Sorry, not sorry.

So I read an interesting blog post on Becca’s Books yesterday. It was asking whether fictional romance gives readers unrealistic expectations when it comes to love. My answer was that it did, without a doubt. But it wasn’t a simple yes/no answer. I don’t know how many films I’d watched or books I’d read when I thought to myself ‘Yeah, yeah. Whatever. That would never happen in real life.’ That’s why they’re in fiction, right? But then I realised, I’m a writer, and I write about love. And I’m adding to this problem. I felt a flash of guilt, but it didn’t last long. The reason? Because things like that do exist.

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Ok, so we now know that this photo was of two random people kissing in the street and not an actual couple, and ok, movie-like love doesn’t happen to everyone every day. I’m a skeptic about most things, but not when it comes to love. This is why I love my job, because I don’t think love is something you should compromise on.

In Together Apart, Adam loves Sarah without question. Even as he begins to uncover her past, it’s a love that never waivers. Does he like her all the time? No. She’s a pain in the ass, a secretive woman who’s broken his heart, but he still loves her. And in my new book, Love You Better, there’s Smith, the guy who was just plain awful, someone you should most definitely steer clear of, and yet, he still manages to get under Effie’s skin.

To me, the art of writing anything with a love story in it, is that it has to be realistic. Yes, readers want escapism, but they also want something they can aspire to. And what makes a great love story great, is that in the end, the couple are together despite everything that gets thrown at them. They don’t have to organise a flashmob in Central station, or fly halfway around the world before they realise they’re in love to do it.

What made the answer to the question posed in the blog more grey than black and white, was that I’m now in one of those relationships. Remember my post about falling in love while travelling? Being honest, that post was the skeptic in me, the part of me that has this ‘yeah, yeah, whatever’ reaction to the standard romance novel/romcom happy ending. What happened after I wrote that post, was that he went off to Nepal as planned, while I went to Thailand. I never dared to dream that he would join me in Thailand afterwards, or that we would travel to Cambodia together. And I definitely didn’t dare to imagine that I’d be invited to go to his brother’s wedding the week after we both landed back in our home countries, let alone visit his hometown. But that’s what happened, and that’s where I am as I write this post – in Germany, sitting in his mum’s garden while he does some DIY.

I can’t tell you how many times I’d get frustrated with the Hollywood happy ending when I’d date guys who’d cheat, go back to their exes or just drop off the face of the earth. It seemed too realistic to imagine ‘romance’ as it was in the books I loved being real, until I found myself in the situation myself.

And that’s why I’ll continue to write the stories I do. To me, these stories should be something to aspire to, whether we get them or not, instead of something to keep us down and believe that happiness is something that only happens in fiction.

After all, isn’t there a famous quote that to be a good writer, you should write what you know? So, yeah. Expect more of these stories from me. And I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.

x

The PR Machine

One of the biggest, and hardest things about being a writer, is getting your voice heard. There’ve been many a time, and there still are, when I’ve wondered if anyone can hear me when it comes to Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr – there are so many sites with so many writers all trying to achieve the same thing. Get new readers, followers and sales. So, you can imagine the happy dance I did when my publishers emailed to tell me that I’d be getting to work alongside one of the biggest media PR companies.

I mean, hello?! Me? Yep. Apparently so!

Is it daunting? A little. When we had our conference call this week, I sat at the kitchen table, simultaneously jotting down notes and doing more happy dancing with my jaw hanging open as my boyfriend watched on (more on him another time). It’s completely and utterly bonkers, but then I’ve always loved a little adventure!

I guess, as with all the good news stories I post, what I’m trying to say is – never give up hope. I know how hard it is to try and get your book out there, I know how it feels to be a crayfish in a publishing ocean, but this stuff happens! For reals! And of course, I’ll be posting updates about what happens next – lots and lots of fun stuff!

Until then, kisses from Bavaria!

Nat

x

Wandering Writer Woes #331

So, I’ve just realised, it’s April. Already! That means it’s my birthday month, Easter, and spring time. Yay! It also means I’ve only got 2, maximum 3 months to get my second instalment of Pull ready. Balls.

I’ve met so many people who’ve got glossy eyed when I tell them I’m a writer. They all say the same thing – how great it must be to write and travel at the same time. And they’re right, it is great. It’s just that time doesn’t really exist while you’re travelling. On one hand, everything is super slow and chilled. The biggest dilemma of the day might be deciding where to have breakfast that day before lounging around all day. On the the other hand, everything goes so fast. I’ll be home in under a month – where have the last 4 months gone?

The inspiration for Pull is already there. The idea is there, I just need to get it out and on the one hand, being surrounded by scenery like this is pretty much most writers’ dream.

On the other hand, I don’t want to miss it by being stuck behind a laptop screen all day. It’s taken me the best part of 4 hours just to get this blog post done – the internet was sketchy and it seems that whenever I do get some precious time to do anything work related, my laptop decides it wants to throw a hissyfit.

Still. I’m not complaining.

 

Exclusive Title Reveal!

So, one of the cool things about being published with Amazon’s Lake Union is the retention of control over certain aspects of my book. I know some authors who’ve had to accept titles they weren’t keen on, but I’m super happy with mine. And I can now shout about it. What was Heart Shaped Bruise is now…

Title reveal

Love You Better. I heart it. What do you think?

Under Pressure

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This is me. No doubt about it. And, with my publishing contract came deadlines, and the re-write for Together Apart. In all fairness, it wasn’t loads. I’ve added a few new scenes and tidied things up a little, but the deadlines were fairly tight – and it probably felt even more so because of me being almost on the other side of the world in one of the most chilled out places imaginable.

Instead of doing a little bit each day, I left it until the day before the deadline for me to send the edits back. They weren’t problematic, or exceptionally difficult, and I thought I’d be able to handle that in no time at all. Except, it it wasn’t that easy. If you haven’t read Together Apart, it’s about a break-up. A fairly messy one at that, and when I wrote the majority of it, I was breaking up from a very long term relationship. I’m so far away from that now and I didn’t bank on how hard it would be to put myself back into that headspace.

My editor, the lovely Sophie, was asking for more emotion here, more reaction there, and it was an uphill struggle to put myself back into that place of heartbreak and uncertainty. I knew as soon as I started writing it that I should have left myself more time. In the end, the changes were made and Sophie loved them, and now, Together Apart is well and truly done and dusted. I’ve had a few days to recharge before the imminent arrival of the edits for Heart Shaped Bruise come into my inbox and this time I won’t make the same mistake. The truth is, Heart Shaped Bruise as it stands is fresh out of my mind, and I’m expecting MAJOR rewirtes to be done.

I bumped into a friend yesterday who’s a freelance photographer, and we were talking about the balance between socialising and enjoying life, and knuckling down to work. And, actually, I think the move from being a self-published author to having to deal with deadlines etc imposed by someone else will work so much better for me. I’ve always worked better with a bit of applied pressure, and the truth is, if you’re self-publishing, you have to be super disciplined to stick to your own deadlines. There’s far too much slippage in there for me.

Yeah, it meant sitting in front of the computer for nine hours straight on New Years Eve and almost making myself cross eyed, but it was totally worth it. Pressure?

Bring it!