It is my pleasure to share a guest post from author Stephen Leather, who shares his answer to my question...
ELF: What is your writing process?
SL: I’ve never been one for writing in silence – in fact I often do my best work as I sit in airport lounges waiting for a flight. When I’m working at home you’ll find me in front of the TV with my Mac on a coffee table. I watch TV as I write and always have done. I did most of my homework at school and university with the TV on, and most of my working life was spent in busy newspaper offices so I need a buzz around me as I write. Working with the TV on helps when I need to describe a character’s clothing and the credits are always a good source of names! I drink a cup of coffee pretty much every half hour and my cat Peanut Butter sits on the sofa next to me to keep me company.
Early on in a book I probably write about a thousand words a day, and I do it haphazardly, writing the scenes that I have in my head no matter where in the book they are! It’s not unusual for me to start writing scenes that eventually appear right at the end of the book! After about a month of doing that I become more methodical and start at the beginning and link in the scenes I have already written. At that point I am probably writing fifteen hundred words a day.
Readers say that I’m very productive, but if you think about it, 1,000 words a day is more then 350,000 words a year, which is four novels, pretty much. So it seems to me that a writer producing just one book a year isn’t really trying!
When I first began writing full time, publishers generally only wanted one book a year from a writer. They would publish in hardback – often a year after delivery – then the following year they would publish that book as a paperback, along with a new hardback. There are still a lot of writers who work that way.
But eBooks have changed all that and now readers seem to prefer – even expect – a writer to be more prolific. So while I write one Spider Shepherd novel for my publisher each year, I also self-publish books, such as the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series.
As I near the end my word count starts to accelerate and over the last ten days I probably write thirty thousand words! I always think of it as a roller coaster, with a long lead up followed by a dash to the finish! It’s the part of writing that I really enjoy, where I am so caught up in the writing that the real world no longer seems to exist. It’s sometimes a shock to reach the end and to jerk back into reality. But that doesn’t last for long because I’m soon on to the next one, and the roller coaster begins again!
New York Night
by Stephen Leather
by Stephen Leather
Teenagers are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line. New York Night is the seventh novel in the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series.
The yellow cab driver was from Sierra Leone originally and during the drive he told Dee-anne how his family had been hacked to death by teenagers with machetes and that he had been lucky to escape with his life. Dee-anne had listened to the man’s story and had nodded and made encouraging noises at the right places but there was something definitely off about what the man was saying. It sounded too rehearsed as if he’d gone over it time and time again to make sure it had the ring of authenticity. Her fingers touched his as she handed over the fare and she instantly knew the truth. The man had been one of the attackers, he had killed and mutilated hundreds of men, women and children and had used the money he had stolen from his victims to pay for his passage to the United States.
‘I know what you did, Emmanuel,’ she said as she took her change. ‘You should keep up the good work here in America, Get yourself a big knife and have some fun.’
His mouth opened and he nodded slowly. ‘I will, mistress’ he said.
‘Enjoy yourself,’ said Dee-anne. She climbed out of the taxi and slammed the door.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country's most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world.
Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London's Burning, The Knock and the BBC's Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV. You can find out more from his website and you can follow him on Twitter
Jack Nightingale has his own website
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