Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Road to Publication - Fiona Cummins

Today, I'm delighted to be welcoming Fiona Cummins, bestselling author of Rattle to my blog to share her road to publication.

Image result for fiona cummins

Do you find that inspiration strikes you in specific places or do ideas come to you everywhere? 

Ideas come from everywhere and anywhere. I might overhear a conversation, or read something that sparks the kernel of an idea, or witness an argument or an accident. I plunder my own life for things that have happened to me, or an idea might spring from a late-night drinking session with a friend. I once got into a heated exchange at a gig with a stranger, and his put-down was brilliant. It stung at the time, but I later jotted it down to use in a book.

What do you usually do after you get the first spark of a fresh idea, is it straight to the computer to write the first chapter or straight to a notebook to start planning?

I think about it for a while, to see if the central conceit is strong enough, and whether there is enough to sustain a novel-length piece of fiction. I might jot down a few ideas. Mostly, though, I practise writing the first line in my head. I don't start a new book until I'm happy with that.

How long does your first draft usually take to write?

I tend not to think in drafts. I'm not a writer who bashes out a first draft in six weeks. I try to edit as I go along, mainly because I hate editing with a passion (although Trisha Jackson, my editor at Pan Macmillan, is fantastic). I guess it takes me about a year to eighteen months to complete a book that I'm proud of. I aim to turn in as polished a manuscript as possible.

Do you celebrate when you finish your first draft and if so how?

Cold beer. Loud music. 

Is it straight to editing or do you leave your manuscript a while before you pick up the red pen? 

I'll leave it for a bit (depending on how tight my deadlines are) and then I'll reread. My agent will have read it by this point, and my editor too. Then it's back to work.

How long do you spend editing before your book is handed over the printers?

How long is a piece of string? With Rattle it was a few months. The Collector didn't need as much editing.

At what point, prior to publication do you find the nerves start to kick in or do you not get nervous in the approach to publication? 

I am always nervous, and I don't think that will ever change. Writing novels is very exposing because everyone has an opinion. You quickly discover that you cannot appeal to everyone's tastes. But readers who have paid good money for your work are entitled to expect a quality piece of fiction. All you can do is write the best book you can at a given time in your life.

How does it feel when the early reviews start to come in? 

Depends on the reviews. But it is ALWAYS fantastic when a reviewer you respect has something nice to say. And it is particularly encouraging when the first reviews are positive. When the proofs of Rattle went out, I was so churned up inside I could barely eat or drink. But Karen Sullivan from Orenda sent me the loveliest message – it was the first feedback I'd received – and I began to relax a little after that.

How long do you wait after finishing your book before starting on your next project? 

I'm always thinking about my next book. I'm writing Book Three at the moment, but I've got an idea for Book Four that is marinating in the back of mind. I'll probably give myself a month or so to clear my head, but there's always work to be done – copy edits on the most recent book, or on foreign editions; conversations about marketing; interviews and blog pieces to write; heading off to crime festivals to get drunk to appear on panels and meet readers, booksellers, bloggers and other authors...

And finally how do you celebrate publication day? 

Rattle's publication day fell on my daughter's seventh birthday, so I made sure it was all about her. We went out for lunch AND dinner. I didn't feel cheated, though, as I'd had my launch two nights previously at my local independent book store before heading to my favourite bar where I'd hired a band to play until late. It was the best night. I'm hoping to do something similar for the launch of The Collector.

Thank you so much, Fiona for taking the time to answer my questions. You can purchase her debut book Rattle by clicking HERE

You can follow Fiona on Twitter here: @FionaAnnCummins

Rattle: A serial killer thriller that will hook you from the start by [Cummins, Fiona]


A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he's just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family's macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey's father and Ella Fitroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London's Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it's also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

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