It’s all too easy to get distracted, says author Emma Burstall, especially by your children…
Writing novels is great fun, and writing a series is even better. It means that I’m able to revisit my characters time and again and introduce new ones into the mix to shake things up. Fantastic!
I think I’m incredibly lucky to be able to spend my days weaving stories about people I’d love to meet. Sometimes it feels a bit like playing God, because I make things happen to them, decide how they’ll react, then steer them towards their destiny.
It’s surprising how often something that I’m writing will actually take place in real life. I’ll read a newspaper, listen to the radio or overhear a conversation and think – wow! That’s exactly what occurs in my book! It’s uncanny and also rather satisfying, because I know that there must be truth in my words.
That said, however much I enjoy my job I’m still an expert at procrastinating. I can sit down to begin writing, determined not to give way to distractions, then a friend will drop by and before I know it, I’m in inviting them in for tea or coffee. Or I’ll go for a jog in the park, which, of course, is good for me and clears the brain. It’s a fine balance, however. When I get it right, I return energised and ready to begin the day. If I go on just that little bit too long, I’ll arrive home, have a shower and before I know it, my stomach’s rumbling and it’s time for lunch. Aargh!
Phone calls from my mum and my best friend, emails, my two fat cats who love a cuddle, all are diversions if I allow them to be. But more disrupting than any of these are my three beloved children who can fill my headspace like no one and nothing else.
I loathe Cyril Connelly’s famous assertion, ‘She (the artist’s wife) will know that there is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hallway’, because of its twisted misogyny. However, I do fear that there’s truth in it, though in my case there’s no longer a pram in the hall but several pairs of muddy trainers and a bag or two of filthy, smelly sports kit.
It is, of course, perfectly possible to shove a pile of washing in the machine and carry on writing. I’ve also discovered that I can cook a mean pasta while penning a piece of dialogue, popping into the kitchen every now and again to give the sauce a quick stir before returning to the laptop. However, I find that juggling writing with handling my children’s emotional problems is less easy. It’s rare indeed for all of them to be happy, healthy and trouble-free at the same time. There’s usually at least one giving cause for concern.
Only this morning, my middle son, who is currently teaching English in Vietnam, phoned to ask for relationship advice. How could I refuse? Forty-five minutes later, when we’d finished our chat, I was still mulling things over, wishing that I’d explained myself better and hoping he was all right now. Needless to say, while I anguished my writing languished.
I’m delighted to announce that the fourth book in my Tremarnock series, A Cornish Secret, is published this month with the hardback, paperback and audiobook to follow. Now, I’m embarking on the fifth, which will involve a research trip to Mexico. Watch this space!
That’s enough for now, it’s time to crack on with the writing. Wait a minute…who’s there? Ah! It’s my youngest at the door, wanting a word. Should I turn him away? Of course not! I’m a mum and I love him too much.
‘Come on in,’ I sigh, and tell me all about it. Let’s put the kettle on and have a nice cup of tea!’
Be careful what you kiss for…
Esme Posorsky is an enigma. For as long as people can remember, she has been part of community life in the quaint Cornish fishing village of Tremarnock, but does anyone really know her? She is usually to be found working in her pottery studio or at home with her beloved cat, Rasputin. But when an old school friend turns up with a secret from the past, nothing will ever be the same again.
Meanwhile teenager Rosie is excited to find a bottle washed up on Tremarnock beach with a message from a former German prisoner of war. While the rest of the village is up in arms about a new housing development, she sets out to find him. Little does she know, however, that her discovery will unleash a shocking chain of events that threatens to blow her family apart. Tremarnock may look like a cosy backwater, but some of its residents are about to come face-to-face with tough decisions and cold reality…
Emma Burstall was a newspaper journalist in Devon and Cornwall before becoming a full time author. Tremarnock, the first novel in her series set in a delightful Cornish village, was published in 2015 and became a top-10 bestseller.