Undercover Soundtrack

‘Is there life after death?’ – The Undercover Soundtrack, Christina Banach

for logoMy guest this week is releasing her debut novel, a tale of love, loss and friendship centring on a pair of twins. She says that music was her anchor while she was brainstorming ideas and exploring the characters, helping to deepen her characters and refine her plot points. Her soundtrack ranges from the mournful to the joyous, with tracks by Iggy Pop, Evanescence, Robbie Williams and Samuel Barber. She is Christina Banach and she’s on the Red Blog with her Undercover Soundtrack.

Undercover Soundtrack

‘Memory lightning’ – The Undercover Soundtrack, Nick Cook

for logoMy guest this week represents something of a milestone. When I was new to Twitter I remember stumbling across his tweets and his blog, where he was taking his first steps in building a presence as a science fiction writer. Meanwhile, he was working on his debut novel, and over the months and years I would catch tweets and Facebook updates about rewrites, and his search for an agent and a publisher. That persistence paid off; he found representation and then a deal with Three Hares Press. Hosting him here feels like the satisfying end of a long journey. He is Nick Cook, the novel is the first in the Cloud Riders series, and he’s on the Red Blog with his Undercover Soundtrack.

Undercover Soundtrack

‘Hacking to music’ – the Undercover Soundtrack, Ian Sutherland

for logoOn The Undercover Soundtrack, we’re used to writers using music to summon the muse. My guest this week goes one better. One of his main characters is a computer hacker, who limbers up by listening to Vangelis’s music for the film 1492: Conquest of Paradise. In real life, the author has a lifetime’s experience in the IT industry and seems adept at opening files in people’s pasts – Dave and I used to play 1492 incessantly as background for our own writings. My guest did it again when his editor revealed she had trained as a musician, like another of his characters.  He is Ian Sutherland and he’s on the Red Blog with his Undercover Soundtrack – when he’s finished hacking the pasts of his production crew and blog hosts.

Undercover Soundtrack

‘Intensity, wildness and urban mayhem’ – The Undercover Soundtrack, Kathryn Guare

for logoMy guest this week began her debut novel with very little sense of where she was going.  All she had was a powerful scene and a yen to explore it. While she was experimenting, she happened on an audio seminar on understanding classical music. Suddenly she realised her character should be a virtuoso violinist – and the novel came alive. (Readers of My Memories of a Future Life will recognise a kindred spirit here. When I heard about her novel I had to recruit her.) She carried on collecting music to explore her character’s world and the result is a suspense novel with a rather unusual protagonist. She is Kathryn Guare and she’s on the Red Blog with her Undercover Soundtrack.

Interviews · Uncategorized

Seven things

No, this isn’t seven things you didn’t know about pacing, or using tea leaves to solve plot problems. But fear not, to be current I do mention football. In passing. And there is a nice list of great bloggers at the end.
 I’ve just been honoured with the Versatile Blogger Award, and so now I have a few obligations to fulfil.

A) Thank and link back to the person who gave me this award: thank you, Charity Bradford, whose blog My Writing Journey I regularly tweet.

B) Share 7 things about myself.

Self-portraits: I don't think they'll ask me to do one again

1. I am an exhibited artist. I took part in a self-portrait experiment at the rather smart
Twentytwenty Gallery in Much Wenlock, Shropshire. Purely as a laugh, because I can never make pens do what I want them to do. I had a few goes in rough first. The first one came out far too small and squished in the corner, but at least there was room for more.

After some time I had managed several versions of myself if played by Ruby Wax, Matt Damon or someone with the wrong nose and a beard. Finally I ran out of space and stamina, so handed in the rough with a title: A Writer’s Quest for Control Over Hand and Pen. Not sure what the gallery made of it…





These boots were made for exploring alien planets

2 Readers of this blog will know I adored Doctor Who when I was a kid. Not only did it feed my imagination, I think it also informed my dress sense as I cannot resist outlandish boots

3 My first published novel was Mirror Image, an MG horror romance in a series
under the house pseudonym Maria Palmer. It is credited as by Dave, but half-way through production the editors changed their mind about what they wanted for the series. Dave had a choice to cannibalise or give them a new book but he had no time for either. So I threw a plot together and wrote it for them. A few minor revisions … and I was a published author.

My first published novel

4 I’m constantly trying to iron out the wrinkles in my craft.

I wrote Mirror Image in 1992 and don’t dare look at it for fear of gauche discoveries.

5 I don’t believe it’s necessarily obvious what gender a writer is. Some of my ghosted titles are written as a man and no reviewer has ever spotted I am not in possession of a Y chromosome. And the ‘Maria Palmer’ project had several male authors pretending to be female. In the case of Mirror Image, no one guessed it was a female author pretending to be a male author who was pretending to be…  

The map from the front of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, showing the house I grew up in

6 I grew up in Alderley Edge in Cheshire.

Nowadays it’s famous for rich footballers, but it’s also the setting of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. I used to roam for hours in woods that were full of mysterious caves – the very landscape used in Garner’s Arthurian tale.





The truth is out there, or something is - Thank you JA Holland on Flickr

7 As a child I was obsessed with the giant radio telescope Jodrell Bank.

From my bedroom window I could see it, far away. Where all else on the horizon was a flat band of blue, there was this great structure of steel, softened by the distance to a fine spiderweb. It moved all the time, reacting to unseeable events in deep space. Sometimes it was a bowl facing straight up into the air. Sometimes a half bicycle wheel. Sometimes it looked directly at me, a giant white eye.

I used to stare at it through binoculars, trying to catch it move. Like one of those experiments that proves the earth is rotating even when you can’t feel it, Jodrell Bank showed the sky was only a thin veil. Beyond was a black wilderness teeming with asteroids, quasars and machines on heroic journeys to other worlds.

C) My third task as a Versatile Blogger is to give the award to 15 blogs I have recently discovered.
This is always hard as I discover great blogs all the time, but these are people I haven’t passed awards on to before or otherwise tortured for personal information. I really hope they play – and put the link in the comments!

James Killick
Victoria Mixon
Jan O’Hara of Tartitude
Stephanella Walsh

Livia Blackburne
Cath Ryan Howard

Jolie Stekly
Terry Odell

Jody Hedlund

Elizabeth S Craig

Paul Greci

Dominique at Doobla

Suzy Hayze

Realm Lovejoy

The folk at Strictly Writing – yes I know there are eight of them sharing one blog, but I’m sure they’re good enough friends to share.

And guys, do check out Charity’s answers – she had some interesting tales to tell!