Today I’m very excited to welcome fellow Carina author Amy Bird to my blog. Amy’s debut novel Yours is Mine is a psychological thriller and available to buy now from all good digital retailers.
The suspense is killing me
Alfred Hitchcock, that great master of suspense, once expressed an interest in making a film about the Titanic.
‘But you can’t do that!’ he was told. ‘You make films based on suspense, and everyone knows the Titanic sinks!’
His answer, so the story goes, was ‘Ah, but they don’t know when.’
I can imagine it well, that unmade Hitchcock, in all its Hitchcockian glory. Violins would be playing, his selected characters would be quarrelling, shadows would be lengthening, and all the while, the viewer would know that at any moment, the Titanic would sink.
Suspense is not always about ‘when’ though: ‘will’, ‘what’ and ‘who’ are equally relevant here. Take some examples.
In the Patrick Hamilton play ‘Rope’, made into a feature film by Hitchcock, the first sequence sees two men murder a man and hide his body in a chest, then proceed to hold a dinner party, serving food off that chest. The driver of the suspense here is will they be discovered.
Tearing ourselves away from Hitchcock, let’s look at another, more recent, example: ‘Gone Girl.’ For me, that was driven by a what. With plot twist after plot twist, I wanted to know what would happen next, and that is the element that made it compelling reading. It is not completely clear-cut though – there was also an element if ‘will’, as in ‘will the plan succeed?’. I don’t want to give too much away – it’s important for a thriller that its secrets are kept safe.
Another contemporary example is, of course, ‘Before I go to sleep’. For me, that was a who. Who is the protagonist really, and who is the man looking after her?
In ‘Yours is Mine’, I have focussed both on the ‘who’ and the ‘what.’ Who is the mysterious Anna, convincing Kate to exchange her identity, apparently as part of an experiment? And what is Anna’s plan, really? Those were the threads that kept me writing, and hopefully they are what will keep you reading.
Yours is Mine, a psychological thriller about two women who exchange identities, is available now from Carina UK, the new digital imprint of Harlequin, at http://www.carinauk.com/yours-is-mine and via Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Yours-is-Mine-ebook/dp/B00DP220YY, Kobo http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Yours-is-Mine/book-u1u9U5e7aUm9JztScFyNOA/page1.html and iBooks. You can follow Amy’s progress at www.amybirdwrites.com, on twitter at https://twitter.com/London_Writer and on facebook at www.facebook.com/amybirdwrites.
On her last blog tour stop, http://unhingednavywives.blogspot.co.uk/ on 7 August, Amy will be doing a giveaway of a MIRA goodiebag, filled with some great titles from that Harlequin imprint. So be sure to catch her there!
Anybody that knows me will be aware of the fact that I love writing; in fact writing is the thing that keeps me sane. My first novel will be out later on this year which I am really excited about but I would never have got this far if it wasn’t for my fantastic writing group. Especially my tutor Jayne, I think every aspiring writer needs a Jayne in their life and it’s a real shame we can’t clone her. She has been a tough but honest tutor, there were times when after she had nearly strangled me because of my punctuation and almost had me in tears that I would think ‘I’m not cut out for this writing lark’ thankfully the part of me which can’t stop writing even if it tried would not give in. Jayne’s brand of tough love has helped me to improve my writing to a much better level so much that I did manage to get a two book deal with Carina UK.
If you are at a point where you have sent submissions out and the rejections are flying back through your door quicker than they went out like mine were last year then I would highly recommend joining a writing group. Sometimes what you need is a fresh pair of eyes to see where it is you are going wrong because believe me after seven drafts of my book I couldn’t see the wood for the trees. I know that I am very fortunate and that Roose Writers may be the exception to the rule but a writing group as long as it is not full of people who only care about their own writing may just be the best step forward in your writing career. It certainly was for me.