Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Guest Post - Ann O'Loughlin's Writing Process - Blog Tour - #LudlowLadies

I am an early riser and usually you can hear me tapping away at my keyboard at 5am. There was a time in my house when the dogs would enthusiastically greet me when I sat down to write at such an early hour, but now with my third book The Ludlow Ladies' Society sent off in to the world, just two sleepy dogs snuggle further in to their baskets. There isn't even the wag of a tail.

The dogs know it is too early and they also know there is no time to give them attention as I sit in my big comfy chair in the kitchen wrestling with the words and the word count.
When I was writing The Ludlow Ladies' Society, I lived on toast and marmalade in those early hours.

But I never even have a sip of tea until the first 500 words are set down.

After the first 500 words, I reward myself with a big mug of tea and brown bread toasted with a nice fancy marmalade on top. That sets me up nicely for the next 500 words and hopefully even 1000 words as the characters fight it out inside my head vying with each other for space on the page.

That is the way it happens for me. Characters have a way of sneaking in to my head and setting up home.

First a germ of an idea takes root, constantly agitating, making me wonder ‘could I pull a story from here?’ But it is when the characters start talking that the fingers can do the walking across the keyboard.

Some writers use story boards, plaster walls with notes or fill notebooks full of interesting phrases and ideas to use at an appropriate time. Some writers sketch a picture of their characters with words. They even know before they write the first line of chapter one their main characters, the traits, foibles and eccentricities that will make them stand out. They also know the storyline and all the minor characters who weave their way through the pages of the book. Some writers are extra lucky; they even know the ending.

How I wish it was like that for me. But it is not. The story; the characters and the twists and turns; all of it rattles inside my head, competing for my attention, only revealing themselves as we move along, getting the first words down.

If the idea is going to work, the characters lead the way designing their own destinies, only giving me the satisfaction that when they are shouting the most and bossing me senseless, do I get my best writing done.

Maybe that is the reason I have to get up so early, there are too many voices in my head and characters waiting to jump on the page. My favourite parts of The Ludlow Ladies' Society were the scenes where the women are stitching memory quilts and chatting. As Eve, Connie and Hetty stitched, sewed and told each other stories, I have to say I did not feel so alone on my early morning writing shifts.

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin is published 20th July, price £12.99

Connie Carter has lost everyone and everything dear to her. Leaving her home in New York, she moves to a run-down Irish mansion, hoping to heal her shattered heart and in search of answers: how could her husband do the terrible things he did? And why did he plough all their money into the dilapidated Ludlow Hall before he died, without ever telling her?

At first Connie tries to avoid the villagers, until she meets local women Eve and Hetty who introduce her to the Ludlow Ladies’ Society, a crafts group in need of a permanent home. Connie soon discovers Eve is also struggling with pain and the loss of having her beloved Ludlow Hall repossessed by the bank and sold off. Now, seeing the American Connie living there, the hurt of losing everything is renewed. Can these women ever be friends? Can they ever understand or forgive?

As the Ludlow Ladies create memory quilts to remember those they have loved and lost, the secrets of the past finally begin to surface. But can Connie, Eve and Hetty stitch their lives back together?

Purchase from Amazon UK

About Ann O’Loughlin

A leading journalist in Ireland for nearly thirty years, Ann O’Loughlin has covered all major news events of the last three decades. Ann spent most of her career with independent newspapers where she was Security Correspondent at the height of the Troubles, and was a senior journalist on the Irish Independent and the Evening Herald. She is currently a senior journalist with the Irish Examiner newspaper covering legal issues. Ann has also lived and worked in India. Originally from the west of Ireland she now lives on the east coast in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two children. Her debut novel The Ballroom CafĂ© was a bestseller, with over 250,000 copies sold in eBook alone. Her second novel The Judge’s Wife was an Irish bestseller for 5 weeks, and was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel Award in February 2017.

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