15 May 2019

Stephen King: On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ is a useful read for anyone who writes – or would like to.  I grew up on Stephen King’s thrillers without really knowing anything about the man who wrote them.  I read ‘On Writing’ when it was first published but have written many books since then, so it was interesting to see if it was still as good.

It was better.  The years have done nothing to diminish the power of the story telling that runs through this book.  There are also some great quotes that passed me by on the original reading (or perhaps slipped into my subconscious)  such as ‘the editor is always right’ and ‘2nd draft = 1st draft – 10%.’  

It’s easy to see how King has drawn on his childhood experiences in character development.  Growing up in poverty was an adventure - and no TV seems to have been a distinct advantage.  Undaunted by his growing pile of rejection slips, Stephen King just knew he was meant to write and nothing was going to stop him.

I liked his description of the moment he had his first big advance  (for Carrie).  The early draft had been rescued from the waste bin by his wife. (She smoothed out all the crumpled balls of paper and said she wanted to hear the rest of the story.  The film version made $33.8 million in the U.S. alone).

Although there are plenty of useful tips for writers throughout, the most thought provoking part of this book is the final section, ‘On Living: A Postscript.’  King explains, ‘Writing is not life, but I think that it can be a way back to life.  That was something I found out in the summer of 1999, when a man driving a blue van almost killed me.’  You have to read it.

Tony Riches

Do you have recommendations on books for writers you would like to share? 

Please feel free to comment below

The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! The rules and sign-up form are below the list of hop participants. All authors at all stages of their careers are welcome to join in. 

1 May 2019

Author interview with mystery and suspense author Tony Lee Moral

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

A supernatural mystery, a coming of age story with romance, faith and hope. The biggest theme in the novel is what it means to be alive, focusing on Alice as she tries to navigate her grief for her mother, her new relationship, and her family. As history, a curse and ghosts plague the town, life and death are tackled in a unique way.

I'm pleased to welcome mystery and suspense author Tony Lee Moral to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book

The Haunting of Alice May is a mystery and suspense story between a ghost and a human. When Alice May Parker moves to Pacific Grove, California, she is rescued from drowning by Henry Raphael. Handsome, old fashioned and cordial, he sees straight into her soul. Soon the two are involved in a romance but destructive forces threaten to tear them apart. Themes in the novel include what it means to be alive, what it’s like to lose someone you love, and the possibility of an after life.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I write often during the evenings or weekends in my study. Actually I wrote an article on “Blue Sky Thinking” which you can read on my Ghost Maven website. I interviewed a psychologist who told me that creative thinking is best done in wide-open spaces which is where the phrase Blue Sky thinking originated. But if you want to be detailed and analytical, or if you have a looming deadline, confined spaces work best. As I lived in Pacific Grove for two years, where my novel is set, I would visit and write scenes on location in note books so I could capture the sights, smells and vistas of Monterey Bay.

What advice do you have for new writers?

Build your author platform and cultivate your readership and followers. In today’s social media age, your readers are everything. Nurture them and you will see the fruits of your labour. Read books, watch films, and delve deep into your own lives for inspiration. Travel is very important for my writing and I have been lucky enough to visit many places for my other profession as a documentary filmmaker.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

Through book tours, social media, ad campaigns, but most of all getting reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. GoodReads is especially useful as you have a whole community of authors and readers who are supportive and willing to read your book and recommend it to others.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

Reading The Haunting of Alice May makes me realize how incredibly personal it is to me. I drew upon my own childhood fears of drowning, a sense of the afterlife and also my interest and appreciation of nature, especially marine life. As I lived in Monterey Bay for two years, the locations became very central to the story and I use them when plotting my mystery and suspense, which I learned through my studies of Alfred Hitchcock.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

Definitely the opening chapter was the hardest, which I continually rewrote, as it is vital to pull the reader in. I wanted to plunge Alice in immediate danger and surrounded by her greatest fear, that of drowning. So I thought how could I use the location in an imaginative way, and what better place than placing the heroine in the middle of the Bay.

What are you planning to write next?

I have three more novels which I am planning to publish. Two are suspenseful murder mysteries set in New York and Rome and follow an American heroine and her Italian boyfriend. They were great fun to write and of course I enjoyed visiting the many glamorous places when I was plotting my novel.

Tony Lee Moral
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About the Author

Tony Lee Moral is an author specialising in mystery and suspense. He has written three books on the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock: Alfred Hitchcock's Movie Making Masterclass (2013) published by MWP books; The Making of Hitchcock's The Birds (2013) published by Kamera Books and Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie (2005) published by Scarecrow Press. Hitchcock was a master storyteller, using plot, character, location and props to tell engaging stories of mystery, suspense, crime and retribution. Tony was born in Hastings, England in 1971, before moving to California. He lived in Monterey and Big Sur for two years which forms the inspiration for his latest thriller The Haunting of Alice May, which is published in March 2019 in Paperback and Kindle. Find out more at Tony's website www.tonyleemoralbooks.com and find him on Facebook and Twitter @TonyLeeMoral