Please welcome Lexi Revellian, a fellow Kindle Scout winner, as today’s guest author. She says: I’m a London jeweller/silversmith who also writes feel good page-turners. The latest is my Kindle Scout winner, The Trouble with Time, (Time Rats Book 1). (Ed. Note: I didn’t Americanize the English spellings.)
What is the background noise when you write and why is it there?
Ideally, I’d like silence to write in. I have a fantasy of a house with a walled garden in the middle of a forest, where I and the blank page wrestle alone. In fact, I write in my jewellery workshop in London, so the background noise is traffic, and occasionally my neighbours. I find music distracting, although I often have tracks I associate with the current novel.
What is your most recent excellent read (book, short story or essay) and why?
My fellow Kindle Scout winner, Janette Rallison’s The Girl Who Heard Demons. The heroine is cursed/blessed with the ability to hear demons. Being a good person, she feels compelled to help people when the demons have revealed their problems, and this has earned her a reputation for being weird. At her new school, she is determined to lie low and not interfere again. But then she meets Levi, an attractive fellow student, whose life is in danger . . . A page-turner with humour, wit and romance.
Are you a plotter, pantser or something in between and why?
I decide on the initial situation and hero/heroine, and have an idea of what the end will be (this may change). I make masses of notes about the characters and what may happen, then start writing, making it up as I go along, following the characters. The story often turns out quite differently from what I expected. This is a scary way to write a book. I envy Dickens who planned out every chapter in advance.
When you start reading a book do you always finish it? If not, what causes you to permanently put a book down?
I used to. When I was nineteen I plodded through the whole of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, a dreadful novel I would turn shuddering away from now. I’ve got less tolerant. Unforgivable flaws include: characters who do something no real person ever would, just because the plot requires it; a dislikeable protagonist who is supposed to be sympathetic; lack of humour.
What do you do that you suspect causes your copyeditor to pull her/his hair out?
I like semi colons an awful lot more than most copyeditors do. They don’t like brackets, either, preferring dashes. There are fashions in punctuation, like everything else; but as long as punctuation is efficiently informing the reader, it’s doing its job.
When you compare your first draft to your final draft, do you net add words or subtract words? In general, what is it that you add or subtract between first and final draft?
I write concisely. I tweak as I go, not leaving a chapter until I’m happy with it, adding in thoughts, settings, weather, occasionally whole scenes, moving phrases and sentences around. By the time I reach the end, the book is pretty much ready to publish.
What language error, when you hear or see it, grates on you like the screech of fingernails on a chalkboard?
Do I have to settle for one? I hate the use of ‘they’ and ‘their’ to refer to a single person, especially when the sex of the person is known. “Every schoolgirl has THEIR own locker” – no, no! “Every schoolgirl has HER own locker”. Also nerve-racked with a ‘w’, because the expression derives from the torture rack. And muddle-headed political correctness that calls actresses actors, and female craftsmen craftswomen. What’s going on there?
Name three writers from whom you have drawn inspiration and tell us why.
Jane Austen: she’s the best. You’d recognize one of her characters if you met him in real life. And she’s witty.
Mary Renault: I read my first of her books, The Bull from the Sea, when I was twelve, and was entranced. I’m a fan. Her novels are riveting, entertaining, and brilliantly written. I picked up my semi colons from her.
Dick Francis: his early novels are great page turners. Like many of his readers, I’ve stayed up till the small hours to finish them. That’s a fantastic quality in a book, which I try to emulate. I intended my novel, Remix, to be like a Dick Francis without the horses. It has rocking horses instead.
What is a piece of writing advice you think is worth sharing?
Most writing ‘rules’ can be broken. There is only one real writing rule – Never Bore The Reader.
Here’s a bit of a blurb for The Trouble with Time (Time Rats Book 1)
It’s 2045. Jace Carnady works for the Time Police, dedicated to the prevention of timecrime. Life is good; he loves his girlfriend and enjoys his work. But when the team get wind of a rogue time machine and fail to find it, Jace suspects one of his colleagues, and his life begins to unravel . . . In 2015, Floss Dryden is snatched from her own time and taken to the future – but will this really prevent the extinction of humanity?