Sunday, January 03, 2016


How many of us have started the new year with resolutions, to eat better, exercise more, write that book?

Well, for those of you who have a story to tell but haven't yet got around to starting it, here's my advice:
 Don't get it right, get it written.

Once your story is out of your head, on paper or on the computer, you can edit and polish it into a work of art. You will be able to see whether it is long enough (or too long), and where it has flaws or weaknesses that need to be addressed, but you can't do any of that while it is floating around inside your head.

One of my favourite books began with just a nebulous idea for writing several romances set in two worlds, almost a thousand years apart. I wanted to weave together the story of Hugo the Crusader, longing to be remembered, and the modern day villagers of Moreton in Fleetwood: there's Deborah, unsure of her heart, and the widow Anne, searching for the truth about the old parish church. This was quite a departure from my romances et in the Regency period and meant I had to read up on a lot of things, including early English history, old churches, the crusades and the Holy Land. Any one of those subjects could take a lifetime of research, but I had to restrict myself to reading enough to give me facts to provide the background for my story and a flavour of the period. It takes discipline not to get so sucked into the research that you never get your book written, so I needed to be firm with yourself – after all I am a story teller, not a historian. And thus was born Casting Samson, which has one of my all-time favourite first lines.

 “What we need,” Miss Babbacombe said, “is a male stripper.”

 So Happy New Y ear to you, and I hope 2016 is the year you actually get that book written.


Melinda Hammond.

Casting Samson is published by Carina Press
and is available from their website or
from Amazon and all good online bookshops.