Today I’m pleased to welcome Heidi James to the blog. Heidi is the author of Wounding and Two Tall Tales and One Short Novel and her latest novel, So the Doves is published by Bluemoose Books on 14 September 2017.
Heidi kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about So the Doves.
So the Doves is about a very successful journalist who has made his career from uncovering corruption and dirty practices – he prides himself on being a ‘crusader for the truth’ but his latest story starts to unravel. It’s about so called alternative facts, the manipulation of the media but really it’s about friendship and how we become who we are. It’s a platonic love story as well as a crime/psychological thriller.
2. Where did the inspiration come from for the book?
That’s a good question! I was I inspired by what’s happening in politics and the media, the transmutation of truth – which isn’t new – but does seem extraordinary now. I wanted to write about a character with integrity, but who questions himself, and is right to, because we can all be guilty of self-serving attributional bias. But more importantly I wanted to write about Melanie, the heroine of the book really, even though she has vanished, because friendships can be there most significant relationships of our lives and yet often they’re not privileged in the same way romantic relationships are.
3. So The Doves is your second full length novel. Is there anything that still surprises you about the publishing process?
Only how lucky I am to work with my publisher, Bluemoose books, and my amazing editors, Hetha and Lin. They’re supportive, constructive and whip my prose into shape.
4. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you? How long does the process take you from first line to completed novel?
I’m a mix of both, I need a sense of the shape – a map almost – but then I go where the words go… I let myself be taken on a journey. I used to be more rigid in the planning, now I’m more willing to experiment and play.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
Not a lot! Yoga, reading. Walks in the woods with my dogs. I’ve become quite the domino champion in our house. But I’m always thinking about writing – either the book I’m writing currently or the new one chewing at my brain.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
That’s tough! I think it would be Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, but now I’ve said that…. hmmmm. Maybe Milton’s Paradise Lost…
7. I like to end my Q&A’s with the same question so here we go. During the Q&Asthat you have done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
Would I rather hang out with humans or dogs?
Dogs! All day long.
About the book
When award-winning journalist Marcus Murray’s latest story uncovers a corrupt alliance between a UK bank, the arms trade and the government, it seems he has triumphed again in his quest for the truth. But he is accused of fabrication and nothing in his life makes sense any more, including the disappearance twenty years ago of his best friend, Melanie. Why did she vanish, and who is the body recently discovered in a Kent orchard? A timeless story of how love and enduring friendship shape who we are, the novel exposes the fault lines in our reality and who and what we believe to be true, including ourselves.
About the author
Heidi James lives in London and lectures at Kingston University. Her poetry, essays and short stories have appeared in numerous publications including, Mslexia, Galley Beggar Press and Dazed & Confused.