Sunday, 8 February 2015

How do you read?

I was going to give writing the blog a miss this week. The easiest things in the world include sitting and agreeing with everything someone else says or allowing people to walk all over you without redress. I hope you all know me by now to know that is not me at all.  By sheer compliance you lose your own identity and principles. I have strong beliefs and will call out injustice and lies. That is who I am. Ann Williams of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign taught me that, along with standing up for your children.

Whether people like it or not is irrelevant really. I decided when I became a parent that, no matter what happened, I would always listen to my children and fight their corner if they needed it. I’m not perfect but I am really proud of the relationship I have with the boys and they tell me everything, and yes make me blush at times! Maybe some information a mother shouldn’t know!

There will always be critics, even more so if you put yourself out there BUT stand by what you believe in. Wes reminded me of this when he was faced with a harsh lesson of inequality this week and he handled himself admirably and with so much dignity. People can lie and they do. People can slate you and they do. So what? It’s because they don’t understand your journey and their journey doesn’t compare to yours. I will continue to fight for the lies that have been told to be uncovered and retracted. The only people that disagree are those that have lied anyway. Stand by your own beliefs and convictions and you won’t go far wrong.

The wheels fell off my week last week - quite literally as my car had to be returned to the garage a number of times resulting in lost working hours which was incredibly frustrating, especially when the work I had done was pre-emptive work before anything did go wrong. The old saying ‘don’t fix it if it ain’t broken’ certainly applied. I almost blew a gasket, I mean ME not the car! Anyway by Wednesday lunchtime I was back on the road and happy.

How do you read?

I’ve taken a break from writing this week to spend time with the boys and to read. I did update my website which you can view here. Since starting to write, I have read less even though advice to new authors suggests you should read more. The trouble is while I’m reading, I’m not writing and while I’m writing, I’m not reading. And on it goes…

I’d be interested to know if any other authors changed the way they read books after they started writing themselves. My reading experience has totally changed. Not the books I choose to read or authors but the way I read them. I now have a greater appreciation of what goes into creating characters, plots, sub plots, the drafting, the re-writing and then the editing. I had not appreciated the amount of work that went into one book before now.

  • I appreciate the language used and the simpler the language, the more the admiration. It is a true art to draw people into a story with very simple language
  • I love the character development and often think how the author came across the character. Was it based upon someone they knew? Did the nasty, evil characters start
    as that or did it develop later? When I started writing Beyond the Past I didn’t have a sinister character, by the end of it I had half a dozen!
  • I love the plot development and appreciate how hard it is to work that plot. I can see the pivotal moments and I do imagine if I had written the book, would I have thought of the same outcome.
  • I am always looking for an underlying plot.
  • Did the author write in the little clues and sub plots during the first draft or after they had written the ending?
  • If it is a Stephen King, James Herbert or John Grisham book, I try to imagine if they had to force the words out or did they flow out in the same way as they did when they began writing. Does the writing show they struggled?

Yes, I really do think of all of this! It’s a wonder I actually manage to finish the book and understand its plot. Well actually, it is the authors themselves that keep me enthralled. I am in awe of their talent. The power of the word!

After I have read a book, I go back and look at readers’ reviews. Yes I am backward in more ways than one!! I don’t read reviews to determine whether I buy a book. I read it because it’s from one of my favourite authors or I like the sound of the blurb. Oh, or I like the book cover. Yes I do think the cover is important. That’s probably why I loved the cover of Beyond the Past the moment I received the proofs. It amuses me how we all have different interpretations of books. I will leave a HONEST review but won't slate or berate an author. That's not me. If I really don't like something I would rather not leave a review than knock someone's confidence.

I do have a kindle but there is nothing like the smell of a new book, holding it and turning the pages. I try to get as many tangible books as possible, finance permitting. I like to support my fellow authors especially now I know how blooming exhausting it is to write, market and for pittance!

I have just finished reading John Grisham The Summons. I love John Grisham, he is my go to writer when I need reassurance and comfort. Two days of living in the south states of the USA and I feel much better. I am determined to move down my reading list in 2015 and I have such a wide selection to choose from.

This is part of my current reading list:

John Bishop – How Did All this Happen?

Peter James – Not Dead Yet

Harry Leslie Smith - Harry’s Last Stand

Ann Cleeves – Dead Water

Laurence O’Bryan – Manhattan Puzzle

Benedict Martin – Charlie Robot

Berlie Doherty – Street Child

Stieg Larsson – The Girl who kicked the hornet’s nest

Stieg Larsson – The girl who played with fire

S J Watson – Before I go to sleep

I’m sure I have forgotten some but this is a start. Street Child is my youngest son’s current class reading. I like to read the books they are reading so I can help him with his homework plus he is so impressed when I can talk to him about it – extra brownie points for me!

Reading John Grisham this week made me realise how much I love reading and I am determined to read these books and more this year. After all I am entitled to a short break each day, aren’t I?

This week I’m going back to editing Beyond the Lies. Well, actually I am re-writing some sections of it. There is too much in it and parts of it I don’t like. I’ll let you know how combining writing and editing with reading other people’s work goes.

Let me know what you like to read…

Goodreads Competition


Congratulations to Natasha Dowse in winning a signed copy of Beyond the Past. It is on its way to you. 

Let’s hope this week is less stressful than last week.  Very best wishes for the week ahead.




  1. Pam, you opened my eyes to how I should be reading. I also prefer to read a book before I read the reviews. They often spoil it for you or try to make up your mind for you. That is why I am very careful when I write a review, neither to give away the secrets, nor to press my opinion down as the only valid one. And just like you, I love the work of John Grisham. I've read almost all his books, and more than once. I think I read "The Firm" about twenty times, (finishing the last paragraph I would turn right back to page one and start over); every time rewriting it in my mind the way I would have done it, but enjoying it the way it is.
    And now i"ll go to Kindle and put "Beyond the Past" on my wishlist. Thanks for a great blog.

  2. Thank you so much Sophia, you are very kind. I love reading books over again because you can always find something new that wasn't highlighted in the first read. The Firm is a brilliant book. The film adaptation was excellent but the book is better IMO