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Help! I’m being stalked by a book

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re being followed around by a book? It doesn’t seem to matter where you go, it’s there. Like the literary equivalent of an earworm.

Admittedly, at the moment, I am only going to the library, some bookshops and the supermarket so my world is small but still. It is in ALL of those places, sitting there all pert and shiny and pretty, practically calling out from its shelf. “Buy me, Kath, come on, I’m lovely, take me home. You won’t regret it.”

There’s no escape even when I go online. Yesterday, I logged onto amazon UK and it appears in my recommendations four times. FOUR. (Check it out for yourself by clicking on the image to enlarge it.)

Yes, I’m being stalked by a book (Me Before You by JoJo Moyes), which is a pretty clever marketing ploy if you ask me, because I am incredibly close to caving and buying it.

It’s happened before, of course. I’ve seen a book mentioned on Twitter or a blog or on TV or glimpsed it in a bookstore and from that point on, it’s followed me around until I’ve bought it. Okay, so it hasn’t actually got up off the shelf and waddled after me on its little legs, frantically waving its pages, but you know what I mean. Has anyone else ever been stalked by a book or is it happening to you now? If so, what’s the book and did the two of you have a happily-ever-after? I’ll be sure to let you know if Me Before You and I do.

Never Coming Home… The ‘Wispa It …’ Blog Tour

The house was in a kind of mews, not directly on the river. Compact, made of old brick. It was a world away from the backstreets of Hackney where he’d grown up. That was an even longer time ago. Yet another name, and another life. He frowned. He didn’t need stuff like that surfacing. He was American, nowadays – it said so on his passport.

He’d asked the cab to drop him on the opposite site of the  road. Reconnaissance. Even now he didn’t have to knock on that neat, blank front door. Bobby’s words echoed. He would be stirring up something that maybe was better left. She’d made no attempt to contact him.

The paint on the house was shiny; the windows were clean, with boxes on the sills overflowing with spring stuff. He could recognise daffodils but the other things, blue and white, kind of like bells? No idea what they were. Pretty though. Like someone cared. There was a slim tree in a pot beside the door, with more daffodils. Someone had made an effort. Life was going on here.

That’s another taster from the first chapter of Never Coming Home. Keep following the tour for more.

Many thanks to The Nut Press for hosting the second stop on the ‘Wispa it …’ Tour. It’s good to be here, having met Kath and Squizzey at the RNA conference last year.

Almost the first thing anyone asks, after they’ve congratulated you on finally getting a publishing contract, is ‘What is the book about?’ This is the part where the author — me — shuffles, stutters and comes up with a cautious — ‘It’s a romantic thriller.’ Then there’s a couple of seconds of silence, that go on for about ten minutes or so, during which you can see it in their eyes. ‘Yes – but what is the book about.’

As you will have guessed, I’m not that good at what is known as the elevator pitch — the summing up of your carefully crafted masterpiece into half a dozen earth-stopping words that completely encapsulate its brilliance, relevance and the downright deliciousness of your hero. I find it extremely difficult. Some of this is down to natural ineptitude, but some of it is due to the fact that the book is a thriller, with quite a complex plot, AND I DON’T WANT TO GIVE TOO MUCH AWAY!

So, it’s about, um, well …

It’s about a young woman, Kaz, who is getting over the tragedy of losing her five-year-old daughter in a car crash. Six months after the crash, a stranger turns up on her doorstep, with an incredible story. As a result of that story, Kaz begins a quest that takes her to some of the most beautiful parts of Europe, in an attempt to find out what really happened to her daughter. Oh, and the stranger, Devlin, goes with her. And he is seriously hot — And Kaz has sort of noticed that he’s hot … and he seems to feel the same way about her. You get the picture. That’s what the book is about. But sadly that’s not an elevator pitch. It’s a summing up of a book that’s got a twisty plot and an edgy love affair bundled together in 300+ pages.

How they got bundled, I don’t exactly know. I can’t point to a particular thing that gave me inspiration for the book, and I don’t know how the plot got to be the way it did. I admire books by master plotters, like Robert Goddard, but I’m not one of those who do puzzles or cross-words or anything like that. When I stand outside the writing process, I think that I just sit down and write. If anyone asks, I’d say I was a pantser, not a plotter — I certainly get moments when the characters take off and I’m running after them — but I don’t think it can be like that — in fact, I know it’s not, as when I go back to check on something (like when an editor asks a particularly awkward question) I find that I have all sorts of pieces of paper with timetables and timelines, dates of birth and character motivation scribbled on them. As a result of this, I’ve reached the conclusion that I do a lot more plotting than I think I do.

An awful lot of it goes on before I even begin the book. At present, I’m in the very early stages of planning something that might possibly become something else at some stage in the future — precision stuff, you’ll notice. I’m watching the process a little more, and I think that’s what happens. If you write, then you research, and if you research, then you have to be open to what that research tells you. I think a lot of what I do comes out of that. And I do like timelines, slanting ones that go from one corner of the page to the other — Why do they have to do that? I have no idea.

I don’t sit down and write a synopsis first. I don’t do chapter plans. I don’t even write in chapters, except to mark the places where there is a good cliffhanger ending. I don’t fill in those questionnaires where you list your character’s favourite colour, her shoe size, name of childhood pet, etc. For years I felt incredibly guilty about not doing any of those things. But the words didn’t stop falling out of the pen and onto the page. Now, I let them get on with it. Everyone works in the way that is best for them. I think I probably plot a lot, but it’s a bit like the iceberg, most of it is under the water — I let the characters tell me details of who they are when they are ready – and I look up stuff, when I need to, but a lot of general research goes on before I ever get as far as writing.

How did I get here? I really don’t have a clue.

Never Coming Home is Evonne Wareham’s debut novel and is published by ChocLit. For more information, check out Evonne’s Author Website or Blog where she blogs on Wednesdays. She tweets (sometimes) at @evonnewareham. The next stop on the tour will be Love Reading, Love Books on Friday 10th February and you can find details of all the stops on the tour here: The Wispa It… Blog TourNever Coming Home will be available to purchase from 8th March. It will be officially launched in Waterstones in Cardiff from 7pm on Thursday 15th March. If you are in the area, you are very welcome to drop in.

For your chance to win a copy of Never Coming Home and a delicious Wispa chocolate bar to enjoy while reading it, ‘Wispa’ what your guilty reading pleasure is in the comments below, and Squizzey will choose a winner on Monday 13th February. 

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