17 February 2017

Blogtour: Cursed by Thomas Enger

It's my turn on the Cursed blogtour today - that's NOT a blogtour wracked by catastrophe and evil, indeed the very opposite, it's the tour for the distinctly superior and noirish novel Cursed by Thomas Enger, which follows Oslo journalists Henning Juul and Nora Klemetson.

They divorced following a tragedy, and it's pretty clear they're both, in their different ways, still reeling. Waves of guilty, denial and anger wash around this suspenseful book.

When I read something like this I always wonder just how the author does that? So I was really pleased to be able to invite Thomas on here to talk a little bit about how he writes...

Thomas Enger - My Work Day

"Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work."

The quote belongs to the one and only Stephen King, not yet my BFF, but Mr. King definitely is someone whose thoughts I give a lot of credit and weight, as he certainly ranks up there among the great minds of this craft called writing.

Thomas Enger
I've been writing professionally for the past eight years or so, and one of the things I have learned over the years, is that if I'm ever going to get something down on paper, I can't just hang around and wait for that angel called Inspiration to appear and tell me what to do. I just sit down and write, and when I'm doing my first drafts, I don't pay that close attention to syntax or structure, I just write. Whatever comes to mind, almost. I find it best to at least have something to edit rather than nothing. First drafts are also just a way for me to get to know my characters and my story, which is why spending a lot of time writing as beautifully as I possibly can in a first draft, really is a waste of time, as I would have to change a lot anyway in the second or the third draft.

But I'm getting ahead of myself a little here.

My average work day looks something like this: I get up, have a cup of coffee or seven while reading the morning newspaper. I make sure the kids get to school in one piece, and then the house is quiet enough for me to get to work. Not that I totally rely on peace and calm to be able to work (I can easily work in an airport or on board a plane), it's just better to avoid any outside distractions.

I usually check the online newspapers as well for a little bit, I check my social media feeds, see what's going on in the world, and then I answer or write some e-mails if I need to. Then I clear my head and get to work.

But because writing is a very intense form of work, my brain just shuts down after a while, at least in the creative sense, and that usually happens three or four hours into the day, and then I just have to something else for a little while. For me that usually means going to the grocery store or to go for a run on the treadmill down in the basement. I like to stay in shape, and I also find that running sometimes enables my mind to relax and think without my thinking about thinking. If that makes any sense. Sometimes a solution to a problem just appears out of nowhere when I'm running, so exercise is a win-win situation for me. I get a break away from the computer, I get exercise, AND some work done at the same time.

Then I have lunch and work for a few hours more before the kids come home. Sometimes I even work a few hours after dinner as well. Depends on how much work I've been able to doearlier that day.

What I'm not particularly good at, is to shut out all the e-mails and SoMe things that are popping up constantly. I'm way too curious to just let things be until I'm done working, so my work day is a bit fragmented.

I don't subscribe to the notion that it's a good idea to have a word count every day. I know a lot of authors do that, but I don't really care; I just write. And I like to write a little bit every day, even on weekends and sometimes even when I'm on vacation. It depends on where I am in the process and when my deadline is.

Writing, to me, is almost like an obsession. When I start working on a story or a project, I just want to keep at it until it's finished. But I am a family man also, and I can't just escape into my fictionary world and stay there as long as I want.

One thing I've learned over the years is that the whole "being an author" thing isn't just about the actual, physical act of writing. There are so much more to it than that, and a lot of time goes by just thinking about what I'm going to write, and how I'm going to solve this or that problem.

And because my books have been translated to a lot of countries as well, I am very fortunate to get invitations to book festivals and launches here and there, so quite a bit of time goes into travelling and helping the organisers with the relevant material they need, whether it's blog posts or pictures or synopsises of my novels.

Sometimes even reporters want to talk to me, so in order to promote the things I've written, I say yes to almost all kinds of inquiries. That also includes helping kids with school projects (if they want to write about me or my books).

So it's a challenge to have sufficient time to do what I love the most, which is to write. But I try to do it as often as I can, and to the very best of my ability, even if the angel Inspiration hasn't poked me and told me what to do.

I just get on with it. Which is what I'm going to do now.

Cursed was published by Orenda Books on 15 February and is available at your local bookshop or here, here or even here.

The blogtour continues - don't miss tomorrow's stops at Chillers, Killers and Thrillers and The Quiet Knitter.

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