Firstly, apologies for the radio silence, but it’s been a busy few weeks. I’ve been editing Book Five which is out in March and now has a title (The Summer Island Festival) and a blurb up on Amazon which you can see here. I’ve also seen the cover and it is beautiful, my favourite cover so far, and I cannot wait to share it with you!
Secondly, this week is publication week! On Thursday my fourth novel, and my first with my new publisher, The Tearoom on the Bay goes off into the world and I’m excited and nervous to see what you all think. It’s been getting fantastic early reviews which I am so grateful for. You can preorder your copy here!
And thirdly, I promised you a post about points of view when writing and finally here it is. I thought this week would be a good week for writing about that as The Tearoom on the Bay was the first book I’ve ever written entirely from one person’s perspective.
First Person Present Tense
The Tearoom on the Bay is written entirely from the first person present perspective of Ellie, who owns the eponymous tearoom. I’ve never written a novel entirely from one person’s perspective before and honestly, I found it a huge challenge. It was really hard to write about all the different things that were going on when I could only look at those things from one person’s point of view. There were several times during the first draft when I had to scrap an entire chapter because there was no way that Ellie would have been there to see that action.
I love reading books that are in the first person present because you can really feel that you are in the protagonist’s head, but you have to stay very focused when you write in this way.
My first book, The Many Colours of Us, was written in first person present too but it was broken up by letters which told the back story from the 1970s and 80s and this really helped to break up the narrative as I wrote, unlike Tearoom where I had to stay very much with Ellie 24/7!
Third Person Present Tense
I wrote my second novel from three different perspectives in the third person present. This is the only one of my books (so far) that I’ve had to entirely re-write. I originally used third person past and there was a lot of head-hopping that really didn’t work and I realised that I needed to make the action far more immediate so I switched to present tense and it worked (but oh my, it’s a hard tense to write in and I know a lot of readers aren’t keen either).
I’m not sure I’ll ever write a book like this again, although Hannah Richell’s new novel The River Home is written in third person present and from several perspectives, and its beautiful (and did make me keen to try again!
First/Third Person Past
I first used third person past tense in my third book, The Pieces of You and Me, but only from the point of view of one of the characters. The main protagonist, Jess, told her story in first person past. The reason I did this was because I wanted Jess to be kept front and center of the story, even when we were hearing from Rupert, and I tried to do this by using first person for her.
With each book I write I try to challenge myself a little more both in the subject matter and the way the story is told. I also try to do something a little bit different with each book and my fifth book is told from three third person past perspectives. Willow and Luc tell the contemporary story and Willow’s mother, Cathy, slowly unravels the past storyline which is set in the 1980s and 90s.
So far there are two things I have never done – write a book entirely in first person past tense and write a book written from a man’s first person perspective. Will I do either of these? Who knows! Watch this space I guess! (I’ve also never written anything in second person, but I’m not sure how that would work to be honest!)
Do you have a particular point of view or perspective that you enjoy either reading or writing in? As a reader do you notice these things or do you not care as long as the story is a good one?
The Tearoom on the Bay is out in ebook Thursday 1 October (paperback to follow on 14th January) you can pre-order here or from Waterstones or WHSmith or your favourite indie bookstore!