Love Among the Treetops by Catherine Ferguson / #BlogTour + Guest Post

Hi amigos, hope you’re doing great – it’s Friyay!  And Easter is coming! To put you in a right mood, and as it’s my turn on the Catherine Ferguson’s blog tour – we are celebrating the reelase of her new novel, “Love Among the Treetops” – I have a brilliant guest post from the lovely author herself. Put your feet high, pour yourself a glass of something bubbly and enjoy!

image003-4

Catherine Ferguson

 

 

Five Things I’ve Learned . . .

 

When you’re starting out on your writing journey, it’s very much a case of trying things out and seeing what works for you and what doesn’t. I’ve been writing for HarperCollins Avon for three years now, and during that time, I’ve learned a lot about the process of creating a book – and a lot about what works best for me:

           

I write all my notes in a notebook now.

I used to scribble ideas on scrap paper, but I found that as I’m not the most organised/tidy person in the world, when it came to finding the particular note I needed, it was frequently lost or buried in a pile of other ‘important notes to self’! So now, when I’m starting a new book, I buy a big notebook with a cheery/inspiring cover, and I make sure I write every idea in this book. That way, I can be sure I won’t lose anything vital.

 

First thing in the morning is my best time to be productive

I love early mornings, so maybe that’s why I seem to do my best work then. All I know is that if I have a looming deadline and need to be at my most productive, a sure fire way of making sure I get the required daily number of words under my belt is to make a cup of tea and write the first five hundred words as soon as I wake up (usually propped up against pillows in bed!) Achieving this before breakfast also gives me a huge psychological boost that can carry me on to even greater productivity that day.

 

A daily walk is essential

I’d suspected for a long time that taking a walk during the day did me good, but it’s only recently that I’ve realised it’s not only A Good Thing, it’s actually a no-brainer if I want to write well and think up great characters and plot twists! There’s something incredibly meditative about walking, and for me, it’s the best way to get the ideas flowing freely. So now I incorporate a walk into my writing day as an essential part of it.

 

I start with a basic idea and see where it takes me.

I tried, once, to plan out a book in detail before I started writing. I made a big wall chart and wrote down all the plot advances in little boxes. It looked very impressive. The trouble was, the end result bore very little resemblance to my carefully planned plot! So I’ve learned that the best way for me is to start with a skeleton of an idea, and then just start writing and see where the characters take me. Going with the flow works for me!

 

Most people write bad first drafts

I never realised that most first drafts are rubbish. I honestly thought it was just me. And at first, it used to really scare me, the jumbled mess that used to emerge. But I’ve learned to relax now about the rubbish first draft, because in every case (after a lot of editing) that jumbled mess has been transformed into a book I’m proud of. I used to waste so much time, labouring over my first draft, trying to get it right. I don’t any more!

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

love-among-the-treetops-blog-tour

Advertisements

The Secrets of Ivy Garden by Catherine Ferguson / Blog Tour + Extract

Hi guys, and happy Monday! And guess what? Yes! I have a new blog tour for you today! I am incredibly thrilled to have an extract from Catherine Ferguson’s brand new shiny novel “The Secrets of Ivy Garden” to share with you – the title of this book is just perfect for this lovely spring day, don’t you think? So put your feet high, make yourself latte and enjoy!

secrets2bof2bivy2bgarden

‘Go,’ she hisses, handing me a ramekin of strawberry jam. ‘Your job’s here whenever you decide you want to come back, okay? Whether that’s in a month or even in six months’ time.’

Her kindness is too much. I have to get away before I break down and make a complete fool of myself.

‘Thank you,’ I mouth. Then I rush over to Betty with the jam, collect my coat and bag from the cloakroom and step outside into the blustery spring day. It’s a wrench leaving the cosy warmth of the café behind, and as the bell on the door jangles behind me and a cool breeze lifts my hair, I wonder with a pang how long it will be before I cross the threshold again. With her daily dose of light chit-chat and practical good sense, Patty has almost single-handedly kept me sane.

Ivy died on 14th December from a massive heart attack.

My memory of the run-up to Christmas and beyond is a bit of a blur, but I do remember refusing to leave my flat, despite offers from my best friends, Beth and Vicki – and also Patty – to spend Christmas with them. After the funeral in early January, I went straight back to work, even though Patty told me I needed more time to grieve. I convinced her that work was good therapy. And so for the past few months, I’ve slipped into a safe routine: keeping busy all day at the café, going home to eat and mindlessly watch TV, then sitting in the darkened kitchen, with just the pool of light from an Anglepoise lamp, to do my sketching, hour after hour, often until well after midnight when my eyes are stinging. I know if I go to bed too early, I’ll only end up lying there, staring into the darkness, fretting about the future.

I’ve always loved painting and sketching, and now it’s proving to be an absolute life-line. Ivy’s big dream for me was to study art at college when I left school. She used to say being an artist was my ‘calling’ because my paintings made people think about life and gave them pleasure. But however much I might have wanted to pursue my art as a career, I knew it was never going to be a practical option because we didn’t have the money. When Patty offered to promote me from Saturday girl to full-time staff when I was sixteen, I jumped at the chance, and I’m still there.

I still sketch, though, especially now. When I’m focused on drawing the perfect foxglove, it’s easier to keep the dark thoughts at bay.

I’ve always been the sort of practical, clear-headed person people can count on in a crisis. But since Ivy died, I’ve felt vulnerable and far less sure of myself. My insides shift queasily every time I think of making that long train journey south, leaving behind everything that’s familiar. Even telling myself it’s just for a few weeks, and then I’ll be safely back home, doesn’t seem to make any difference.

How can I bear to stay in Moonbeam Cottage if Ivy’s not there?

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

blog2btour2b252822529