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Friday, August 25, 2017

Guest Post - How I Write by Raven McAllan

 How I write
Guest post by Raven McAllan

 The writing secrets of Raven...
Sort of.

Let’s face it. I’m not sure they are secrets. I’m one of those lucky people who can and do write anywhere.

It’s a standing joke in my family. I open my laptop and shut off the world. I’m in the world of my characters. Whatever I’m writing, I put that ‘hat’ on and be it. Ya which I write as J Lilley, dark romance, as Kera Faire and both contemporary and Regency as Raven. I get into that mind set and write. And hear nothing. The TV can be on, hubby driving the sit on mower outside my study window, tourists shouting in the lane, and the guy in the nearby house tinkering with his Harley. I block it all out. 

I have a study which opens onto my garden. I can watch the birds and red squirrels if I need a break. I’m only a room away from the coffee pot and the chocolate.

But, study apart, I write sitting in the car if I’m waiting for someone. On the train, on the bus, in airport lounges and on the plane. 

I was on a long haul flight a few years ago, got up to go to the loo, and when I came back a bloke was reading my M/s. (I’d left my lap top open on my table.) He moved in to let me pass. I smiled and told him it was my seat. He moved away and about half an hour later one of the cabin crew came up to me and said the gentlemen in seats ** and ** wanted to know what happened after she (the heroine not the cabin crew member) got on the bed and faced the wall. I handed her my card and said they would need to read the book to find out.

Six months later I got an email. We read it, loved it and have bought several more.

I’m a plotter and a pantster. Sometimes I get an idea. Just a germ of an idea about, ohh say a hot guy who meets the love of his life when she’s not ready to settle down. I know they will get together. That’s it. The story evolves as they work out what they want to do. It’s fun, because I get surprised along the way. Sometimes I wonder if they will ever sort their differences out and give me a HEA. Luckily, so far they have but it is touch and go at times.

Other times I suddenly discover I have a full plot in my head. I make notes so I know it all, and don’t forget anything. Then I make notes about the notes. What I need to check etcetera. I admit the one thing I always mean to do and often don’t, is keep a list of names I’ve used, and the characteristics of my hero and heroine. I often have to go back to check those things.

It’s lucky that I love research. Especially for my Regency. The trouble is, I’ll start off with one thing, go on to another and end up nowhere near where I started, with a head full of non-relevant information. But it might come in handy one day. (At least that’s what I tell myself)

When I need to write a synopsis before the book is actually written isn’t always that easy. After all even with the plot sorted, I know fine well there will be deviations

along the way. Luckily a synopsis before the book is written is only a guide. To show where you intend the story to go and how. A few side turns are okay.

Do I always get it right? Heck no. Do I always enjoy it? Mostly. No one enjoys it when you’ve written something and you know it has to be deleted. Be it 1k or 20. But deep down if it’s not what is needed, I know. It doesn’t matter how much I try to ignore it, in the end that niggle of ‘change it’ prevails. It would be a lot easier and cause less angst if I just did it straight away.

What it all boils down to is this. I write because I can’t imagine not writing. I love it. 

I write as I can, not as I think I should. This is my voice, unique to me, just as yours is to you. It’s no use me trying to copy the way someone else writes, or the way a certain publisher requires. It will be awful. Stilted and lifeless. I can only be me. 

So far people like my voice—or is that voices? Let’s hope they continue to do so.

Happy reading (and writing).

Love, Raven

About Raven McAllan
Raven lives in Scotland, along with her husband and their two cats—their children having flown the nest—surrounded by beautiful scenery, which inspires a lot of the settings in her books.

She is used to sharing her life with the occasional deer, red squirrel, and lost tourist, to say nothing of the scourge of Scotland—the midge.

Her very understanding, and long-suffering DH, is used to his questions unanswered, the dust bunnies greeting him as he walks through the door, and rescuing burned offerings from the Aga. (And passing her a glass of wine as she types furiously.)

Why Raven? EASY!

The Raven is the harbinger of change. My Raven was around a lot after I sent Wallflowers Don't Wilt off to Breathless Press. And then, I was offered a contract. Thanks Raven.

McAllan? EASY!

I live in Scotland. McAllan is a variation of the name of the BEST single malt in Scotland.
What else could I pick?

So O.K. It's a pen name, but one with deep meaning for me. I hope you enjoy reading Raven's books.

Why don't you drop me a note and say Hi?

Looking forward to meeting you.

Raven McAllan also writes under the name Kera Faire.

You can find out more about Raven McAllan on her website and on Facebook.

 Other books by Raven McAllan/Kera Faire


  1. These were some fascinating insights - I've always wanted to know more about the writing process. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  2. I've been meaning to check Raven's work out!


    1. Thak you so much for featuring me. glad I could give you an idea Martyna. Anon, I hope you do. Let me know what you think please(be it good or bad)

  3. What an interesting post! Thank you for sharing your writing process and the meaning of your pen name. I will definitely check out your Regency novels.

  4. Thank you both for commenting. BookLady, I hope you enjoy them.

  5. I loved reading this, love seeing how authors 'tick'. The bit about the people reading your manuscript and wanting to know what happened next made me lol. 🙂

  6. I must admit it name me giggle as well. Even the cabin crew thought it funny. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post.

  7. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it.

  8. Your study sounds nice, that it opens into the garden. Also enjoy the airplane story

  9. I went straight away to Google single malts - the prices go up to £5,500 for a 30-year old Macallan! One day ...!

    1. Once, many years ago at a function, and before it became popular, I was given a glass—a very small glass—of Macallan 35 YO which now sells for silly money. I couldn't believe the amazing taste, (or now the price)
      Thank you for commenting

  10. It's really interesting to read about the process that writers go through. Thank you.

  11. Such a fascinating post. I enjoyed reading about your process and it was fun to learn about your pen name.

  12. Judy And Laura, thank you for taking the time to read and comment

  13. Thank you for being with us Raven! We loved having you :) Love, Anniek & Suze

  14. Your study/garden set up sounds lovely.

  15. I love it. To write with such a view is a real privilege. Ty for commenting

  16. Love that the guys on the plane were reading what you had written on your laptop when you walked away. Perfect.

  17. I really enjoyed reading this! As an aspiring writer I often wonder how other writers work, whether they always do plots first, etc. I often have full scenes pop into my head, but full plot doesn't come as easy, so it's encouraging to hear that you don't always start with a full plot! My characters mostly drive the car, I'm kind of in it for the ride. ;)

  18. I learnt very early on to let them tell me what's going to happen. It's no use fighting it. It saves a lot of time and worry. Thank you for commenting, and good luck with your writing.

  19. Replies
    1. Thank you for commenting. I try to be honest, no point doing anything else really.

  20. I always like learning about author's processes.

    1. I think we all like to discover something about things like this. I do as well. Thank you for comenting