Aimee Horton

#WriteThinking Kerry Barrett

Jan
11

kerrybarrettThis weeks post is by the amazing Kerry Barrett. I’ve known Kerry for a few years now, and her ideas and drive keep me constantly in awe. She wrote three books last year, THREE. She has an imagination I could only dream of, and so it’s pretty apt that her post today is about where she gets her ideas from.


 

Some ideas about ideas.

Like all the best ideas, I find the first seeds of a novel often come to me when I’m thinking of something else. In the shower, on the train to work, when I’m at work (and when I should be working!), when I’m cooking dinner or often when I’m running or swimming. In fact, the only time they definitely don’t come to me is when I sit in front of my laptop ready to come up with an idea!

People ask me a lot where I get my ideas from and always give the same answer: I get them everywhere. And that’s one of my favourite writing tips – ideas come from everywhere, you just have to listen to them (and listen to other people’s conversations – loads of my ideas come from earwigging) and keep a note of them.
Crime novelist Ian Rankin snips interesting stories out of newspapers, jots down sentences on post-it notes and scribbles ideas on pieces of paper, shoves them into a folder and gets them all out when it’s time to plan his next book. I love this idea and I try to do a similar thing. I normally make notes to myself on my phone, though that sometimes backfires when I find myself trying to make sense of a few seemingly unconnected words that I was convinced I’d understand later.

I think the best ideas often come from a throwaway remark, a story I hear, a snippet of a conversation, a song I hear, or something I see when I’m out and about at work or on the school run. Sometimes it’s a simple as wishing something – I wish I could be on Strictly. I wish I could waggle my fingers and make a cup of tea appear. I wish I could give up my job and live in a house by the sea. I hope if I can’t stop thinking about something, then it’ll grab readers in the same way.

My last book, A Step In Time, had a historical story within it, and my next two books are going to be the same so now I have an added dimension of thinking about a time period I’m particularly interested in and finding a story within it – which is a lot of fun. One of my future novels is set in Soho in the late 60s and was inspired by the Save Soho campaign that’s currently running. I’d seen lots of pictures of 1960s Soho on the campaign’s twitter feed and I was thinking about how brilliant it must have been to work in Soho then – and suddenly I had another plot.

So basically, when it comes to inspiration, I’d say the most important thing is to be nosy! Be interested in people’s lives, people’s stories, people’s history. Listen to conversations, watch the news – and watch the people in the background as well, read books, talk to everyone (well maybe not everyone, but you know what I mean!). Open your eyes, your ears, and your imagination and the ideas will follow.

Kerry’s latest book, A Step In Time is available on Amazon just click here.

You can also contact Kerry via her website, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and pinterest.

What I Read In July.

Aug
10

July has been a slow old reading month – all my intentions were quashed as I sat in the editing phase known as self-despair and self-loathing. Nothing like re-reading something you thought you were done with to bring you down, oh, except reading other people’s amazing work. The inferiority complex that comes with reading other peoples work sometimes amazes me, so at times I’ve put off starting the new books I had lined up, simply as a survival technique (sorry Nick!)

But, I have to say, what I have read has been worth it.

I started the month with Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary.

Click to buy

I’ve followed Sarah for a while on twitter, and her book has been on my list, but there are loads of books there, so I tend to sort of bumble along picking whatever jumps in front of me at the time. Sunday morning, after I’d finished Lisa Jewell’s book (mentioned here), Sarah posted a picture of her new book and it’s cover. It was a SIGN. I had a fresh cup of tea, and was in the market for a bit of readin’. I downloaded the book and in the words of Janice…

OH. MY. GOD.

Since reading Someone Else’s Skin, it has gone on to win Theakston’s 2015 Crime Novel of the Year. I don’t really need to say any more – I love, love, loved it, and I would be surprised if anyone else didn’t.

After that I have to admit, I needed something light, and my gorgeous friend Kerry Barrett gave me a little sneak into her upcoming novella A Spoonful of Sugar.

Click to order

Having been a massive fan of all of the other books in the Could It Be Magic series, I read this book fast, and did a lot of hand clapping. The book is out TODAY, and if you haven’t read the rest, why not download them here.

At one point I was tidying boxes out in the study (aka procrastinating) and totally deliberately went to get my Judy Blume books out. She’s been about a lot recently, what with her new book and whenever I see her name she brings back a longing to read her old stories. So I put my hand in, and pulled out It’s Not The End Of The World.

Click to order

You’d think, at 33, having read the book a gazillion times during my teenage years and twenties I’d be bored of it, but I’m not. In fact, I’ve got the others stacked next to my bed to read again soon.

Just as I was about to pick up Nick Quantrill’s book when Kerry mentioned her new book she was working on. She’s mentioned it a few times, and I love the fact that she lets me read them, she drip feeds me chapters like my husband drip feeds me pizza and gin after a day on my own with the kids. I’M LIKE AN ADDICT.

My friend is very talented.

I can’t tell you much – I’d love to – but it’s Kerry’s thing to shout about, because this new book, this new character, oh my actual goodness. I swear on Bombay Sapphire’s life – it’s the best thing she’s written.

I’ve been using it as my editing treat. Edit X amount of pages, and I get to read a chapter. Never have I been so motivated.

All I can say is, the glitz, glamour, that come with Amy Lavender and Cora. They’re worth waiting for.

Right now, I’m reading Jenny Colgan’s – Where Have All The Boys Gone? It’s ok, but I’m looking forward to finishing it so I can start something more meaty. I’ll tell you all about it next month.

What are your book recommendations for me? I have my holiday coming up, and need stuff that I can read in the day by the pool with the monsters, and in the evening with gin and Mr Aimee.

When you love the little things.

Oct
17

HOW can it be the end of October already? HOW is it nearly half term, and HOW in eight sleeps is my baby FOUR? And HOW have I not had time to join into this linky for WEEKS? (I blame getting used to doing 3 school runs a day).

So for the first time in a long time, here are this weeks #littleloves as hosted by my favourite Morgana at But Why Mummy Why? (more…)