Please welcome fellow Kindle Scout winner Kathrine Hayton who says: I’m a middle-aged woman who writes instead of having children or pets. I like to murder people but so far I’ve restricted this urge to the page.
What is the background noise when you write and why is it there?
The main background noise is tinnitus. It’s in my right ear, or the part of my brain that thinks it’s coming from my right ear. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. It’s two notes that are discordant with one another. One of them modelled on a cicada and the other on electrical feedback. It’s there because apparently all the little bits that go into making up a body aren’t up to the task of lasting as long as the mothership needs them to. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Any other background noise isn’t down to me—it’ll be caused by the other human beings who coinhabit my planet. Workmates and partners and such. They talk or listen to the radio or watch the telly. I don’t know, I don’t really pay that much attention. If I’m by myself when I’m writing (which is my preference, thank you very much) then I just have the natural sounds of the world and my tinnitus. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
What is your most recent excellent read (book, short story or essay) and why?
The Shape of Snakes by Minette Walters. Take a young housewife and kill a woman she’s not particularly close to right outside her house. Then add a few decades of nobody else caring that the murderer wasn’t caught, toss in a few hidden secrets, and let her grow a burning determination that will ruthlessly use anybody or anything that crosses her path in order to seek justice for the murder victim. Brilliant. I aspire to be that manipulative.
Are you a plotter, pantser or something in between and why?
I’m a pantser. I’ve tried plotting books out, either casually or meticulously, but while I’m writing my characters always do things or reveal traits that cause a massive rift between the manuscript and my carefully laid plans. I’ve stopped bothering now because it’s a waste of time to plot out something that will never happen. So I start out with an idea, a probable resolution, and the character trait or development I want to focus upon. The rest happens as it happens.
When you start reading a book do you always finish it? If not, what causes you to permanently put a book down?
I put books down when I become utterly indifferent to what happens next. Reading starts to become a chore when I’m not connecting with a book on any level and I’m not invested in chores at the best of times, even when they get my house clean. There’s always something else waiting for me on my TBR list. A trail of abandoned Kindle files lies in my wake.
What do you do that you suspect causes your copyeditor to pull her/his hair out?
Place commas anywhere I damn well please. When I’m writing my head insists on pauses that just don’t exist in the same place when I’m read it back later. They especially don’t exist in the same place when I get to the “reading aloud” check. Hilarity ensues. My copyeditor is now bald (but I think that’s a good look for a woman).
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?
My word count tends to be quite stable as I remove a whole lot of words that I don’t need while adding a whole lot of words that I forgot the first time around. I’m not a very “visual” writer so I have a tendency to completely skip any character or scene descriptions, unless they form part of the active scene, or occur in a character’s thought patterns. Even when I concentrate on adding these details I still tread lightly. If you really want to know what my characters look like, you’ll have to rely on your own minds. That’s what they’re there for, people.
How did you develop the idea for your most recent work?
When I was on a hill walk with my partner I was thinking about dying of cancer. As you do. I thought about how the phrase “put your house in order” gets bandied about in these situations and what that might mean. Halfway through working out if my partner would know where my will and insurance documents were stored (under the dresser in my wardrobe, darling) I thought about what would happen if you had something really big to sort out before you died. Something like, say, confessing to a murder. Four months, 95,000 words, and a 30-day Kindle Scout campaign later, and voila—The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton. You’re welcome.
What language error, when you hear or see it, grates on you like the screech of fingernails on a chalkboard?
“I borrowed him money.” No. You didn’t. You lent him money. Lent. LENT! (And maybe that’s why you’re on Judge Judy right now – did you ever think about that?)
What is a piece of writing advice you think is worth sharing?
Everyone has the little voice in the back of your head that alternates between saying how brilliant you are and how much you suck. Be brave and publish when you’re on the brilliant upswing. Let the world tell you if you’ve picked the right voice to champion.
To find more information about me and my writing you can find me wasting investing my time on Twitter https://twitter.com/kathay1973 and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kathay1973 or track me down on my website http://katherinehayton.com. Treat yourself to something nice dark and murderous while you’re there.
Blurb for The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton:
Forty years ago Magdalene Lynton drowned in a slurry. She choked to death as her hands scrabbled for purchase on the smooth concrete walls. A farmhand discovered her bloated body three days later.
Or she didn't. Paul Worthington just confessed to her murder.
Forty years ago Magdalene Lynton died in a dirty shed. He smothered her life along with her cries for help and tossed her defiled corpse into a river when he was done.
Or he didn't.
As Detective Ngaire Blakes investigates the death, she discovers clues that won't piece together with either version. Gaps, inconsistencies, lies. And forty years have eroded more than memories.
Is it possible to uncover the third death of Magdalene Lynton when time has eaten away at the evidence? And will the person responsible let Ngaire live long enough to try?