Please welcome Dark Sider Nicole Murphy to Magic Thursday this week! Today Nicole shares how she sees writing as a kind of magic (no argument from me there!) and there is also an excerpt from her latest release, Loving the Prince. Nicole is also generously giving away an e-copy of Loving the Prince to one lucky commenter on this post :-)
Nicole also writes contemporary romance as Elizabeth Dunk for Escape Publishing.
Over to you, Nicole!
Writing is a kind of magic. Sure, there are skills involved, and you can learn how to be better at it, but then there’s that indefinable ‘something’ that leaps off some pages, and doesn’t leap off others. If we writers could capture and bottle that ‘something’, we’d all be JK Rowling.
The problem is that it’s hard to pinpoint why some words work, and others don’t. For example, I have a theory that it’s important to FEEL what you’re writing. If it’s a sad scene, you should be sad. If it’s an erotic scene, you should be turned on. When that happens, it’s like your feelings flow out of your fingers and onto the page. You can study the vocab, the sentence structure, and not really find anything different to other writing, yet people react to it.
And yet, there are days when I don’t want to write, and I force myself to. The writing that comes out at those times can be very workmanlike and feel uninspired when I’m doing it. But on reading back, the simplicity and strength of words written when I wasn’t trying to be anything shines through.
Some people will say it’s about your characterisation. When the reader falls in love (or even falls in hate) with a character, they’re dragged into the story because they need to know what it going to happen.
Some will say it’s about the world building – creating a space for a reader that’s safe, but is also unique and interesting and enables them to escape their ordinary lives.
Some will say it’s the plot and it needs to be exciting and page turning and you need to build and release tension at just the right time to keep the reader with you.
Maybe it’s all three together? Or maybe the simple fact is that no one knows why readers cleave to some books and not to others.
In the end, all we writers can do is a write a book that we love. That we enjoy. That sucks us in and takes us away. That we are proud of. And then send it out into the world and hope like hell that other people feel the same way.
Whatever genre you write – every writer believes in magic.
Excerpt from ‘Loving the Prince’, Nicole’s latest publication.
Her foot hit something and then she was falling.
Two hands grabbed her, wrapping around her torso and hauling her up. She was aware of her body being pressed against another, her feet off the ground. Then she was put down and the hands that had saved her took hold of her shoulders.
‘Cassandra. Are you all right?’
Of course, Cassandra thought as she looked up into Kernan’s dark eyes. It was symptomatic of how her life was going that it would be he that caught her and stopped her falling.
‘Fine.’ She pulled out of his grasp and turned to see what she had tripped over. Nothing. Oh Peace, how embarrassing. ‘Sorry about that. I’ve got a lot on my mind.’
‘You have nothing to apologise for. Hera explained last night how stressful things are at work.’
They stood and stared at each other and Cassandra wished she knew what to do about the situation Hera was dragging her into.
‘Well, I’d better keep going,’ she said cheerfully.
‘Actually, I was hoping we could get a drink.’
The surprising announcement made Cassandra’s stomach clench. ‘Really?’
‘Hera speaks very highly of you and I’d like to get to know her family better.’
‘Oh, right.’ Of course. Hera. Cassandra quickly considered and discarded a number of reasons to say no. She had no option. ‘Sure.’
They went to a cafe near the running track. Both ordered water, and sat under a shady tree.
‘So, Hera tells me you report directly to her at the RBMC,’ Kernan said. Cassandra was glad she hadn’t yet taken a sip of her drink — she would have spat it all over him.
‘Really?’ The next time she saw Hera, she was going to kill her, family unity be damned.
‘Are all the board members working for the company, or is just Hera who’s that dedicated?’
‘Oh, Hera’s very unique.’ And very, very dead.
‘She certainly is.’ Kernan’s lips twisted, a little, but it was the first glimpse of happiness he’d shown.
Great. He really did care about Hera. Fan-bloody-tastic.
Cassandra decided it was time to get him off the topic of Hera. ‘How long have you been in Rica? Last I heard you were stationed in Angonia.’
There was a sudden intensity in Kernan’s gaze that was discomforting. ‘You know about me?’
‘I don’t have the stripe, or the implant, but I graduated security. In fact, I was in the audience during your speech after the Haityn incident.’
To Cassandra’s astonishment, Kernan blushed.
‘Just doing my job,’ he murmured.
‘A very good job,’ Cassandra said. ‘You ended up on the King of Angonia’s personal guard after that. So why are you back in Rica?’ As she asked the question, an answer came to mind.
Hera. Her cousin had accompanied Venus to the last planetarium meeting. Undoubtedly, that was where she’d met Kernan and he’d been so infatuated, he’d resigned his commission and followed her home.
‘I want to work for the RBMC.’
Cassandra blinked. ‘Really?’ How many times had she said that today? What had happened to her vocabulary?
‘It’s been my dream, since I was a boy. Everything I’ve done has been aimed at getting to the top of my profession, so I can get the best, most secure job possible at the company.’
‘And then what?’
Kernan grinned and it was such an anomaly, and such a great smile that Cassandra’s heart skipped a beat. ‘I don’t think we know each other well enough to divulge all my secrets.’
‘Then why tell me what you have?’
‘Because that’s no secret. Hera knows it and would undoubtedly tell you sooner or later. I’m surprised she hasn’t already started bugging you to help me get a job.’
That’s because she doesn’t want you working at the RBMC, Cassandra thought. If you do, you’ll find out she doesn’t. ‘And so I find out why you really wanted to chat to me today.’
Kernan reared back from her as though she’d pulled a blaster on him. ‘Peace, no. In fact, please don’t do anything to help me get a job. If I can’t get it on my own merits, I don’t want it.’
It wouldn’t have been the first time someone asked her to do a favour, but this was absolutely the first time someone had forbidden her from doing so. ‘I promise. No help at all. If someone asks, I’ll bad mouth you as much as I can. Entirely your own merit.’
‘Well, you don’t have to go that far.’
‘Oh, it would be my pleasure.’
Kernan looked at her, then shook his head. ‘Hera never mentioned you have a diabolical sense of humour.’
‘That’s because Hera doesn’t think I’m that funny.’ What was her cousin going to do when Kernan did get a job at the company? Cassandra had no doubt he would.
‘I have to go.’ She stood and Kernan did too. Nice manners. Her father would be impressed. ‘Best of luck on the job hunt.’
‘Thanks. Try to keep your attention on the track next time.’ He held out his hand.
Cassandra looked at it and with trepidation reached out and took it.
Energy zipped up her arm. His palm was calloused from years of holding a blaster and his grip was firm but his fingertips were gentle on the back of her hand. What she wouldn’t give to feel his touch all over her body.
‘Bye.’ She reefed her hand from his and for the second time in their acquaintance, beat a hasty retreat from his presence.
Once out of his sight, she slowed and sighed. Dammit, why did she keep doing that? If she weren’t careful, he’d think her a complete idiot.
Not that he’d think of her at all. Stupid, Cassandra, she chided herself. Stupid.
She kept up the chant all the way home.
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Loving-Prince-Jorda-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00LGDXIBI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1406420445&sr=1-1&keywords=9780857991737
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/loving-the-prince-nicole-murphy/1119917542?ean=9780857991737&isbn=9780857991737&itm=1&usri=9780857991737
Google Store https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Nicole_Murphy_Loving_The_Prince?id=p9rwAwAAQBAJ
Don't forget to leave a comment for Nicole to be in with a chance of winning the giveaway!