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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Della Galton - Ice And A Slice

I'm so pleased to have the very talented Della Galton on my blog today. I've known Della for a few years now and not only is she a brilliant writer of short stories and novels, but she's also a wonderful writing teacher and all round fantastic person.

Della is here to tell us about her new novel. Over to you, Della.

Writing for the Market – or Writing from the Heart?
Should we write for the market? Or should we write from the heart?  If anyone has ever read my book, How to Write and Sell Short Stories, you’ll know I advise doing a bit of both.
But what should you do when you’re writing a novel?  There’s so much advice out there – lots of it conflicting. After all, it’s such a huge undertaking, writing a novel.  So much time, so much energy, so much pain – pleasure too, of course!
We are told to write within a genre. Otherwise publishers won’t buy our books. We are also told to write something that has the X Factor – what’s that exactly? Most publishers or agents can’t tell you – they just say they know it when they see it.
We are told to write what we know. But also to be a bit different.  And have you noticed that a lot of those big selling books come from completely left field. Who’d have thought that a story about a guy in a boat with a tiger would be such a best seller?
My first two novels, Passing Shadows and Helter Skelter were romances and I wrote them because: a) I love writing romances, and b) I knew there was likely to be a market for them.
My third novel, Ice and a Slice, which isn’t a romance, although it has a love story within it, wasn’t written like that at all.  Here’s how it came about.
I love writing about issues - things that affect a lot of people. They crop up a lot in my work.
I have alcoholism in my family – my father is a recovering alcoholic - so it’s an issue I’m familiar with. But I didn’t want to write a dark book about it. Or not too dark anyway.  I also wanted to write about it from a woman’s perspective.  There are lots of novels that are written about alcoholism, from a woman’s perspective, but fewer that are written about women who are alcoholics themselves.
Ice and a Slice is the story of Sarah-Jane, (SJ to her friends) who discovers she can’t stop drinking.  On the surface her life is fine. She is happily married to Tom (well at least she thinks she is – he works away so much she doesn’t often see him ).  She’s also fallen out with her sister and they no longer speak. But SJ is determined to sort that out one day.
                At least her best friend, Tania, is on her side, although lately Tania is increasingly preoccupied with her own (secret) problems.  SJ feels very alone sometimes and quite scared, but it’s not as though she’s an alcoholic, is it? She doesn’t keep a bottle of vodka by her bed. She doesn’t even drink every day – well not till the evening anyway.    
                It isn’t until she seeks the help of Kit, the hunky guy at the addiction centre, that she realises things may have got a little more out of hand than she thinks. 
SJ is by far the most three dimensional character I’ve ever created. I fell in love with her from the very first chapter.  Mostly I think because she is so flawed and so human.  And yes, she is based on someone I’m close to – although I’m not telling you who J  But one of the reasons that I love this novel  so much – and I don’t say that lightly, I’m the biggest self critic around – is because it’s the one in which I think I found my true voice.
I didn’t realise it was going to happen.  In fact, after so many years of writing, I thought I’d already found my voice – and I think I have as far as short stories go – but novels are different, aren’t they?  The canvas is bigger, the pace is different – everything is different. Although I loved writing my first two novels, Passing Shadows and Helter Skelter, writing Ice and a Slice was like being in another dimension.  It was easy to write – the words flowed out of me – I didn’t have to plan what SJ would say – she just said it. Being inside her head felt like putting on a second skin.  It was an amazing feeling.  And I’ve had some amazing reactions to this novel.   Since it came out at the end of March it’s had 26 five star reviews on Amazon.co.uk and 3 five star reviews on Amazon.com. I’ve pasted the most recent one below. Not because I want to blow my own trumpet, but because I feel humbled that Ice has touched people enough to say such lovely things about it.
I've always loved Della Galton's short stories and I have to say Ice and a Slice is a writing triumph as a novel.

I loved the characters and I can honestly say from when I started reading it I could not put it down - even to go and get a G & T with ice and a slice!

This is a book you must not miss.
My book launch for Ice and a Slice is being held on Saturday 13 July at the Red Lion Pub in Sturminster Marshall. I will be there signing books between 11 and 4. If you’d like to come along I’d be delighted to see you.
If you’d prefer to read the digital version you can borrow it for free if you’re an Amazon Prime customer. Or buy it for £1.94 (less than the price of a glass of Chardonnay) by clicking here.

If you are a little bit eccentric (as I am) you might also be interested in the fact that SJ has her own Twitter account. You can follow her here.
And also her own Facebook page. You can follow that here.
Thank you for reading.
Della Galton x


Anonymous said...

Yes, wonderful book, a real page-turner. It's not often a book that deals sensitively with issues also makes such an easy read.

As for writing for the market, don't get me started - if you don't, your book 'doesn't fit', if you do, it gets nowhere as 'there is a glut of similar stuff'

Sam T

Georgina Troy said...

I love the sound of this book, and having enjoyed so many of Della's stories, I'm going to have to buy a copy.

Thanks for telling us about it.

womagwriter said...

You have to write what you like to read, and just hope there are others out there with the same tastes.

Great blog, thanks, both.

Wendy's Writing said...

I loved Ice and a Slice, Della - really makes you think about that second glass of wine (unless you're on holiday in Greece, that is). thanks for hosting, Helen.

Della G said...

Thank you so much, Sam T. That is a lovely thing to say. You have made my day.xxx

Della G said...

And thanks Georgina too - please do let me know what you think of it, if you get the chance ;)

And Kath, yes, how true.

And Wendy, tee hee, I wish I was on holiday in Greece. :)