Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I’m very pleased to welcome Charlene Atkins to my blog today and thank her so much for answering my questions! Read on to find out what her replies were and more about her book, A Song For Bill Robinson.
Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?
I originally wrote A Song For Bill Robinson when I was sixteen. I was at the time somewhat inspired by the film The Commitments, and knew I wanted to write a story about a working class boy who wanted to be a singer and who had a huge talent, as well as personal demons and family drama. I never finished the book back then, but in 2016, while having a sort out I discovered the original unfinished manuscript in an old suitcase. Everything was there, from maps of the location, to character profiles! It was a real find and I knew I had to rewrite this story and get it finished. As soon as I got to the end of the first draft I knew there would be a second book and possibly a third, because I just loved the characters so much.
What is your writing process?
Generally what happens is I start getting ideas for a story or my head gets filled with a character who has a story to tell. They’ll stay in the there for a while, because I will be busy working on current projects. But once they start getting too noisy and complicated I will have to start jotting things down in a notebook so that I don’t forget them. This will usually be plot developments, potential endings, character back story and lots of dialogue! By the time I get to write the book for the first time, I will have the gist of it in note form in the notebook and then it’s just a case of filling in the blanks. I will write the first draft in about three months and then spend up to three years perfecting it and sending it to beta readers and going over it and over it until I don’t think I can make it any better. I generally write in the evenings once my youngest child is in bed, and I will write for a good two to three hours non-stop. As I am self-employed, I do sometimes find time in the day for writing as well, and I do carry a notebook around the house with me at all times!
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
I write the first draft using pen and paper. I did this as a kid and recently went back to it, mostly because I always have a book I am editing and revising on the laptop, but then a new fresh one bursting out of my head and demanding time. I tend to write the new one into a notebook at any time I can throughout the day, and work on the older project in the evenings. Once a first draft is finished in a notebook it may have to wait a while to get its turn on the laptop for its second draft, but eventually it will and then the editing, revising and beta reading process will begin.
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
I love them all so much, it’s really hard to choose! Nearly all of them have demanded sequels from me and some of them even pop up in each other’s books, so you can tell I am very attached to them and think of them all as very real. But if I had to choose it would be Danny from The Boy With The Thorn Series, because that was a book I first wrote aged 12 and it has been a huge part of my life since then. I love his flawed, angry but moral character and all the battles he goes through, and I love his passion for music. That book will now be a six part series with a spin-off series, so yes, he’s definitely a character I know really well!
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
Tough to answer, because I tend to put my characters through so much stress and pain that I’m not sure I would want to be any of them! But I think it would have to be Lou in The Mess Of Me as she is the one mostly based on me and my own thoughts and feelings about eating disorders and family drama. I think I would be most comfortable as her.
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
For A Song For Bill Robinson, it’s hard to remember because I wrote the book so long ago! I have no idea how I came up with that one. Often I do have a name in mind for the main charcater, and it will be a name I really like but haven’t used for my own children! The secondary characters can be harder to choose, but sometimes it just comes to me and other times I will scroll through social media and pick random first and second names. Sometimes I ask my followers to help me and they can be pretty good at this.
Read on to find out more about A Song for Bill Robinson and its author, Charlene Atkins.
Tensions are building on the notorious Holds End estate.
The local community centre is fighting for survival and the murder of 15-year-old Lewis Matthews remains unsolved…
Wannabe teenage singer, Bill Robinson, just got out of hospital after surviving a vicious attack. He thinks he knows who attacked him…and why. When a violent feud escalates between him and local thug Charlie McDonnal, Bill vows to find the killer and help save the community centre by taking part in the local singing contest.
How can music bring a shattered community together? And can Bill keep his own demons at bay long enough to win the singing contest and find out who killed Lewis Matthews?
Author Bio –
Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to reading, writing and music and writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life and has now been developed into a 6 book series. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere and award-winning dystopian, The Tree Of Rebels, plus a collection of short stories related to her novels called Bird People and Other Stories. The award-winning Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature was released through Pict Publishing in October 2018. Her next YA novel A Song For Bill Robinson will be released in December 2019. Chantelle has had multiple articles about writing published by Author’s Publish magazine.
Social Media Links:
Website/blog : https://chantelleatkins.com/
Email Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/bVVbGD
Follow the tour:
Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for providing materials for this post and organising the tour it is part of as well as to Chantelle Atkins for answering my questions so well – I enjoyed reading them and suspect my blog readers will, too!