Posts Tagged ‘children’s fiction’

On Writing The Morrow Secrets

May 26th, 2013

This interview includes my experience of the creative writing process and my favourite writing tips for new and aspiring authors.

This is an excerpt from the broadcast including clips from the Gothic illustrations in the book

The Black Hound in Ragging Brows Forest

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Posted in books for 9-14 year olds, Creative Writing Process, Dark Gothic Fantasy, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Supernatural, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

Ghostly Paranormal Experiences in Strange Secret Houses…

August 13th, 2012

So why did I begin writing stories about gothic houses and strange unexplained occurrences? Because odd things happened to me. Perhaps as children we are in touch with inexplicable outside forces before we cross the threshold into adulthood… sensations and experiences that adults can no longer access.

Thinking about some of the great children’s fiction, Peter Pan by JM Barrie, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis and The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner, children in these wonderful stories accessed worlds where the grown-ups could not enter. Adults no longer believed in the possibility of magic or worlds beyond their own experience…. these worlds have always fascinated me, hence the creation of The Morrow Secrets.

Some of my early history is a little strange….

The Old House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

My mother had an aunt, who we called Auntie Annie and she would suddenly go into a trance without any warning. She was my grandmother’s closest friend and my mother called her my fairy godmother. The reason for this was that it took my mother many years to get pregnant with me, her only child and the strange woman had something to do with this, according to my mother. One day Annie was sitting in my grandmother’s house, her head fell backwards and she began to speak with someone else’s voice. She told my mother after 12 years of marriage that she could hear the feet of a small child running beside her… the next month my mother discovered she was pregnant with me.

My mother said that Annie used to frighten her when she went into trances, mostly because of her strange sounding voice and the fact she seemed to become someone else during the time she was in a trance. These stories influenced my creation of the character, Tallitha who is able to enter a trance-like state. Both Annie and Tallitha have clairvoyant powers…. the trance-like journey is explored in The Morrow Secrets

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Posted in books for 9-14 year olds, Gothic Influences, Magical Adventure, New Children's Adventure Story, Supernatural, Teen Fiction | Comments (0)

How To Write A Children’s Novel

August 7th, 2012

Listen to my radio interview with Viv Oyolu on the Dream Corner Radio Show about

the creative process of writing the fantasy children’s story, The Morrow Secrets.

The rambling house of Winderling Spires

The interview includes ideas and tips on how to write children’s fiction, the new e-book phenomenon,

the ups and downs of self-publishing and how to develop your approach to characterisation.

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Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, Gothic Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel, New Children's Adventure Story, Self Publishing Tips, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

How to Create Great Characters in Your Book

August 7th, 2012

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. You have to write the book you want to read otherwise it won’t be fun and will feel like very hard work. So choose the subject you’re really interested in, that grabs you each morning and makes you want to get at that computer and begin typing. For me it was writing an exciting children’s fantasy adventure story, with strong female characters and a wealth of strange creatures. I had to create my own mythical world where some very odd things happen. A beguiling mystery with secrets to be unearthed. It’s only when you find your genre, the one you want to inhabit and have to inhabit that your characters come alive.

The Morrow Sisters, Edwina & Sybilla experimenting with their perfumes.
The Weird Morrow Sisters, Edwina & Sybilla

These characters begin to inhabit your mind… You can imagine them and their reactions in many different circumstances and how they will react. I know what Marlin, the sly old shrove will do in any situation and I know how Ruker the brave Skink will react.

I believe once you really know these characters, the dialogue flows easily between them. That’s not to say that you don’t need to re-read your scenes time after time, because you do. I can always improve a passage by re-reading it, often speaking aloud and listening to how the dialogue sounds. Is it natural? Is it too verbose? If it is then cut it.
Character continuity is very important. If Neeps (one of the Skinks) has blond hair when he is first introduced into the story… he can’t have brown hair later on ( unless he’s dyed it!) Keep cards with all your characters idiosyncracies, then you don’t have to keep going back to find them in your book. The colour of their eyes, the way they walk and their mannerisms are all recorded on your index cards. ( XYBS5SCSVMWU)

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Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel, Supernatural | Comments (0)

How to Improve Your Search Engine Optimisation: Getting Your Book Blog Out There

August 7th, 2012

When I started writing my book I just thought I’d write it, polish it and edit it a few times then post it on Amazon and that would be it!

How wrong I was. Writing the book was fun and easy compared to the marketing and PR needed so that people ( beyond your friends and family) find it. Even then that’s not enough.

The Black Hound from Ragging Brows Forest

So you’ve uploaded your fabulous book on to Amazon, you’ve had some sales then you realise that your book is a tiny little needle in the huge Amazon haystack. How will anyone ever find the book I have written? That’s the BIG, BIG question. This is what some of what I’ve learned so far:

You’ll need a website and it must have interesting content; you’ll need to blog on a regular basis to attract people to your site. You’ll need a blogging plan that covers all the things you want to say to your readers.

How will anyone find your website… you’ll have to increase your SEO (search engine optimisation) How will the google spiders find you? How will you increase your presence? By adding your site to blog directories. I have just started doing this so I’ll see if it makes a difference. This takes a lot of time working out which URL they want in the format they want it.

You must reply to the people who take the time to comment on your blog. You then need to understand google analytics and feedburner, to see what sort of website traffic you’re attracting. Then experiment with different posts. What do your readers like? How much traffic have you got? Which countries are they from? Do they stay on your pages? Which pages? Do they blounce off again…

So you see I didn’t know I had to be a marketing, IT, social networking, analyst. I thought I’d just write my children’s fanatsy adventure and the rest would be history….. how wrong I was!



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Posted in Being An Author, Better Blogging, Creative Writing Process, Improving your SEO, The Morrow Secrets, Writing | Comments (0)

Radio Interview with Susan McNally Author of The Morrow Secrets

August 5th, 2012

This is the link to the radio interview where I talk about the writing process, the ups and downs

of self-publishing and how to sustain creativity.

Winderling Spires

 If you know someone who is interested in writing fiction please share the link with them.

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Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, Creative Writing Process, Gothic Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel, Improving your SEO, New Children's Adventure Story, Self Publishing Tips, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

How to Write Fiction: Radio Interview with Susan McNally author of The Morrow Secrets

August 5th, 2012
Winderling Spires
Listen to this radio interview about how I began writing fiction, my top tips on sustaining
the creative writing process and the ups and downs of self-publishing.
Tell me what you think!
Please share with anyone you know who is interested in becoming a writer.

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Posted in Being An Author, How to Write a Children's Novel, Self Publishing, Self Publishing Tips, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

How to Self Publish

August 4th, 2012

The first thing is you have to get over the embarrassment of publicising your work. You have to network; talk about it and enthuse people

Use Facebook; twitter; and all social media. This is something I am still learning about.

Winderling Spires

The great thing is that you’re in charge of everything. No one can make you change anything in your book, a character’s name or a plot line.

But the kindle is still in it’s infancy … it will grow bigger and bigger. Many people don’t own a kindle so they need to download one of the many kindle apps

You will need help. Invest in marketing, a decent website with a blog. You may also need help loading the book on the amazon self-publishing site. It isn’t straightforward as the book needs formatting in the kindle format.


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Posted in Being An Author, Self Publishing Tips, Teen Fiction, The Morrow Secrets, Writing | Comments (0)

Get a Free Book! Name a character in the The Morrow Secrets Trilogy!

August 2nd, 2012

Can you name a character in my next book?

This is a competition and the winner will receive a free copy of  “The Morrow Secrets”, the first book in my fantasy trilogy about Tallitha and her amazing adventures across Wycham Elva to the land of Breedoor.

In The Morrow Secrets, the weird servants living in Winderling Spires are called shroves. Their names are Marlin, Florre’ and Grintley. I’d like you to name one of the shroves in my second book that live at Hellstone Tors, the gothic castle that Tallitha travels to in Breedoor.

Hellstone Tors in the land of Breedoor.
Marlin on the dark stairs

The two illustrations are of Marlin, a shrove and of the haunting castle of Hellstone Tors.

Take a look at the book excerpt on this webite and come up with a weird new name for a shrove and the best one will appear in the second book. You’ll need to sign up to my blog so I get your email address.
I need lots of young people to have a go at this competition … at least 50 replies so I have a good choice of spooky, odd sounding names.
Encourage all your friends to join in….I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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Posted in Competition, Supernatural, Teen Fiction, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

Great Adventure Book for Children! 9 to14 Year Olds!

August 1st, 2012

This is a great read about a girl who goes on a magical adventure, unearthing fascinating secrets and meeting an abundance of strange characters and creatures along the way! See what the Amazon reviews have said…

Gothic Fun

 What a great story! The plot leading you on a dark and dangerous adventure full of intrigue, betrayal and magic.

This book pulls you in and immerses you into a gothic world full of strange creatures, mysterious characters and elusive secrets. The attention to detail is amazing, as well-imagined and developed as anything in the Harry Potter series.

Young girls will especially enjoy the main character Tallitha, a wonderfully strong female character with a rebellious spirit and a taste for adventure! It definitely follows in the footsteps of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ for fiction that’s not afraid to introduce a little darkness into the story, making it a good read for adults as well.

Accompanied by the superb illustrations, this is a book that will fire the imagination and leave you wondering what’s next in store for Tallitha and the family of Winderling Spires…


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Posted in Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, New Children's Adventure Story, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)