Catch yourself on

I’m writing two books at the moment. Similar in context to ‘I’m seeing two men’, but you are much less likely to get in trouble for it. In fact you will be lauded, most likely.

I’m a bit in love with book four. I still love book three too but the problems are starting – the flaws. The things I don’t know how to change. Book Four is new and fresh and makes my heart beat faster (especially when I’m writing all the sexy male characters my heroine is going to get involved with, swoon).

This is the first book that I can’t pinpoint getting the idea for, or what it was made me decide to write something set at home: Northern Ireland. I was reading something recently where Ian Rankin said there wasn’t much Northern Ireland crime, because the chaos and violence was too near. Well, it’s not any more, and I think the time is ripe.

What’s interesting is working out the voice – for the book and for the characters. Ostensibly it is my own voice, but after ten years away it really isn’t any more. I’m having to ask myself, would someone from Northern Ireland say it this way or that way? I want to capture the flavour of how people speak, but it would be awful so sound like a cod-Irish disaster (like when Hollywood actors star in dramas about the Troubles. Looking at you, Brad Pitt).

I also don’t want it to be incomprehensible, like when I used to fall foul of my university tutors because I used words they did not consider to be valid English ( I still think ‘underslept’ is a word!). Even now I still get odd looks for gutties, slabbers, banjaxed. I think the only solution might be regular trips back so that weird alchemy can happen where I slip back into my old speech and accent without even realising.

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