Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview With … Chrissie Parker

THURSDAY 31st OCTOBER 2013

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

I would like to wish a warm welcome to the fabulous Chrissie Parker, a fellow #GoTeamPIF member who has just
released her adult suspense novella, Integrate!

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A battered and broken body lays in the road. A discovery that leaves the local community gripped with fear. Suspicion as to who killed the woman is rife.

Corinne’s peaceful life is shattered by the tragic death, forcing her to struggle daily with overwhelming grief and loss.

A chance meeting with a stranger helps Corinne through the hurt and pain, but can she really trust Jack?

Author Bio

Chrissie lives in London with her husband and is a freelance Production Coordinator working in the_MG_2415 TV, documentary and film industry.  She is also an Author.  “Integrate” a suspense Novella, is her first release.  She is currently working on two suspense books due for release in 2014.  One is set in Egypt and the other on the Greek Island of Zakynthos.

Chrissie is passionate about History, Archaeology and travel, and has completed two 6 months Archaeology and Egyptology course with Exeter University.  She also likes to read, collect books and listen to music.

To find out more about Chrissie visit her website www.chrissieparker.com

Synopsis

Twin sisters Corinne and Helena have always been close, growing up in the same Integrate_SMALLsmall town.  Corinne lives alone in the house that used to belong to their parents and Helena lives with her husband and love of her life, Jimmy, and their two children.

Helena loves life, she enjoys spending time with her friends and relishes being a wife and mother. Corinne lives in isolation, unable to get over the death of their parents.  She relies on the spiritual world, reading tarot cards, surrounding herself with crystals and candles.  She also has to deal with unwanted premonitions that strike when she least expects them.

During a tarot reading Corinne predicts Helena’s death, and is distraught when she learns that Helena has been murdered.  The grief and sudden loss of her twin sister overwhelms Corinne and she struggles to live day to day.  At Helena’s funeral Corinne falls out with her brother in law and is left feeling alone and unloved.

At her lowest ebb Corinne becomes friends with Jack, a stranger in town, but the grief remains and whenever she is around Jack, she gets a vision; one that takes her back to the horrifying scene of Helena’s death.   Unable to stop them, Corinne realises the visions may be her only chance of finally understanding what happened to her sister and why.  But will it be the answer she is looking for?

Grab that cuppa and get snug as we meet the author …

Hi Chrissie and welcome! It’s great to have you here! Where did the inspiration behind Integrate come from?

Integrate actually started life as a screenplay.  I wrote it in the 1990’s.  A few years ago I re-discovered it and liked the story so much I had to do something with it.  The inspiration for the plot came from a number of places, I wanted to write a slightly dark and edgy script, that featured a murder in unusual circumstances.  I used to read tarot a long time ago, and wanted to use them as a visual tool, but they weren’t enough, so I also decided to give my character Corinne the gift of premonition, as I thought the two would work well together.  It was a challenge turning the script into a story (normally people do it the other way around!), but I enjoyed developing the story and characters.

How would you compare writing this book with anything you have previously written?

I have previously published some poetry, so this is very different.   I have tried for many years to finish a novel, but never quite succeeded, this was the first story I ever managed to complete!  I never found anything that really hooked me whilst I was writing, but Integrate did.  It challenged me, and I identified with some of the characters struggles and really enjoyed writing it.

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

I have been writing since I was a young and used to read a lot as a child.  I wrote a ‘novel’ when I was about 11 years old set in the village where I grew up, based upon my friends and I. It was along the lines of The famous Five by Enid Blyton.  I’m not sure if there is a particular book that spurned me on, I own so many, but I do enjoy reading murder mystery genre, especially Agatha Christie, who is my favourite author.  I also have an extensive collection of books on Ancient History and Archaeology, and they have been inspiration for some other novels I’m currently writing.

How do you organise your writing time?

I try to write as often as possible.  I no longer work full time, so when I haven’t got any freelance or temping work booked in, I make an effort to sit down at my desk and work.  I tend to write during ‘work hours’ and avoid the internet as much as I can, as it can be very distracting.  I have everything methodically organised, all of my manuscripts are arranged into sub-folders, I have a notebook for each book that contains a brief plot, character information, and research.  I am currently working on two books for release next year, both have historical and archaeological elements, which means I have to do a lot of reading and research (including visiting museums).  It can be great fun, but also a little overwhelming, my head is currently filled with the history of Ancient Egypt and WW2 in Greece!

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?

At present I have a desk set up in the living room, as there isn’t room in the house for me to have a separate office.  I do have a window to look out of though, and I have a lot of inspiring photographs of historical sites I’ve visited pinned up around my desk.  My husband normally works in his office, but if he needs the living room I pinch his room!

I can work pretty much anywhere though as I tend to listen to music as I work, so I can always stick my headphones in and shut out the world around me.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.

When I was at school I learned to write upside down, I can still do it now and love showing people as it freaks them out!

Thank you for being here today Chrissie.

You’re welcome Gemma, and thank you for interviewing me for your wonderful blog!

~Where to find Chrissie~

www.chrissieparker.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ChrissieParkerAuthor

Twitter – @Chrissie_author

Blog – http://chrissieparker.blogspot.co.uk

Integrate_SMALL

Integrate will be my Halloween read. Make it yours!

Love Missuswolf xxx

More Editing

MONDAY 28th OCTOBER 2013

Editing2

Good Morning All! I hope you all had a great weekend. I was working but managed to get a lot of writing done in-between (I have an early finish and the fact that I’m a football widow to thank for that!)

On Friday, I finished updating the first ten chapter’s of my manuscript onto the computer from the hard copy revisions that Jenny, my editor, had sent me. I’ve found the experience has been extremely useful as I now know what to focus on when editing the rest of the novel before submitting it to her.

She’s looked at it from a reader’s perspective and has therefore highlighted areas that you just don’t seem to pick up on when you have author-tunnel-vision.

This has meant cutting down excess words that isn’t relevant and which slows the story down . It’s made me think about the whole novel again and I’ve decided to do further research and add more scenes to it.

As part of this, I’m reading some more chick-lit books (good excuse!) not only for pleasure, but to look at the pace of the story and writing style.

Over the weekend, I’ve worked on Chapter’s 11 and 12. I’ve scrutinised each and spent a good few hours on both. I’ve also had another mess around with editing my synopsis. I think I’m at a point where it needs to be looked at by Jenny for some help and suggestions.

This has all been a huge learning process and I am enjoying every second of it! I have learnt to be patient (which is not one of my strengths!) and to take time with it, rather than rushing through just to try and get it published.

If you’re in the process of writing or editing your novel, how are things going for you? Please feel free to share below!

Take care and Happy Monday 🙂

Love Missuswolf xxx

The Quest To Find An Agent

MONDAY 21st OCTOBER 2013

Agents

When I first wrote this novel (currently titled Little Miss Pooshoe but that might be up for debate – but that’s another blog post), I fully intended to self publish it. That is still an option, however, I want to have a go at sending it off to literary agents first – just to test the waters and see what response I get (if any). Then, at least if I don’t get anywhere with them, I won’t be left wondering what if? and I can continue with my self publishing plans.

In order to pitch to literary agents, there are certain submission guidelines. One of them is what most writer’s dread – the synopsis: a brief summary of the major points of a story. This is harder to write than the novel itself, the difficulty is trying to summarise an 80,000 word novel on one page. Inevitably, I keep going over.

At this moment in time, I have drafted a synopsis and I am making contact with Jenny, my editor, later today to discuss her editing my synopsis as well. If I’m going to give this a shot I want it done properly.

Last week, I also spent a lot of time researching agents. I’d previously spoken with Jenny and former colleague, Kerry, and they both recommended using the Writer’s & Artist’s Yearbook 2013. I did this, cheating slightly as I actually have a copy that my mum gave me from the year 2000. I used a bit of initiative and worked through all the agency details and looked them up on the internet to see if they were still accepting submissions and, if so, what were their guidelines. Cue my obsession with spread sheets and I now have a list of thirty four contacts to work through.

As soon as my synopsis has been Jenny-proofed then I will start the submission process. You can follow my progress on this blog and see how I get on.

Have a fab day folks.

Love Missuswolf xxx

The story so far …

MONDAY 14th OCTOBER 2013

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Missuswolf’s StoryLand – the dream became a reality this year with my very own study! Major eeeeeekk!!

As most of you know since January 2012, I have been working on my first 80,000 word chick-lit novel. After writing the first draft during the dark, depressing months that were January and February, I have been working on the editing ever since.

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Firstly the manuscript (currently titled Little Miss Pooshoe) required editing from start to finish to tidy up any spelling mistakes, grammar errors and sentence structures. This is because a first draft is literally the words in your head being transferred straight to paper  as quickly as possible before they have a chance to disappear out of there.

A second round of editing is then needed whereby the actual text and flow of the story is looked at in more detail. This is still work in progress. The first ten chapter’s have endured this process where I scrutinise it prior to submission to an editor. These ten chapter’s have now reached the third round, where they are pulled apart chapter by chapter, sentence by sentence, word by word.

I have been lucky enough to meet a lovely lady called Kerry Ann Richardson at work, who is on her own mission to write Crime Thriller Novel’s (she is currently well into writing her second novel – well done hun!) Kerry put me in touch with a wonderful lady called Jenny Drewery, who edited her first manuscript.

I made contact with Jenny back in March and emailed her my full manuscript so she could get an idea of the full story. I then nervously submitted hard copies of the first ten chapter’s in April and, after a busy summer of moving for me and a hectic summer workload  for Jenny, the completed scripts landed on my doormat on 28th August.

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Scribbles and sentences – the first edited ten chapter’s of my manuscript

I wanted to give my refurbished manuscript the love and attention it deserves and I felt I could only do this once I had my study set up. This was so I could shut the door on the world and be alone with it; just me, my thoughts and my manuscript.

Therefore, last Monday (7th October) it finally felt right. My study is two thirds ready and at a stage where I can work in relaxation. I could make no more excuses and I anxiously bit the bullet – and opened the edited manuscript.

I prepared myself for the worst and although the pages are full of red pen, all the amendments that Jenny has suggested have really all made sense. She has looked at it from a reader’s perspective and taken out all unnecessary wording and highlighted areas that could be misinterpreted. Needless to say I have had some genuine laugh out loud moments at sentences which really don’t make sense when you apply a bit of reader’s logic.  One example involved a character and his goatee beard and how only he could pull it off. Jenny reminded me that if this was taken in the logistical context, it’s as if he is ‘pulling his beard off his face’. I whooped with hysterics for ages at that.

So the editing experience hasn’t been bad at all. I have met an amazing woman who has really helped pushed my manuscript to the next level.

Study

Last Monday and Tuesday, I sat and transferred all the edits from paper to computer for the first three chapter’s. My intention is to do the same with the other seven chapter’s so all ten are polished to perfection before starting this whole process of editing again with the next ten chapter’s of the manuscript.

Slowly, my dream is becoming a reality. I love nothing more than sitting at my desk listening to my writing playlist (oh yeah, I made a playlist – more on that another time!) and typing away at a manuscript.

Good things certainly do come to those who wait 🙂

Have a fab day everyone.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Desperate Acts

Desperate ActsDesperate Acts

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Missuswolf’s StoryLand – dreams really do come true

MONDAY 7th OCTOBER 2013

After being absent for nearly four months, I now write my first ever blog post from my perfect little study. It’s a room that I have always dreamed of (well, apart from a dressie up walk in wardrobe) and finally Missuswolf’s StoryLand is a reality.

There has been good reason for my absence, although I am regretful that I have kept away so long. My Study2last blog post was dated 24th June and four days later we finally moved house! After eight years snuggled in our one bedroom flat, the other half and I managed to snag ourselves a quirky townhouse.

There was the upheaval of the move, a lovely friend’s wedding and then a fabulous holiday that we had planned prior to securing our new house. Since then, It has been project house and despite it being the smallest (and probably what may be classed by some as the ‘least important room in the house’) the study was the first room I decorated.

I finally have my desk perched in front of a window, very Carrie Bradshaw-esque, and if I lean far enough to the left, I can glimpse the sea. Perfection. Although it is painted, one wall is still to be wallpapered with a bookcase theme. A wicker chair is also required to replace the wooden one and my draping net curtain is yet to be hung. Most importantly, I am lacking the essential – a real life bookcase to house those that are currently imprisoned in my work locker, that try to make good their escape every time I open it.

A glimpse into Missuswolf's StoryLand ...

A glimpse into Missuswolf’s StoryLand …

In my mind of perfection, I wanted everything completed before making myself comfortable and writing again. Time and money, as precious as they both are, there never seems to be enough. The pictures went up this weekend and gave me the well deserved kick up the backside to sit down and write.

First steps first; catch up with my blog – hence the post.

Study3Secondly, get editing the first ten chapter’s that have returned back from my editor, Jenny. Yes – that exciting event also happened over the summer – my chick-lit novel, currently titled Little Miss Pooshoe, has returned home after her first solo trip away into the big wide world. And I am yet to get stuck into her.

The clocks go back soon and I am very much a winter home bird, therefore a bit of a seasonal writer. I feel guilty at being inside in the summer when it’s nice and sadly my writing is the first thing to be neglected.

I now have my very own Missuswolf’s StoryLand that will provide the perfect writing sanctuary to retreat to and hibernate in this winter.

Love Missuswolf xxx

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