I save and back up regularly I have no idea what happened. Thankfully I had a print out of the lost chapters but it was extremely unnerving. Besides the friends who support me I also have one or two professionals who help with editing and formatting. I will be making more use of these with my next books so I can offload the most tedious tasks and get on with what I enjoy doing most – writing.
When I finished writing Never the Twain I began to think about the cover. I had a definite idea for the design and I was keen for it to be the best it could be – after all we all judge a book by its cover whether we think we do or not. I spent a lot of time selecting images for my designer Charlotte, to look at so she had an idea of what I wanted. We spoke several times so I could tell her what I liked/didn’t want. I am extremely pleased and proud of the cover design for Never the Twain. It was great fun picking colours, images and font styles. Who knew it was so complicated – some images have copyright issues so can’t be used while some ideas I had at the beginning just didn’t translate to the page as well as I had hoped. All these things take time away from what I like doing best – writing, but I had fun helping design the cover.
Never the Twain is a stand alone book and I have now written two books in a series which will be a three part historical romance saga. The first part, My Constant Lady will be out early in 2020. It has been edited and the cover is being designed as we speak. I am keen for it to retain some of the features of the Never the Twain cover but as the saga is a different genre to the first book it will need a lighter touch I think.
After my day at the computer I make my ‘to do’ list and answer emails. Then I will check social media and perhaps post something I have found interesting from my research or if all else fails post a cute photo of Scout. Before dinner I take him for another walk then settle down to my other great love, reading. I usually have two books on the go at the same time; one I am reading downstairs and one by the bed. After chores and dinner I watch a bit of TV, usually on catch up – I’m very selective with what I watch. Like most people I am time poor but I do love good drama or crime series.
By 11pm my eyes are usually drooping and as I get ready for bed I think over what it’s like to be a writer. I loved teaching but the job became all consuming and stressful. I never seemed to achieve my goals as there were never enough hours in the day or the government moved the goal posts. Two years after giving it up to write I have never been happier. Now my time is my own and I only have two goals; to carry on writing and become someone’s favourite author. I hope you enjoy reading Never the Twain as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Never the Twain: A twin tale of jealousy and betrayal, love and murder.
The year is 1890. The port of Whitby is heaving with sailors and where there are sailors there are brothels doing a roaring trade. Beautiful identical twins April and May are in desperate straits. They have been abandoned by their actress mother and are about to have their virginity auctioned off to the highest bidder by a notorious brothel madam.
Their fate is hanging in the balance when Captain Edward Driscoll a handsome, wealthy shipping tycoon from Glasgow saves them before they can be deflowered.
But have they exchanged one form of slavery for another?
April, reluctantly swept up in her twin’s secrets and lies unwittingly becomes embroiled in a murderous conspiracy. Is May’s jealousy stronger than the twin bond which has always connected them?
Never the Twain: A dark blend of Gothic romance and murder.
Jane Fenwick lives in the market town of Settle in Yorkshire, England. She studied education at Sheffield University gaining a B.Ed (Hons) in 1989 and going on to teach primary age range children. Jane decided to try her hand at penning a novel rather than writing school reports as she has always been an avid reader, especially enjoying historical and crime fiction. She decided to combine her love of both genres to write her first historical crime novel Never the Twain. Jane has always been a lover of antiques, particularly art nouveau and art deco ceramics and turned this hobby into a business opening an antiques and collectables shop in Settle. However her time as a dealer was short lived; she spent far too much time in the sale rooms buying items that ended up in her home rather than the shop! Animal welfare is a cause close to Jane’s heart and she has been vegetarian since the age of fourteen. For the last twenty years she has been trustee of an animal charity which rescues and rehomes cats, dogs and all manner of creatures looking for a forever home. Of course several of these have been “adopted” by Jane!
Jane has always loved the sea and although she lives in the Yorkshire Dales she is particularly drawn to the North East coast of Yorkshire and Northumberland. This coastline is where she gets her inspiration for the historical crime and romance novels she writes. She can imagine how the North East ports would have looked long ago with a forest of tall masted ships crammed together in the harbours, the bustling streets congested with sailors, whalers, chandlers and sail makers. These imaginings provide the backdrop and inspire her to create the central characters and themes of her novels. As she has always loved history she finds the research particularly satisfying.
When she isn’t walking on Sandsend beach with her dog Scout, a Patterdale “Terrorist” she is to be found in her favourite coffee shop gazing out to sea and dreaming up her next plot. Jane is currently writing a historical saga series again set on the North East coast beginning in 1765. The first two books are being edited at the moment; My Constant Lady and The Turning Tides. Look out for My Constant Lady in 2020.