as the song by the Momas and Papas goes.
Today on #Motivation Monday is the turn of Angela Barton. Feast your eyes on these covers:
I am proud to say that Angela has used part of my review for some of her ads about my favourite book: Arlette’s Story Set in World War 2, there is the most moving chapter describing an actual massacre that took place in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane.
Small wonder, having read Angela’s beautiful descriptions, that she is also a talented creative. I hope this modest lady won’t mind me bigging up some of her clever hand-crafted work to be found on NEEDLEPULLINGTHREAD.CO.UK
Anyway, back to today’s business. Yipee and hip hip hooray – Angela has started another book and I chatted to her about how she embarks on a new writing project.
Hello Angela. Thank you so much for inviting me to join your weekly blog on how authors start their books. Actually, this is very good timing as I’m writing Chapter 1 of my fifth novel, which has a working title of, The Mountains Wept.
How did I start it? Well, I knew I wanted to write a third book set in France during WW2. One of my previous novels was set in the city of Paris and the second in the countryside of southwest France. I wanted a different landscape for this book, so I chose the foothills of the Pyrenees.
Once I’d decided on the location, I look for factual events that happened during the war in that place. I don’t give my characters an easy time! I chose the perilous journeys made by exhausted and injured airmen and refugees as they tried to escape over the mountains while being hunted by the Germans.
When I established the theme of my book, I began reading fiction, non-fiction, books on mountaineering, diaries, online articles on escape lines and safe houses, watched films, documentaries etc. Reading not only gives me lots of information, but it also puts me in the frame of mind of a passeur (mountain guide) and my imagination and storylines build from there.
When I’ve thought of the main story arc and smaller arcs (that keeps the drama unfolding) I need to build a cast. I find it easier to establish what’s going to happen before I invent people to fill the pages. I suppose it’s a bit like being a casting director!
I start a Pinterest board with images of my characters, setting, story ideas and especially my hero. It’s tough work ploughing through so many images of handsome men, but it needs to be done! I keep adding to the board while writing.
Next I’ll draw a sketch of the village and surrounding land so I can refer to it and know I’m sending my characters in the right direction and passing consistent landmarks. In this sketch I like to add interesting features like a dilapidated moulin à vent, caves, grottos, shepherds’ huts and water of some description.
Then it’s time to get writing. As I write each chapter I jot on a piece of paper the chapter number, a sentence or two about the chapter’s storyline, which character is involved and the timeline. This helps with continuity, and if I want to add something to a particular chapter, I don’t have to scroll through the novel looking for a particular scene.
I continue reading books of the same genre throughout the time spent writing. They inspire me and help with my imagination.
I’ve written a book in three months (You’ve Got My Number) but one has also taken me a year (Arlette’s Story). I don’t have a set routine for writing, but try to do some every day. It really depends what’s going on in my life. There’s nothing better that experiencing that feeling of being in the ‘zone’ while writing; it’s as if I’m inside my story living amongst new friends.
Thanks so much, Angela for sharing your methods. I love that idea for a map. And I also understand totally that great feeling when you’re in the “zone” and you feel as if you are living amongst friends. Good luck with this new book. Can’t wait to read it.
Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children and adorable six-year-old twin granddaughters. She is passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction and loves time spent researching for her novels. In 2018 Angela signed publishing contracts for three of her completed novels.
In addition to writing, Angela also relaxes by making landscapes using free motion sewing on a machine. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a reader for their New Writers’ Scheme. Angela is also a member of Nottingham Writers’ Studio, the Society of Authors and Ellipses and Ampersands’ fiction critique group.
Find out more about Angela with these links, and buy her books here:
Arlette’s Story: amzn.to/2lAyIlb
Magnolia House: smarturl.it/fttfc2
You’ve Got My Number: http://amzn.to/35Q19jB
Website and blog: https://www.angelabarton.net