Guest author – Liam Livings

It’s the boy in the jacket! Delighted to have Liam (with whom I’m on a panel at Purbeck Lit Fest) back here. And he brings gifts – a copy of his latest book, which will go to one lucky commenter when the random number site makes its choice on February 12th.

Escaping From Him by Liam Livings
Darryl’s on the run – from controlling boyfriend Chris, an air-conditioner called Dave (deceased), an intolerable, claustrophobic situation and a person he just can’t be any more. The trouble is, he doesn’t have a plan – or any money – and all he knows is he needs to get away from everything. That’s where a lucky lift to Glasgow comes in, which turns out to be just the beginning of a whole new life …

Do your characters feel like they have minds of their own, or are they putty in your hands?
*balancing hands, palms turned to the sky* Half and half. That’s a bit of a cop out isn’t it? So, I write character biographies before I write my novels, all the basic info about the characters. I also plan my novels, scene by scene, Post it note by Post it note. So, usually I know what they’re going to do. However, sometimes while I’m writing I find out something new about the character which means the original plot idea wouldn’t make sense. In this case the character does take over in the driving seat – for a bit. I may stop writing, then plot out the new scene befitting of the new aspect I’ve found out about the character, and then I’ll write it.

When I’m really writing fast, and the words are flowing faster than my fingers can type, I sometimes feel as if I can *see* the characters in my mind’s eye, acting out the scene in front of me and I just have to write down what I see. This often happens when I’m plotting too – so there’s plenty of fun and creativity for me at the Post it note plotting stage too. And then when I’m writing, I see/hear the characters talking to one another in my imagination and all I do is type it down. Blimey, that sounds pretentious and weird doesn’t it? I’m not all *closes eyes and pinches nose* ‘I wait for the muse or I can’t write’ about it, I’m really not. I sit down and write, whether I’m in the mood or not, when I have allotted time to write, I make the most of it and I write damn it. If I’m not sat at the laptop there’s no way I’m going to write, so by sitting there, and writing my way out of a block, just free writing anything, rubbish I know I’ll have to edit loads later, I often write myself back into the scene, and into that magic bit with the mind’s eye working its sparkles. And it’s in that magic sparkles part when the characters sort of take over things. But often I’ve had a bit of magic with the characters when I was planning their journey with Post it notes anyway. So you see, sometimes I’m in charge of them and sometimes they’re in charge of me…as I said, half and half. 

EXTRACT – Darryl gets in his boyfriend Chris’s car which jogs a memory

I ran to the car, I started it, glanced at my bag on the back seat, containing all I gave a shit about in the world, took a deep breath. Am I this person? Am I going to be this new person, or am I incapable of doing it?
I stared at the kitchen window where I’d stood making dinner for my Bath friends one evening. The same evening Chris had refused to eat what I’d cooked because the pasta was little bow ties, and not little twists. “You know I don’t eat the bow ties, babe. What can I have instead?” he’d asked, the guests looking at their plates intensely.
“We don’t have any little twists left.” I had looked at the bowl of pasta in the middle of the table.
“What about spaghetti, I like spaghetti.”
“We don’t have any left. I checked. I thought it’d be fine.”
And he’d grabbed the car keys, shouted, “It’s fine, I’ll get it,” before slamming the door.
The memory of that night in the bedroom, once my friends had gone, still couldn’t wipe their faces from my memory as he slammed the door. No amount of tantric up-all-night-sex could do that.

About Liam Livings
Liam Livings lives where east London ends and becomes Essex. He shares his house with his boyfriend and cat. He enjoys baking, cooking, classic cars and socialising with friends. He escapes from real life with a guilty pleasure book, cries at a sad, funny and camp film – and he’s been known to watch an awful lot of Gilmore Girls in the name of writing ‘research’.
He has written since he was a teenager, started writing with the hope of publication in 2011. His writing focuses on friendships, British humour, romance with plenty of sparkle.

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