Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Clementina by Simon Cann - Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Where Ideas Come From


Where do ideas come from?

Can I let you into a secret?

Promise not to tell anyone?

No writer has ever had an idea, let alone an original idea. Ever.

Alright, maybe I’m being a bit facetious…but not that facetious. At the end of the day there are very few basic ideas—most stories have similar elements. Many, many stories start with “a bad thing” happening. The protagonist then struggles with the consequences of that bad thing until eventually she finds some kind of resolution.

What differentiates one story from another is not the basic idea.

The differences come from the characters and how the stories are told.

Take five different writers, give them the same idea, and tell them to write a story and those five writers will give you at least thirty-eight different stories—just from that one idea.

So for me, an idea isn’t so much about a plot to steal the biggest diamond in the world. Instead, I’m more interested in the human aspect and in particular, what happens to people in adversity. So, to stay with the notion of a diamond theft, I’m interested in the story of the guy who is charged with guarding the diamond and how he reacts after the theft. I’m interested in the woman who is coerced to steal the diamond and why committing a crime is a better option for her.

It’s a small shift but a subtle shift. But it’s also a shift from a newspaper headline to a story. Headlines are great—and they grab our interest—but I’m in the business of telling stories and stories have a depth beyond the hook line. Plus a headline isn’t enough to sustain an 80,000 or 100,000 word book.

I guess your next question is where do those story kernels come from? And again I repeat that no writer has ever had an idea. I just pay attention to the what’s happening—whether that be watching the news or if I’m out—and when I see anything I ask myself about the situation and think about the people involved. And that’s really the key for me—I’m curious about people.

Then if something piques my interest, I write it down—quickly.

I put all my notes into Microsoft OneNote. It’s a great tool which is accessible anywhere and everywhere—on the desktop (for Windows and Mac), on phones (iOS, Windows, and Android), and on tablets. Perhaps more significantly than being available anywhere, OneNote has been supported by Microsoft for years (at the time of writing it’s been around for 13 years)—this gives me some confidence that notes I make today will be available tomorrow.

Having made my notes, from time to time I review them. Some I throw away, some I improve, and some grab me so tightly that they just have to be my next novel.

Leathan Wilkey has been hired to babysit Clementina, a seventeen-year-old whose rich daddy is going through a messy divorce and is over-compensating.

Leathan soon tires of her spending habits, her selfie obsession, and her social media preoccupation as his ward drags him from shop to boutique to jeweler, approaching each with the self-possession that comes from a lifetime of getting her own way and never once having to worry about money.

But when Clementina snaps her fingers and her boyfriend doesn’t come running, something is up. He doesn’t appear because he’s been murdered.

When Leathan investigates, he finds that the boyfriend has no background and met Clementina through a connection made by daddy’s business partner.

Daddy’s business partner who has been slowly and progressively putting daddy in a vice, grabbing more of the business, and who is now menacing Clementina directly to manipulate daddy.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Johnson McElroy and Orville Michael Mallet seemed pleased to have fixed a problem. A problem where I was having trouble understanding what really made it a problem.

The two men—one groomed to look like a logical and rational arguing machine; the other determined to display his individual creativity, which looked exactly the same as everyone else’s individual creativity—shook my hand at the door.

“You know the way out,” I said, as if I had a clue. I only knew how to enter and leave if I was driven by Reece.

The two headed for the elevator and I made my way through the cavernous entrance hall back to the open living space and the kitchen area. The kitchen area, which had more floor space than most apartments I had lived in.

“I should have a word with Clementina,” I said to Angeline Bautista, the housekeeper who had remained invisible while the two company men had been present.

“She’s gone out,” said the housekeeper.

“When?”

“While you talked.”

“Where?”

She shrugged.

“What did Reece say?”

She looked confused.

“Reece—the driver. What did he say?”

The confusion remained. “Nothing.”

“But he must have said something when he came up.”

“He didn’t come up,” she said.

“She went to him?” I could feel the hesitation in my speech as my brain tried to catch up with the situation and make sure my language was unambiguous for the non-native English speaker.

“No. She went out on her own,” said Angeline.

“When?”

“While you talked,” she said with greater emphasis.

“How long ago?”

She tilted her head from side to side. “Ten minutes?” she said. More a question than a statement.

I pulled out my phone and called Reece. “Does Clementina go out on her own?”

“Nope,” said Reece. “Daddy says no.”

“Well, she has.”

Reece swore under his breath. “I’ll be up.”


About the Author:
Simon Cann is the author of the Boniface, Montbretia Armstrong, and Leathan Wilkey series of books.

In addition to his fiction, Simon has written a range of music-related and business-related books, and has also worked as a ghostwriter.

Before turning full-time to writing, Simon spent nearly two decades as a management consultant, where his clients included aeronautical, pharmaceutical, defense, financial services, chemical, entertainment, and broadcasting companies.

He lives in London.

Website: http://simoncann.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/simoncannauthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/simonpcann

The book will be free on Amazon from July 25-29.

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

58 comments:

  1. Hello everyone, it's Simon here.

    Can I start by saying thank you for the kind invitation to participate in this community.

    I'm really looking forward to chatting with everyone and to hearing what you're all reading.

    I'll be here all day, so if you've got any questions, comments, or thoughts, please jump in.

    Over to you!

    Simon

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  2. Congrats on the tour and I enjoyed reading the excerpt :)

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  3. Thank you, Lisa.

    If you want to read more, be sure to jump over to Amazon--I’m giving the book away for free until Friday: http://getbook.at/clementina

    All the best

    Simon

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  4. Thanks so much for the terrific giveaway and al the work you have put into bringing it to us

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  5. Thank you. It's my pleasure, James.

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  6. Sounds like a great book to read!!

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    Replies
    1. Well obviously I'm biased... you can complete that sentence :-)

      But you don't have to take my word--you can check out Clementina risk free. As I said earlier, be sure to jump over to Amazon--I’m giving the book away for free until Friday: http://getbook.at/clementina

      Give the first few chapters a read and come back and tell us what you think!

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Thanks, Rita! I like to think it's a great read (but, yeah... I'm biased). Check it out and let me know what you think.

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  8. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

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    1. Thanks for the question, Becky.

      For me, the answer is pretty straightforward. When I'm writing, I get up in the morning and write for no more than three hours. Within that time I usually write about two-thousands words. I say usually, because I limit my time spent writing rather than having a minimum daily word count.

      Clementina--which is about 80,000 words long--took me 42 days to write.

      That said, I'm a plotter, so for me, the process of creating a book involves more than just the 40-something days spent writing.

      And the plotting for all my books takes quite a while. For me, while I write at a fairly consistent rate, plotting can be a swift task or it can be a long task.

      Or rather, plotting can be a long task, or a very long task :-). My outlines are long--typically, they can be up to about 20% of the length of the finished novel. The outline for Clementina came in at something over 12,000 words (so about 15% of the final word count).

      For me, the plotting usually happens a long time before I write the novel. While I will only write one book at one time, I'll often have several outlines on the go, all in various stages of needing attention. While I spend my mornings writing, often I'll spend an hour or two in the afternoon working on an outline.

      I'm not convinced this is "the correct way to write a book"...but it works for me.

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  9. I really enjoyed reading your guest post and excerpt. I also want to thank you for your detailed and in-depth answer to my question on yesterday's blog post. :)

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    1. The pleasure's mine. Thank you for your kind words and for you time.

      And I know I've said it before, but please be sure that you don't miss out on the free book!

      Delete
  10. Really great excerpt, thanks for sharing!

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  11. Thank you, Victoria!

    And as I've said before, be sure to jump over to Amazon--I’m giving the book away for free until Friday: http://getbook.at/clementina

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  12. Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

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  13. My pleasure, Cali!

    I'm glad you liked the excerpt. Maybe grab the whole book while it's free?

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  14. Hi Simon,
    When you start a new book, do you have all the characters in place and an ending planned, or does it come to you as you write?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the question, Peggy.

      I plot out the entire story before I write the first line. So I'll have all the characters and will know exactly how the story will end (including any twists and turns) before I start writing.

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    2. Thank you for answering my question, Simon.

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  15. I'd like to thank It's Raining Books for the invitation to participate in this community and to thank you all for your kind welcome and the great questions.

    I'll be popping in at regular intervals, so if you've got any more questions, then please keep asking. Alternatively, drop past my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/simoncannauthor/) and say hi.

    And don't forget, Clementina is available for free until Friday. Make sure you grab your copy: http://getbook.at/clementina

    All the best

    Simon

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  16. The name Clementina is unusual. I like it.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mary! I was aiming for a combination of comparatively unique while being likable.

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  17. I'm back saying thank you for the chance at winning this great giveaway

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  18. A bright good morning to you! I really appreciate you offering us this giveaway. Thanks and have an awesome day!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, James. And I hope you have a great day too!

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  19. Hi Simon,
    Who are some of your favorite authors; what strikes you about their work?

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    1. I could give you a very, very long answer, Peggy. But let me try with the abbreviated version and pick out two authors: Walter Mosley (in particular the Easy Rawlins and Leonid McGill novels) and Robert Harris.

      For both of them, there is no one specific element that strikes me. Instead, it is a combination of factors--most particularly, the characters and the plot. All of the novels are intricately drawn, and all extraneous fluff has been removed. The writing disappears and all you see is story.

      If you haven't read any of their stuff, I suggest you do. For Mosley, start with Devil in a Blue Dress and for Harris, Fatherland. But read Clementina first ;-)

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    2. Thank you for answering my question and for the recommendations!

      Delete
  20. Hello! Stopping by and thanking you for the giveaway. Have yourself one terrific day!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, James! You have a good day too.

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  21. Good Morning! Have a great weekend and thanks once again for a great giveaway

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  22. Hi Simon. What do you find to be the most challenging part of writing? And the most rewarding?

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    1. Good questions, Peggy!

      And the and the answer is the same for both questions: creating the story.

      The kernel of the story is a "lightning strike". I just have to write down every idea as it comes to me and eventually one will be right. Once I have the idea, I'm off.

      But taking that kernel idea and converting it into a complete novel that keeps me (and hopefully will keep the reader) gripped until the last line--that is the challenge for me. Suddenly finding the point at which the entire story clicks together is the most satisfying part of the process for me.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for answering my questions, Simon.

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    3. My pleasure, Peggy! I hope the answer was illuminating.

      Delete
  23. Good Sunday Morning to you and thanking you once again for the opportunity you've given us to win.

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  24. Hope you had an awesome weekend. Let's keep it positive as we start the week by saying it's gonna be a great one for all.. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  25. Thanks for the chance at winning, you're awesome! Enjoy your day and have fun!

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  26. Good morning and thank you for brimging us this great giveaway

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  27. I'm back and hoping you're not getting tired of hearing from me. I DO appreciate the opportunity to win this giveaway, Thank You!

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  28. Everyone have a terrific Sunday and thank you for this giveaway

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  29. Happy Hump Day! Time is flying by but wanting to say thank you for the giveaway

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  30. Good Morning! I am back to say thank you once again for the chance to win.

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  31. Good morning ... have a great weekend!

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  32. Happy Monday and thank you once again for a terrific giveaway.

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  33. Stopping by to say hello and thank you for the giveaway. Have a terrific day!

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  34. Rainy morning here in Michigan. Hope your day is bright and sunny! Thanks again for a great giveaway

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  35. Happy Wednesday! Thanks so much for the terrific giveaway and all the work put into bringing it to us. Not sure if you all are appreciated as you should be because from what I read, it is very time consuming and a lot of work put into doing this for us. Thank you so much!

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  36. When you started this book, did you have all the characters in place and an ending planned, or did it come to you as you wrote?

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  37. I outline my books (in detail) before I write. So I knew every character and the ending before I started on page one.

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  38. Thank you for the giveaway. Have a terrific day!

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So... inquiring minds want to know: what do you think?