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Archive for April 21st, 2016

Rosie Claverton, December 2013

Rosie Claverton, December 2013

Rosie Claverton is a screenwriter and novelist. She grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home, where she lives with her journalist husband and pet hedgehog.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Captcha Thief. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?  

A: Captcha Thief is the third novel of The Amy Lane Mysteries, which features agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane and streetwise ex-con Jason Carr as they fight crime in Cardiff. In this book, they are investigating a break-in at the National Museum of Wales, where a security guard has been murdered and a priceless Impressionist painting stolen.

Q: What do you think makes a good mystery? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: For me, there is only one thing that is sacrosanct – a good mystery must be solvable by the reader. I hate to have a surprise murderer introduced right at the end. It can be extremely difficult to solve, but it should be possible.

Apart from that, I look for great characters, people I want to spend time with – even if only because I love to hate them! If they have the sticking power for several books, even better. I also hate to be blinded by science. All the computer wizardry Amy works is theoretically possible, but I’ve been recently burned by purported mysteries where advanced too-futuristic science, time travel and the supernatural have come out of nowhere to explain the ending. If that’s going to be a feature of the book, I want to know from the blurb, not in Chapter 50.

CaptchaThief-Cover-HighRes.jpgQ: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: With Captcha Thief, I had planned out the bare bones of the plot and figured out the murderer and their motivations – but something wasn’t hanging together properly at the midpoint. I was getting bored with the story, and I couldn’t work out why. So I rejigged some of the characters, changed the culprit’s characteristics and gave them an entirely different motive. Once that was all in place, the writing of the book flowed much better towards its conclusion.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: Before I wrote Binary Witness, I wrote some brief character biographies for both Amy and Jason to get a feel for them – everything from favourite TV shows and best friends to their worst fear and how they react in a crisis.

 

For Amy, it was also important to be clear about her mental health problems and how they affected her. As a psychiatrist, I also wanted to be certain in my mind about things like diagnosis and what it would take to change things for her – if that was even possible. With Jason, it was more about getting the prison particulars right, and how that experience had forged him. I also knew family would be really vital to both of them, with Amy’s difficult relationships and Jason’s strong ones.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: The most important thing for an antagonist is motivation. Just like a protagonist, they have to pursue goals and act in a way that they think is the best thing to do, for whatever gain. In Binary Witness, my serial killer was fuelled by delusional love, yet in Code Runner, I had a character who wanted to build a criminal empire, but also just enjoyed playing with people. I spend as much time constructing a new antagonist as I did with my protagonists originally.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: I come from a screenwriting background, so I’ve developed a good understanding of pacing and story beats. When I’m planning the plot, I know how the character arcs have to swing – from a false victory to an “all is lost” moment. I used Save the Cat, a practical screenwriting book, as a guide to the basic Hollywood story structure and it’s also served me well in novels.

In the edit, I go through each chapter listing the main events, the character point-of-view, and the conflict. If the chapter is lacking in conflict or nothing really happens, I try to cut it or combine it with another to keep the narrative moving. An emotional scene without action can still have conflict, and can allow the reader space to breathe with the characters.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: Cardiff is definitely the third protagonist in The Amy Lane Mysteries. When I started writing the series, I was living away from my beloved city, though I had been resident there for five years. That really helped me bring the place to life with words, because I missed it so much. Google Earth is also my best friend – I planned several chases and incredible journeys with that resource.

With Captcha Thief, I had the advantage of having taken that particular journey from Cardiff to Bangor and remembering a lot of features, such as stopping at the natural waypoint of Rhayader in mid-Wales and crossing the misty mountains beside beautiful, yet freezing lakes and reservoirs. Personal experience always enhances description. I’ve never visited Glasgow, so I asked my Glaswegian friend to describe for me the walk between two points – it gave the final sequence a very local and immersive flavour.

I have to work hard at description, as it doesn’t come naturally to me. The way I work on it is to think of all five senses and then what they might invoke in the character. Does the smell of fried chicken remind Jason he’s hungry, or of a very specific moment with his best friend and a stolen car?

 

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: My favourite theme to explore is identity. In Captcha Thief, this primarily came through with the villain of the piece. That person is fighting a number of conflicting pulls on them, trying to make something right that probably can’t be fixed.

The other major theme of this novel, coming after “letting someone in” for Binary Witness and “the past is never over” for Code Runner, was definitely “pride comes before a fall”. Particularly for Amy, it was important to see her getting much stronger and capable as an independent person, and then starting to erode at those certainties.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: Having an editor you can trust is the most important part of the edit. I’ve had the same editor in Deb Nemeth throughout the series, and I know I can rely on her to give good notes. A good note resonates with you when you read it, twinging something that you suspected yourself but hadn’t quite confronted in the first draft. I learned in screenwriting that you don’t always have to take a note, but you do have to address the reason someone gave it – for example, “the plot loses pace here, so you should add an explosion”. You have to pick up the pace but things don’t necessarily have to explode.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: In the first instance, you have to define success for yourself. Is it selling 100,000 copies or is it receiving an email from one devout reader who really took your novel to heart? For series novelists, I think success is measured by how many people come back for more, or tell their friends, or eagerly Tweet at you asking when your next book is out. Of course, it’s also nice to get good reviews and fat royalty cheques, but it’s reader engagement that I love most of all.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: It’s a job, at the end of the day. I bristle when people suggest my writing is a hobby, because it’s definitely a career that involves development and investment as much as my parallel career in medicine. It gives pleasure and reward to the writer without making it any less like hard work!

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: Apart from Save the Cat, which I think all storytellers should read – or the more in-depth Story by Robert McKee or The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell – my number one recommendation would be to read voraciously. Read thoroughly within your genre, and expand your mind outside it. Read as many classics as you can stomach, and also watch television and movies. Expose yourself to as many varied ways of storytelling as you possibly can. This is by far the best education.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: Patience is your friend. The more novels you write, the better you will get at them. I won’t say it gets easier, but you know yourself better. I’ve learned that I always get bogged down in the middle and hate the thing and want to throw my laptop out the window. Yet this too shall pass.

 

 

 

 

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Title: SUPER SIZED SUCCESS: 9 Steps to Maximum Riches
in Minimum Time
Author: Linda Zander, The Success Packager
Publisher: MAXAR Press
Pages: 138
Genre: Non-Fiction: Success/Personal Development/Self-Help/Business
& Money
The only Get Rich Quick method
that puts VALUES before profit as the non-negotiable to achieving lasting
riches in all areas of ones’ life. 
Super Sized Success delivers a
revolutionary new definition of success never shared before… “Success
is a balanced achievement of Wealth and Well-Being through consistently living
the Truth of one’s own grace inspired values.”  
Multi-Millionaire
Author, Linda Zander, unveils the shocking Truth about Financial Wealth…that
without relentlessly living the Truth of ones’ own values, financial success
alone, simply put, cannot last nor make you happy.
Inside the pages of this book you will find practical, easy to use and launch
9-Fail Proof Steps that will make you so mentally, physically, intellectually,
financially, and spiritually potent that you become Super-N​aturally
driven to excel at the highest possible levels of human achievement. Powerful
real-life stories, including those from the author’s own life, provide the
reader with living proof that once one aligns their thoughts, actions, and
character to reflect the highest Truth of their values, they have the unending
power to become Wealthy, Healthy and Happy​.

Praise for SUPER SIZED SUCCESS: 9 Steps to Maximum Riches in Minimum
Time
:

“A brilliant new formula for achieving success!”
–Judith Williamson, Director of Education , Napoleon
Hill World Learning
Center

For More Information

  • SUPER SIZED SUCCESS: 9
    Steps to Maximum Riches in Minimum Time is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB
    Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

I was and still am an “adult child of an
alcoholic.” I grew up in an alcoholic home with all its crazy drama. The
instability taught me not to trust. I became excessively independent. I felt
that if I didn’t take care of myself, nobody would. I didn’t realize that by
being so obsessively independent I was pushing away people and especially God.
If I couldn’t trust anybody other than myself, how could I trust God?
Once I realized I didn’t own cocaine, but it
owned me, I became determined to beat the beast on my own. I went to AA, but in
spite of going to meetings, I couldn’t stay sober or learn to let go and let
anyone in, much less God. I kept thinking I could do it on my own. I kept
slipping back to using in spite of truly wanting to conquer my addiction. I
couldn’t understand why I couldn’t beat this thing on my own! I literally had a
100 percent success rate of doing everything on my own without help from
anyone! In my determination to fight this thing that had control over me, I
went to a hospital out-patient program, got out, and slipped again.
Determination was the driver of my existence. I checked myself into the Betty
Ford Center, and that’s when the miracles started to happen…and then along came
Dorothy.
Dorothy was the director of the chemical
dependency unit of a prominent hospital, and she signed on to be the after-care
therapist for our group therapy meetings. I went to a handful of group meetings
and slipped again. What was I doing wrong? I went to group the very next night
after using and confessed. Dorothy asked me to stay after the group session
ended. She knew how badly I was trying and how badly I wanted to overcome this
obstacle in my life. But she also knew my real problem…the underlying one that
was preventing me from being successful.
She sat across from me, took my hands in hers,
looked directly into my eyes, and said:
“Linda, do you want to get sober for once and for all?” 
“Yes!” I said.
“Are you willing to go to any lengths to get
sober?”
“Absolutely!”
“Okay, good. You will have to put your faith and
trust in me. If you will put your trust in me and follow my directions, I give
you my personal promise that you will succeed in getting and staying sober.
Will you trust me now?” 
It was a gigantic jumping-off point for me. I
looked at her and paused, and my mind was wildly racing. “Why is she doing
this?”  “What does she have to gain?”
“Why should I trust her?” …and then: “What do I have to lose?” 
In a flash, I realized this beautiful,
intelligent, extremely busy woman had zero to personally gain from helping me
out. She had no ulterior motive other than to help me slay the beast for once
and for all. Right then, I can honestly say, I came to believe in a Source
outside of myself for the very first time in my life. 
In letting go and letting Dorothy in, I first
learned to trust another human being, and then after that, I learned to put my
trust in God. I am now clean and sober for over twenty-six years, thanks to
Dorothy. I got and stayed sober from that very moment of our conversation. I
represent a very small percentage of addicts who get and stay sober. Dorothy
got me sober, and I stayed sober because through that relationship and what it
taught me, a gateway to God opened up that I otherwise wouldn’t have found.
Napoleon Hill teaches the power of creating what he calls “Mastermind
Alliances,” which he defines as “an alliance of two or more minds working in
perfect harmony for the attainment of a common, definite objective.” Dorothy
was the first mastermind alliance in my life, and the one that saved me.
Learning to put faith and trust in someone other than just myself was the
one-way ticket to learning that within every adversity is great opportunity and
benefit waiting to be seized.
You see, Dorothy already knew
the power of mastermind alliances, and her greatest mastermind alliance was
with God. I came to know Dorothy, and then I came to know God. God is now the
greatest mastermind alliance in my life, too. He is the director of our
copartnership, and I have found great personal power and contentment in placing
my trust in him. 

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About the Author

 

Linda Zander, The Success Packager, is a serial
entrepreneur, self-made multimillionaire, success expert, coach, and
award-winning amateur athlete.  She is a
natural visionary and intuitive who delivers the next-generation model of
success that is absolutely necessary for attaining success amid today’s global
challenges.  She has a proven track
record of delivering success both for herself, individuals and Corporations
regardless of extreme personal or business challenges. She lives in Malibu,
California.
For
More Information

 

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