Frank Woods

Describe your book in three words

Pacy. Layered. Compelling.

What made you write this novel?

I’ve been lucky to live a long life that began with a Clydeside childhood, then moved through
several career changes. Along the way, I rubbed up against a fascinating range of people and
experiences. However, I should stress that the book isn’t some sort of disguised
autobiography. It’s a made-up story, inhabited by characters who, with one exception, are
creations of my imagination. The odd man out, and that’s a good description of him, is
Charles Fourier, an eccentric 18 th century French Utopian philosopher whose more bizarre
ideas influence important twists and turns of the tale.

But why write this particular novel? I think clues lie in long abandoned provisional titles –
Connected Threads and Twisted Threads – with their hints that human life is really about
connections at many levels: biological, personal, familial, cultural… the list goes on. Is it
connections, not divisions, that enrich life, maybe even give it purpose?

Favourite character and why?

Nessa Glover is hard to pass by. Life deals her a very cruel hand but she not only survives,
she transforms herself into a woman she could never have imagined at the beginning of the
book. Funny thing about Nessa. She was a much less important character in my early notes,
and in the first draft. But she kept tugging at my collar and whispering in my ear: ‘You’re not
done with me yet.’

Now I’m starting to feel disloyal, so I can’t just stick with one favourite. Keir Connor was the
hardest to get to grips with. He started life as an undercover Scottish journalist with a
different name. I’m proud of the way he turned out. And I also have a very soft spot for Cyril.

How would you like your readers to react?

I want them to be attracted by the book cover, to pay at the till, then to start at the beginning
and not be able to stop until the end. And to be captivated by the potent mix of emotions and
events that propel the characters through the pages of Where the Bridge Lies.

Frank Woods

Frank WoodsWhat kind of author are you?

I aim for a compelling narrative, a story that unfolds through the lives of interesting, often complex, characters. I enjoy research: historical, geographical, cultural, you name it! I plot very broadly, figure out the main themes and structure, but leave details of people and events to develop in the course of the writing.

Which authors are you inspired by?

Many, and they change with time. My key childhood book was a copy of Mark Twain’s ‘Tom Sawyer’ which I bought for pennies in Woolworths then read and reread until it fell to bits. I still dip into Twain for his wit and wisdom – eg I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened. In my mid-teens, the local public librarian took me under her wing and introduced me to the classics from Dickens to Dostoyevsky. She also slipped writers like Aldous Huxley and Graham Greene under my inquisitive nose.

I love strong storylines from good storytellers, and race through books by people like William Boyd, Helen Dunmore, Robert Harris and Rose Tremain. But I’m currently enjoying the more meandering novels of John Banville. What a marvellous writer that man is!

What keeps you motivated in the process of writing?

Editing and rewriting. I lay down a first draft of a chapter as quickly as I can, then the fun begins. I produce a series of successive drafts, editing and honing as I go. Once I’m feeling happy, I read the piece aloud – it’s a great way of identifying clunks in prose that might look fine on the page.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’ve practiced tai chi for years and try to do it with my wife most mornings on a secluded beach near our home. When I’m not busy with writerly business, we spend time in the garden where she has the green fingers and I prune when she’s not looking. I enjoy woodcarving, and I play blues harmonica.

Any new projects on the horizon?

I’m researching another novel that explores further some of the themes in ‘Where the Bridge Lies’ but in different times, settings, and through different characters. Enough said.

 

Cover of Where the Bridge LiesFrank’s debut novel Where the Bridge Lies can be purchased through our website and on Amazon.

 

Find out more about Frank:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/frankwoodsauthor/

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Pettigrew

Anne Pettigrew

What kind of an author are you?

One who wants to entertain: I’m too old to try to write ‘great literature!’ My aim was to write a book about what it was like to be a sixties medical student and give a ‘best account of the moral complexity of the day,’ as George Eliot felt a novelist should. Themes were discrimination, especially for women, and the damage a couple of rogue medics could wreak. I got to know my characters first and they took a life of their own; my methodology is ‘seat of pants’ rather than by ‘planned chapters,’ though I had an ending in mind.

Which authors are you inspired by?

Many! I’ve been reading avidly for over 60 years. At school, I loved John Verney (Friday’s Tunnel), smart sassy books ahead of their time. By my teens I admired the storytelling of H. Rider Haggard (King Solomon’s Mines, the original Indiana Jones), Taylor Caldwell’s rich historical dramas and an eclectic mix of Somerset Maugham, Irving Stone, Le Carre and Arthur Hailey. More recently, Katherine Neville and David Mitchell (experts in time-slipping), Stieg Larsson (my biggest influence) and Christopher Brookmyre (tartan noir) join Joanne Harris, Joanna Cannon, Andrea Camilleri, Peter May and Martin Walker as my favourite writers.

What keeps you motivated in the process of writing?

Getting to the end… Except I am never quite satisfied when I get there: there is always a better way to say everything.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Speak to my long-suffering husband, read, walk on beaches, do lunch, drink wine, paint landscapes and grow stuff in my garden. I also love sailing ships and travel, the more exotic the better.                                                                                                             

Any new projects on the horizon?

Not the Deaths Imagined is a sequel in which Beth imperils her family while uncovering a murderous GP in a Glasgow suburb, aided (and hindered) by some of the main protagonists of Not the Life Imagined. One of the villains has a remarkable crisis of conscience which surprised even me!

 

Cover of Not the Life Imagined

Anne’s debut novel Not the Life Imagined can be purchased through our website and on Amazon.

 

Find out more about Anne:

Website: www.annepettigrew.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annepettigrewauthor

Twitter: @pettigrew_anne

 

 

 

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