I think everyone who comes onto my site, knows I love thrillers, murder mysteries and crime novels. This also includes psychological thrillers. Silence of the Lambs is a book I love – and yes, I love the movie too.
I was lucky enough that Honey took up an invitation to write a guest blog about Dark Horse and here she is…
HONEY: Thanks Fleur for the warm invitation to guest blog on your website. An author quickly discovers how many “hats” are needed when writing books for a living. Visualising my bloggers hat, I see feathers and lace, a race day fascinator. It’s a hat that is fun to put on, but it perches awkwardly. A regular blogger must have something more practical to pop on I’m guessing, a jaunty Fedora maybe? Nevertheless, with my trackside headgear pinned into place, I’m plunging in –
My latest book, Dark Horse, is due to be released at the end of the month. It’s my fourth novel and it came about the same way all my stories have – I wondered what an everyday person would do in an extreme situation. When I write, it’s about looking inside myself for the answers, it’s about creating characters and dropping them into a dilemma, seeing how they cope, and how they change. I wanted to explore themes of deception and threat, and ask what a person might do when isolated and trapped with a dangerous stranger, I wondered about distrust and attraction, intimacy and fear. Fiction gives me the ability to delve into the darker elements of human nature. I see storytelling as a way to be honest – honest emotions, honest fears and flaws and desires. The story doesn’t have to be factual, but all the other elements have to be.
I’ve found that planning and plotting my stories leads to writers’ block. I have to keep the story outline sketchy in my mind. I like to keep myself guessing. This writing style isn’t for everyone, and it leads to a lot of rewriting and backtracking to adjust the story around sudden changes, but it also brings about those wonderful moments when the characters surprise me by doing something unexpected, and I find myself sitting back from the computer and thinking – wow, I didn’t see that coming. I’d like to be able to say that the twist I’ve written into Dark Horse came about this way, but I had the twist planned (vaguely) from the start. Other things about the characters and story surprised me though – I had no idea the flash flood at the beginning of the book was going to as big it turned out to be, or that a stag deer was going to make an appearance, I didn’t know that one of my main characters, Heath, was going to get into such a perilous situation, or that the bond my other main character, Sarah, has with her black mare Tansy was going to be such a profound one. It was a thrill to discover those things as I wrote.
The book took around six months to complete. I wrote some of it at my kitchen table, some at my desk in my home office, and some at my son’s football training – rugged up in the car, the laptop on my knee. I often moan about the challenges of working from home – the washing machine needing unloading, sheep escaping the paddocks, my kids looking for lost school socks and phone chargers, and my hubby sticking his head around the corner, speaking quietly, swearing he’s not interrupting…but… All those things drag me from the story and it takes time to get back into it. I doubt, though, that having a silent and perfect workspace would make writing novels any easier.
For me, writing a book is like walking a tightrope – I start out as positive and surefooted as I can be, I inevitably get the wobbles in the middle, and I tend to rush the final stretch because I’m so desperate to get back on solid ground. If I do fall, it’s about dusting myself off and starting over.
I’m currently writing my fifth novel, due out next year. If there’s a hat I put on to write, I can’t visualise it. It’s inexplicable and indistinct. Perhaps storytelling is about hanging all the different hats on their hooks, sitting down unencumbered, no expectation, no ego, no posturing or pride, and giving your thoughts free rein.
Before signing off I’ll answer the question Fleur put to me via her generous invite – do I ever scare myself when writing. No, I don’t. Other peoples’ imaginations scare me more. Real life brutality frightens me. I avoid exploring the hearts and minds of characters that are evil. My interest is in normal people doing bad things. That’s probably why I never get spooked – I leave the truly bad guys alone.
Thanks, Honey – a great insight into your world and writing. Before I sign off though, I wanted to post the rather tantalising trailer for Dark horse:
About Honey Brown –
Critically acclaimed author of three previous novels: Red Queen, The Good Daughter and After The Darkness. Dark Horse is due to be released 24th of April. Honey lives in country Victoria with her husband and two children. A tragic farm accident in 2000 left her with a spinal injury. Her childhood was spent in Campbell Town, Tasmania, growing-up in a convict-built house.