Anne Barwell, a favorite at my blog, is back today, speaking of what she does when she’s between books. She also has left us with a wonderful excerpt from her book Winter Duet.
Monday Meets Guest: Anne Barwell
Thanks for the invitation, Brynn, to come back and blog at yours. It’s a pleasure to visit your site again.
A question I have been asked—more than once—when I mention I’m almost ready to submit a book, is: what are you going to do between books? Take some time off?
Part of me thinks: I wish! And the other can’t imagine going for more than a few days without writing. It’s a scary thought.
Usually when I finish writing one story, I’m either already part way through another one, or thinking about approaching deadlines for the next book I want to write, or both. I do, however, tidy my desk/dining room table so that all my notes connected with the finished book are put away in its box. I have boxes for all my series, and one for standalones, so that if I ever want to revisit the story or its characters I can find the information. It’s handy for edits too, as I often print out my character specs and the outline of the story and scribble all over them.
And of course, there are notebooks for each series, although they tend to stick around a bit, as the characters attempt to throw plot bunnies for future stories my way.
I also find physically tidying away notes from one story helps me mentally move onto the next one. Or as is the case this time around, back to a story that I’ve already half way written and need to finish by the end of October. Often I’m not only writing a different story, but switching genres too.
For example, the story completed this week is a contemporary romance which I co-wrote with Lou Sylvre. It’s called Sunset at Pencarrow and is set locally in Wellington and the Hutt Valley. The one I’m half way through is Comes a Horseman which is the third book in my WWII Echoes Rising series, so I’m not only switching genres, but also location and time period as it’s set in France in 1944.
I must admit there are not so many notes to tidy away after writing a contemporary story, although that doesn’t mean we escaped doing any research. No matter what the genre or setting, there’s always research if the story is to sound as realistic as possible.
I’m looking forward to tidying up the stack of reference books that has grown to scary proportions while I’ve been writing Comes a Horseman. Between my own non-fiction collection, and everything I’ve borrowed from the library, it will be nice to see the wooden surface of my desk again rather than it being buried in an assortment of books, papers, and notebooks.
At least for a couple of hours before I move onto the next story.
I’m finishing with an excerpt from Winter Duet, book 2 of Echoes Rising, as I sent back edits for the 2nd edition of that last week too. It’s coming out from DSP Publications in December. No rest for the wicked.
Echoes book 2 – Sequel to Shadowboxing
Hunted for treason and the information Kristopher carries, he and Michel leave the security of their safe house to journey across Germany toward Switzerland. Caught in a series of Allied bombings, they stop to help civilians and narrowly escape capture by German forces.
While investigating a downed aircraft in the Black Forest, the two men discover an injured RAF pilot. After they are separated, Kristopher and the pilot are discovered by a German officer who claims he is not who he appears to be. Determined to find Michel again, Kristopher has to trust the stranger and hope he is not connected to those searching for him and the information he carries. Meanwhile Michel is intercepted by one of the Allied soldiers he met in Berlin. His help is needed to save one of their own.
Time quickly runs out. Loyalties are tested and betrayed as the Gestapo closes in. Michel can only hope they can reach safety before information is revealed that could compromise not only his and Kristopher’s lives, but those of the remaining members of their team—if it is not already too late.
Kristopher jerked awake with a start. Michel was leaning over him. His expression was grim. “What’s wrong? What’s happened?” Kristopher asked. They’d been in Feuerbach less than twenty-four hours. Surely Reiniger hadn’t found them already?
Before Michel could answer, a loud explosion sounded nearby. Kristopher was on his feet immediately, reaching for his gun, his eyes adjusting to the dim light of the flashlight Michel held. The wooden beams groaned. The building shook. Dust fell from the ceiling. He grabbed his satchel, not wanting to leave it behind.
“Bombing raid,” Michel said, already on the stairs of the apartment building, heading outside. Kristopher was only a couple of steps behind him. The wailing of sirens echoed around them. “We need to get out of here.”
Outside, people were running. A woman screamed. A baby’s wail filled the air. The top story of the building next door was gone, rubble lying in the street in big chunks.
Engines roared. Something swooped low above them. Kristopher ducked. Michel grabbed him and dived, both of them hitting the ground and landing in the snow.
Kristopher coughed. He wiped wet snow from his face and shivered. Luckily he’d slept in his coat and boots. Smoke filled the air. “The river,” he gasped. “We need to get to the river.” There was a tower shelter by the Feuerbach River. He was sure he remembered someone talking about it the previous evening.
The ground moved, or seemed to, as another explosion lit up the sky, this time in the distance, from the center of Stuttgart itself. “Can you walk?” Michel helped Kristopher as he struggled to his feet.
“I’m fine,” Kristopher reassured him. “You?”
“Yes.” Michel retrieved the flashlight from the ground. It lit up for a moment, and then they were plunged into blackness. “Damn it!” Michel shook it and switched it off, then on, but nothing happened. He shoved it into the pocket of his coat and glanced around. The streetlights were off—they would have been extinguished at the first sign of attack. All they had for light was the waning crescent moon above them and the fires burning as the aircraft dropped their bombs.
“What about the ambulance?” Kristopher suggested. They’d left it parked out of sight but nearby.
“I’m more worried about us surviving this than the ambulance,” Michel said. He gazed up at the sky. “I think the river is this way. We can’t stay here.”
“I don’t remember where on the river the shelter is,” Kristopher said.
A boy pushed past them. He couldn’t have been more than seven or eight years old. “The shelter’s this way,” he yelled. “Follow me.”
Kristopher hesitated. What if the boy was wrong? And even if he wasn’t, there was no way of knowing if he might lead them into more of this.
“We don’t have a choice,” Michel said. “Keep close to me. I don’t want to lose you in this.” He began to run, Kristopher close behind, his eyes adjusting to the little light there was.
The boy tripped and went sprawling. Michel stopped just in time before he too lost his footing.
“Oomph,” Kristopher grunted when he ran into Michel. “What happened?”
The boy groaned loudly. Michel pulled out his flashlight and tried it again. A dim light shone from it, barely enough to see by, but it would have to do. Remains of a shattered chimney from a nearby house were spread across the ground just ahead of them. The boy lay next to one of the larger pieces, half on top of it. In his haste and with the lack of light he wouldn’t have seen it until it was too late.
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.
Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.
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