Monday, 5 March 2018

Blog Tour Guest Post: Blood Ties by Heather Burnside

Blood Ties by Heather Burnside
Published: 1st March 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 296
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

Today I'd like to welcome Heather Burnside to my blog to kick off the start of the blog tour for her latest novel Blood Ties, which is the second instalment of her Manchester crime trilogy and follows on from Born Bad published last year. Heather is sharing today her tips on writing a trilogy, something which as readers we will know is a daunting task, so thank you Heather.

Adele Robinson is locked up – convicted for the murder of her abusive father. She quickly realises that she'll have to play it tough if she's going to survive, and soon gains a reputation for standing her ground.

Meanwhile, her brother Peter is building his criminal empire on the outside – running protection rackets, seedy nightclubs and all manner of schemes to make a fast buck. He soon comes to the attention of, not only the police, but also Manchester's rival gangs, and a turf war breaks out.

And when things start to get bloody, only Adele can step in to protect the family business. Will she get out in time to save Peter? After all, blood is thicker than water, and when family's in trouble you can't look the other way.

Guest Post: The Challenges of Writing a Trilogy
Hi and thank you for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. I am excited to introduce Blood Ties, the second book in my Manchester crime trilogy.
The opening part of Blood Ties sees our protagonist, Adele, serving time. Adele’s skills as a kickboxing black belt combined with her fiery temper have earned her a tough girl reputation. Because of this she gets on the wrong side of the prison bullies who want to bring her down. Adele then becomes immersed in a battle for survival during her time behind bars.
When Adele finishes her sentence things don’t get any easier for her in the outside world. Unable to gain honest employment because of her prison record, she agrees to do the bookkeeping for her brother, Peter’s businesses. But not all of Peter’s businesses are legal and above board, and Adele soon gets sucked into the seedy underworld of 90s gangland Manchester and has to face the dire consequences.
While Blood Ties is hitting the shops, I’m busy getting the first draft of book three ready to submit to my publishers, Aria Fiction. Publishing a novel brings a tremendous sense of achievement as well as relief that it’s finally out there, and with a trilogy those sentiments are tripled.
Writing a trilogy also brings its own unique set of challenges as it’s important to ensure that each book flows on from the preceding ones. Fortunately, there are ways to keep track of things and I use a few techniques to help me:
Outline – I always draw up an outline before I begin writing a novel. Then, as I develop the novel I flesh it out. To me an outline is important as it helps me to quickly recap if I don’t write for a couple of days. Unlike a lot of authors, I don’t write every day. Instead, I treat it like any 9-5 job and give myself weekends off when I focus on other things.
Character Lists – For me a character list is very important since the characters are essential to any novel. As well as giving physical details of the character, the list should detail their personal characteristics, skills, likes and dislikes etc. I also bear in mind that characters change during the course of a novel and more so with a trilogy. They may change physically in appearance as they grow older and their personalities will also be affected by what happens to them.
List of Place Names – This isn’t so much a list of towns, cities etc. but more a list of homes, pubs, businesses and any other places that my characters frequent. It gives details of what those places look like and how they are set out. So, for example, Adele’s childhood home in book one is situated in Gorton, Manchester. The living room is the first room off the hallway then the kitchen/dining room is at the back. A shabby back garden with a passageway runs along the back of the house etc. etc.
My list of place names has served me well as it’s so easy to lose track when you’re writing a trilogy of over 250,000 words. For example, I almost dropped a clanger with book three when I described the area where a particular pub is located only to find when I checked my list that I had already located it in a different area in book two.
Timeline – This is where I set out the day and week when a particular scene or chapter occurs in relation to the rest of the book. It can be incorporated into the Outline. I would always write a timeline for any novel but for a trilogy it is particularly important so that I can ensure everything fits in sequentially. Otherwise I might make a mistake such as having someone give birth only a few weeks after they become pregnant.
I must admit that I find the timeline one of the most challenging aspects of writing a novel. I draw up a rough guide at the outset but then as the novel progresses other scenes come into play. This often means that I have to make adjustments to the timeline when I have finished writing the novel.
This may seem like a lot of lists but it helps me save time in the long run by avoiding many pitfalls.
I do hope you’ll enjoy reading Blood Ties as much as I enjoyed writing it. Now that I’ve published Blood Ties, I’m looking forward to completing the third and final book in the trilogy.
With best wishes,
 Heather x

About the Author

Heather Burnside is a Manchester-based author who, after taking a career break to raise a family, swapped credit control for writing and decided to study for a writing diploma. Heather had articles featured in several popular UK magazines before publishing her first Manchester-based crime thriller in 2014.
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