Natalie James reflects on writing in 2012

[1] Do you still write?

I do, but not the genre I was writing in the beginning of 2012.  I’ve moved from women’s fiction to thriller. It was a surprise to me to be honest.  Although, I’m an eclectic reader, I do read a lot of women’s fiction and assumed it was my ‘spiritual home’, but after some bugging from a fellow Nomad, and a voice that wouldn’t leave me here I am.  Well, it’s either a character voice or schizophrenia, I’m choosing to go with a character voice.

[2] How has your writing changed in 2012? 2012-2013

My style has changed completely, it had to for the genre, but I feel that I’ve matured as a writer.  My main POV is a man; a bolshy and sexually frustrated one, and without my experience and confidence in my new style and genre I wouldn’t be able to pull it off.  A few things have contributed to the changes in my writing and by far one of the biggest is my fellow Nomads.

[3] Have your plans for how you wish to be published/agented changed?

Not at present, I still plan to try the traditional route.  I need to get my work to a standard where it can be sent out first which is my biggest challenge.

[4] Have you ditched any novels/WIP and why?

Yes, in 2012 I ditched CB&S.  I still love the idea of writing a military themed romance at some point, but CB&S wasn’t to be.  I tried to solve its problems, but following feedback from the Festival of Writing I realised my characters weren’t strong enough, and that wasn’t direct feedback it’s an opinion I’ve taken after digesting their feedback.

[5] What was your favourite book of 2012? Me Before You

Jojo Moyes – Me Before You

It was the book that immediately sprung to mind.  A curious choice I know when I’ve changed my genre of writing, but I think everyone can take something from this book.  I can’t say too much without ruining it, but the subject matter alone speaks volumes about daring to push the boundaries of writing.

[6] What plans do you have for 2013?

I plan to finish BOD, my medical thriller. At the moment I need to plan a few more things out before I can just write, but I’m getting there with the sticking point.

[7] Which writing related events are you attending in 2013?

I’m only committed to attending CRIMEFEST at present.  I’m hoping to attend Get Writing, but can’t guarantee it  at the moment, nor can I commit to the Festival of Writing.

I really cannot wait to attend CRIMEFEST the line up looks amazing, and I’m prepared to learn and absorb all I can.  The buzz following a writing event is always something I wish I could bottle and swig from whenever I feel I’ve strayed from the writing path.

[8] Have any events in 2012 influenced your writing and if so why?

At the Festival of Writing many writers spoke about their writing methods, this was also backed up at a talk on Crime Writing I attended (with some fellow Nomads), and how their creativity flowed better by hand writing.  I set to hand writing BOD, and I truly believe it’s an excellent method for me, but then I got acute tendonitis/carpal tunnel syndrome (they haven’t made their minds up yet), and it killed my writing buzz, also it inflames so easily it’s ridiculous.

What I can take from the Festival of Writing and from showing my fellow crime/thriller Nomads my work, is that I have talent, the biggest revelation to me of 2012.  I need to believe in myself and have the confidence to write what ever I want to write.  Admittedly, my grammar needs work, but it is something I’m working on, and I’m not going to let it hold me back in pursuing my dreams.