I’m delighted today to welcoming novelist and blogger Louise Wise in the “Shed” today! I know Louise from various social networking writing groups we’re both in, and also from her blog. I was delighted to be a guest twice for Louise, and later in this article, you can learn how you could guest with her, too.
I have to admit one of the reasons I’m most excited to host Louise today: I just finished her dark chick-lit novel The Fall of the Misanthrope: I Bitch Therefore I Am. (Read my review here!) Louise managed to take some fairly dark material and make it not only intriguing but also kind of fun. She writes very colorful characters you really care about–even the misanthrope.
Connect with Louise online:
1. I got really into your book The Fall of the Misanthrope: I Bitch Therefore I Am because I tend to be drawn to the darker side side of chick-lit, and your story definitely takes readers there. When you write, do you prefer a darker story, or do you sometimes also tell lighter tales? And what about what you read?
I like to be realistic with my writing, and try to incorporate as much real life as I can. Loneliness does seem to be prevalent in all of my books, and even A Proper Charlie, one of my ‘lighter’ books, the protagonist is lonely. But no, I prefer my stories to be fun more than ‘dark’. I want to make people laugh and think, hey, that could happen to me, at the same time.
I like reading Sophie Kinsella, Alexandra Potter and Matt Dunn for light reads and humour, and Dean Koontz and James Herbert for my darker moments. I also like to read indies: Pam Howes, Patrick Fox, John Hudspith to name just a few.
2. What inspired you to tell this story? If you don’t mind sharing, was any of it based on actual events or did you just conjure it with your brilliant imagination?
I was talked into having my fortune told in my teen years and the accuracy of it scared me to death! So, that part of The Fall of the Misanthrope was from an actual event (no one died though!).
In the book, I wanted a nasty main character; someone people would hate. But I was stopped at the draft stage when my editor told me the protagonist would need a redeeming side, and I had to think of a reason for her nastiness. It is purely fiction and apart from the fortune teller nothing else was taken from real life.
3. Did you have to do a lot of research to get to the heart of Valerie’s issues? Did any of the research you did change the way you originally saw your story unfolding?
I work in a pharmacy so I was able to research depression and medication quite easily, and my husband used to run a brokerage. It’s true what they say, write what you know… or rather know what you write.
The Fall of the Misanthrope has changed a lot from draft to final product, but not all because of research. The minor characters Tim and Paul started out as young men, but I felt older characters would have more scope. Pensioners are hilarious to write about! What with false teeth, dodgy hips and toupees – so much ammunition. 🙂
4. Can you tell us about your writing process? Are you a “plotter” or “pantser”? Do you work better in a state of quiet organization or chaos? Do you set a word count target or take it as it comes?
I plot in my head, then take myself somewhere quiet and think about characters and a possible situation. Husband calls it daydreaming, but whatever! Then I write. I just get down the main ingredients of the story and I try to do that within a month or less. If I can see a beginning and a middle and a possible end I’ll go back to the start and flesh it out. So maybe I’m a bit of both “potter” and “panster”. But I like to call my approach a “painter”. I paint a basecoat, then go over with another coat, and another, until finally, I can add my final gloss.
5. In addition to being a terrific author, you’re also quite a prolific blogger. Can you tell us a little bit about your blog–how you decided what it should be, how you decide on themes? I’ve been honored to be your guest twice. Can you tell others how you go through your selection process of what to post?
Aw, thank you. Four years ago I was told I needed an author platform and so began Wise Words Book Blogger (WWBB). I didn’t like to talk about me all the time when others were much more interesting, so I invited people to my blog.
At first, I allowed any subject but then I wanted more control and decided to bring in themed months. I look around writing forums, Twitter, anywhere, for ideas. In fact, I’ve had a people email me asking for a subject because of an idea they’ve have and I’m always pleased to oblige.
WWBB never intended to be a blog for writers, but that’s how it has turned out and I’m very happy with it. If people want to write for me all I ask is for them to read the “What’s Hot” for their desired month, stick to the theme, edit their own articles and share the link with their social media once it’s live. Oh, and following the blog is polite. It’s the equivalent of a handshake in blogland!
BONUS: Do you have a current WIP? If you do, can you share anything with us about what it’s about? And if not…what kinds of books are you considering diving into developing next?
My first published novel is called Eden, I wrote this before I discovered my niche was chick lit. It’s a sci-fi romance with the theme Beauty and the Beast, anyway, I began getting a lot of mail asking for a sequel and so I’m writing that at the moment. I’m on the second draft, and I hope to have it ready for late summer. It was nice to get back to old characters, and taking up their story again was like putting on comfy slippers. Maybe I can have two niches? That’s not greedy, is it?
Not at all, Louise! I think anyone who has many interests and talents should dabble in other niches. We don’t always eat the same kind of foods or wear the same clothes. Why always write the same kinds of books?
Thanks so much for joining us today!
Here’s an excerpt from The Fall of the Misanthrope: I Bitch Therefore I Am:
I woke to the smell of bacon – and déjà vu. I turned, and a wave of nausea engulfed me as did a memory of a thin-faced man called Jon with piercing blue eyes. And Tim. Why was I thinking about Tim? Oh God… a dream I had been dreaming last night came back. Tim was making love to me. Only he had a strangely good body. I pulled the covers up over my head. No, no! I don’t want this picture in my mind.
‘Morning, Val.’ My curtains were ripped open and a blaze of light seared me like flames as I peeked over the top of my duvet. I rolled over, mumbling something like “bitch” and “get out”.
‘Coffee,’ Ellen said, and placed a deliciously smelling cup on my bedside table. ‘And a couple of paracetamol. How’s the head?’
‘Serves you right. You drank two bottles of wine to yourself. Poor Jon. I don’t expect you’ll see him again.’
Braving the daylight I rolled onto my back and looked up at her. ‘Thank God. What were you thinking setting me up like that? Isn’t it surprising I drank?’ I pushed myself up so I was propped against the bed rest. I reached for the coffee. ‘Thanks for this,’ I said grudgingly.
She sat on my bed. Not on the edge as you’d expect – this was Ellen – but in the centre with her legs cross-legged.
‘I can smell bacon,’ I said. Hopefully.
‘I saved you some,’ she said. ‘Tim makes a mean fry-up.’
‘Tim?’ Images of my dream swamped my head. ‘What’s he doing here?’
She evaded my eyes. ‘He brought you home last night.’
I peered under my duvet. I was in my undies. I looked up at Ellen questioningly.
‘I undressed you. I slept in the room I had before, and Tim on the settee downstairs. I didn’t want to leave you in that state and Tim felt he should stay too. He cares about you, doesn’t he? I never realised until now.’
I popped the paracetamol into my mouth, and swallowed them down with coffee. I only wished they were strong enough to delete the image of Tim holding me in his arms.
The Fall of the Misanthrope: I Bitch Therefore I Am
Valerie Anthrope’s life is finally on track. She has a thriving business, money is no problem, and men, well, she’s a modern, cutthroat business woman and romantic entanglement isn’t for her, so she can take them or leave them. Or so she tells herself, and anyone else who’ll listen. But that’s the problem. There is no one else. Those who get too close never live to tell the tale—literally.
Someone needs a fairy godmother, don’t they?