Ahead of the publication of the third and final book in her gorgeous Swallowtail Bay series, Katie Ginger reflects on her writing and looks forward to the future.
You’ve all heard of a book hangover, right?
It usually refers to reading a book and is that feeling you get when you’ve enjoyed it so much you can’t bear to part with it and know – for a fact! – that nothing else is going to measure up. It’s the worst. And though it normally passes, it can sometimes take a book or two before it does.
Well, I’ve got a book-writing hangover.
Is this really goodbye?
I’ve so enjoyed creating and living in the world of Swallowtail Bay for the last eighteen months that I really don’t want to leave! The place is as real to me as the desk I’m currently sitting at to write this blogpost. And as I drew inspiration from my hometown of Deal in Kent, and where I currently live in Folkestone (also Kent), stealing aspects of each to create a new, wonderful community, I really don’t want to say goodbye.
I love living by the sea and I think that has come across in each of these books, so switching now to something totally new is a bit unnerving.
Don’t leave me!
Then there are my characters. Stella, Hetty and Nell are all so much wittier than me, braver than me, prettier than me, that I really don’t want to let them go! I want to stay with them and harbour some of their traits (and fashion sense!), and I desperately want them to be my friends! My goal is always to create female characters that my readers love. They need to be like best friends to them and they have been to me too. I don’t want to let them go!
As for the men? Miles gave me the Colin Firth, Mr Darcy feels when I was writing him, but I particularly enjoyed editing John Thornhill, the swoon-worthy hero of Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay because I got to indulge my crush on Richard Armitage (if you haven’t read the book, do! You’ll see exactly what I mean!). I did, however, feel a bit bad for Tom in Winter Wishes at Swallowtail Bay – sorry Tom! You can find out all about him in the final instalment.
It’s time to move on.
My new series is in a totally different location, something much more rural with rolling green fields and a cute village green complete with grumpy ducks. While I’m really enjoying writing it – I’m getting Cold Comfort Farm vibes! – I’m still at that very scary early stage where I’m discovering the place and its inhabitants. In a way, it’s really fun and exciting as these new people introduce themselves to me (yes, I know that sounds mad) but I also have to make notes of everything as I write or buildings end up magically shifting around.
Okay, I can do this.
I’m beating my book-writing hangover by looking at pretty pictures on Pinterest for inspiration and immersing myself in lots of setting descriptions. They probably won’t make the final cut, but for me, it’s an important part of the writing process. I need to really see and feel this place to make it real for my readers. I want them to love it as much as they loved Swallowtail Bay.
I’m getting there and I think by the end of my first draft the place will have made the leap from my imagination to an actual village. I’m even drawing a map to help me.
See, that wasn’t so bad.
The best cure for a book hangover is to read another amazing book and I’m doing that by immersing myself in the wonderful writing of Sophia Money-Coutts’s The Wish List. There’s nothing better to help you get to grips with a new project than reading an author you aspire to be like. It’s certainly helping me get over the last book I read and adored, and pushing me on to make my new series the best I’ve ever written.
Thank you to everyone who has read one of the Swallowtail Bay books, I really hope you enjoyed them and will think about coming along for the ride in my new series in 2021. I promise, I’m doing my best to make it as welcoming, crazy and funny as Swallowtail Bay was. And who knows, it might even be a little bit better!
Pre-order Winter Wishes at Swallowtail Bay, the third and final instalment in Katie Ginger’s beautiful series. Out October 7th.