Sunday, 2 April 2017

The Write Stuff with... Eve Seymour

Today it's my pleasure to be hosting the penultimate stop on the blog tour for Eve Seymour's latest novel Vixenhead which is out now as an eBook.  Eve has written a piece talking about Ideas and Inspiration which I hope you'll enjoy reading.

Coming up with a premise for a novel is truly difficult.  It’s dead easy to dream up a tried and tested plot line (even if you believe it to be the best thing since the world’s creation), but crafting something original requires monumental brainpower.  In my experience, the more you try to force it, the more clich├ęd the result.  It’s no wonder that there’s a saying about only seven identifiable plot lines.  The way in which a plot is executed is what makes a story unique.  So how do I go about it?  

I’m a news junkie, the more offbeat the story the better.  I also enjoy playing around with the ‘what if’ principle.  Cobble those two together, and you can usually hit on something, but whether or not a complete story will emerge is quite a different matter.  I generally land my best ideas when I’m not actively courting them.  In other words, I need to do anything but think about stories, characters and plot.  Ironing provides great displacement activity.  Perhaps it’s because I dislike it so much that my mind desperately seeks a way out.  With an iron in one mitt, my free hand is usually in reach of a notebook.  Playing the piano, or slogging up a down a swimming pool has the same effect, although obviously without paper and pen nearby!   I used to carry around a Dictaphone to record ideas but, aside from feeling rather self-conscious, I’d find that my random, ‘off the top of my head’ thoughts were garbled if not downright useless.   I’ve been known to scribble on car park tickets, receipts and my own skin.  Now, I try to be prepared and carry a notebook in my handbag.  But you still need that germ of an idea to start with.

Some years ago, an agent suggested I read ‘Story’ by Robert McKee, an American screenplay writer and creative writing instructor.  He has his detractors, but I’m a committed fan.  He talks eloquently about writer’s block, which can also apply to ‘I can’t think of a story to write.’  In response to this, and I’m paraphrasing, he says something like:  ‘Talent doesn’t desert you.  You just stopped feeding it.’  By this, he means, you need to experience life.  For this, I intuit:  hanging out with friends, going for a walk, swim, whatever floats your proverbial boat.  Pick a subject in your local library (if you still have one) and delve into a subject that interests but know little about.  In short, live a little and bring all your senses to bear.  You don’t need to lead an exciting life to be a writer.  It helps, of course, if you have a unique skill, but it’s not essential.  Under the auspices of ‘feeding my talent’, I’ve hitched rides in helicopters, (a terrific way to experience raw fear)  ‘shot’ in a simulated training exercise with firearms officers (a brilliant way to engender an adrenalin rush so strong it makes you feel sick) and spoken to people in very different walks of life to mine.  All of the above came about through me picking up phones, putting the word out and generally asking for help.  And don’t run away with the idea that I’m heavily connected.  When I started out I never knew a ‘somebody’ who knew somebody else.  I didn’t even know any writers.  By simply applying a direct, ‘Can you help me’ approach, I discovered that, nine times out of ten, it works because most people, who are passionate about what they do, are only too happy to talk.  My job is purely to listen.  Quite a few of my ideas result from a chance remark during one of these encounters.   Throughout, I made another discovery.  I’m drawn more heavily to the dark side of human nature, the weird and the strange, which probably accounts for why I lean most towards crime and psychological thriller.   

Website: http://www.evseymour.co.uk
Twitter: @EveSeymour

Somewhere in Vixenhead, I’m certain the truth lies…

A sudden disappearance…

When Roz Outlaw's partner Tom mysteriously vanishes, she knows his life is in danger. Tom has been distracted lately, afraid, as though he is being hunted…

A desperate search…

With the police showing little interest Roz knows it falls to her to find Tom. But as Tom's secrets are uncovered nothing can prepare Roz for the dark lies and twisted truths she finds. She thought she loved Tom, but quickly realises she has been living with a stranger – a man with murder in his past.

A house of evil.

The key to unlocking Tom's past lies in his childhood home – Vixenhead. A house of wickedness that keeps its secrets well hidden. Can Roz find Tom before it's too late or will the evil within Vixenhead claim her too…

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