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CS Live: Kimberley Freeman

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September 6, 2013 02:45pmMessage by Culture Street

We are delighted that Kimberley Freeman will be joining us for our next #CSLive web chat.

Kimberley Freeman is the pen name Kim Wilkins uses for her brilliant commercial women's fiction. She was born in London and grew up in Brisbane. She has degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing. Kim lives in Queensland. Her first book DUET(2007) won the Ruby Award. Four other books have followed including her recent release EMBER ISLAND.

Are you looking for tips on how to get published? Whatever your question, join our live chat with Kimberley on Friday September 27 at 1pm. All you need to do is register and post a question.

September 27, 2013 09:43amMessage by Alex

Hi Kimberley, I loved Ember Island. I have also read Lighthouse Bay. In both books you write in dual timelines. Why?

September 27, 2013 12:19pmMessage by Rebecca

Hi Kimberley! Do you think the term ‘commercial women’s fiction’ limits a book?

September 27, 2013 01:00pmMessage by Culture Street

Join us in welcoming Kimberley to our Friday CS Live chat.

Kimberley Freeman, author of DUET (which won the Ruby Award), GOLD DUST, WILDFLOWER HILL, LIGHTHOUSE BAY and most recently EMBER ISLAND, is online now to answer all your questions on getting published and writing novels. She will be with us until 2pm so get your questions in now ...

September 27, 2013 01:01pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

Hello, everybody!

September 27, 2013 01:03pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

Alex wrote: "Hi Kimberley, I loved Ember Island. I have also read Lighthouse Bay. In both books you write in dual timelines. Why?"

Hi, Alex. I'm so glad you liked the books. As a writer, you are kind of stuck in your own head a lot, so it's always a lovely surprise to find people like your work.

I like dual timelines because I find straight-up historical a tiny bit dry. I like for there to be some kind of link to the present. It's as though the modern character provides an access point for the story, to make sense of the different time period.

September 27, 2013 01:03pmMessage by Jonny

Hi Kimberley!

i was wondering why you write under two different names?

September 27, 2013 01:04pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

Rebecca wrote: "Hi Kimberley! Do you think the term ‘commercial women’s fiction’ limits a book?"

Hello, Rebecca. In a way, all genre labels limit a book. But they are one of the ways that books are made sense of in a market. At least people know what they're getting. If, for example, a man wanted to read a sea-faring book like Patrick O'Brian, and he bought my book "Lighthouse Bay" because it wasn't strongly marked with its genre, he'd be bound to get disappointed I think!

September 27, 2013 01:07pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

Jonny wrote: "Hi Kimberley!

i was wondering why you write under two different names?"


Hello, Jonny. When I started writing the Kimberley Freeman books, I was known predominantly as a writer of quite dark fantasy fiction (even though my books have, to a certain extent, always been mystery stories set over two time periods). My agent and I discussed it, and we thought people who liked my dark fantasy wouldn't necessarily like the KF books; and people who liked commercial women's fiction may see my name and think "not her, she writes scary stuff". So I chose my grandmother's maiden name (Freeman) as a pseudonym.

However, Kim Freeman sounded like it might be a man, so I added the "berley".

September 27, 2013 01:11pmMessage by Culture Street

Hi Kimberley, Thanks for joining us today. Aspiring writers with young children struggle with finding the time to write. How do you manage your writing time with two young children?

September 27, 2013 01:14pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

Well, my opinion is that kids sleep a lot. All you have to do is write when they sleep. So I tend to get up very early and write. But sometimes, on school holidays, I'll offer them a movie lunch (which involves, of course, a sandwich and a movie on the couch) and I write as much as I can. The longer the movie the better.

September 27, 2013 01:19pmMessage by Helena

Hi Kimberley,
I was wondering where did the inspiration come from for Ember Island?

September 27, 2013 01:23pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

I grew up at a place called Redcliffe, which is on Moreton Bay on the south-east Queensland coast. I'd always written about exotic places, but when I wrote Lighthouse Bay (which is set on the Sunshine Coast) I got a real taste for local history. So I started poking around in the John Oxley library, and I found a whole bunch of information about the various institutions on Moreton Bay islands in the 19th century: leper colonies, and boys' homes, and a maximum security prison. I loved the idea of an island that was a place at the very edge of the empire, where mysterious things could happen. I was also interested in the idea of women's tempers (perhaps because my daughter appears to have a very bad temper!) and how we try to control them. Put those ideas together and you get Ember Island!

September 27, 2013 01:25pmMessage by Alex

Hi Kimberley, Do you have any advice on writing a first draft? How do you keep motivated?

September 27, 2013 01:29pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

You need to think about the entire story arc, how the beginning transitions to the middle and the middle to the end, so that the shape of the story is in your head (not particularly detailed) before you start. That means the first draft will not go horrifically off the rails. You also need to be forgiving of yourself and prepared to write crap, basically, and trust that you can edit it when you're done. Don't do extensive editing during the drafting process. Fixing something small here and there, or cutting a section that's not working and replacing it with something else, are all fine. But if you are taking months on the first chapter, then there is something wrong. Get it down. Keep moving.

I keep motivated because I love love LOVE writing so much! The task at hand always gives me joy, even when it's driving me insane.

September 27, 2013 01:30pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

As an aside to my earlier discussion of working with children, mine are hanging all over me at the moment. So far during this chat, I've had one drop a biscuit on my keyboard and another one say the word "Mummy" eleven times in a row trying to get my attention. I guess I'm getting better at blocking them out!

September 27, 2013 01:34pmMessage by Jonny

while you;re talking of the process involved... do you write your books from an outline?

September 27, 2013 01:36pmMessage by Rebecca

Thanks Kimberely. How long does it usually take you to complete a novel? What are you working on now?

September 27, 2013 01:36pmMessage by Culture Street

So many aspiring writers are keen for helpful advice. What is the best writing advice you have ever been given?

September 27, 2013 01:36pmMessage by Rebecca

Rebecca wrote: "Thanks Kimberely. How long does it usually take you to complete a novel? What are you working on now?"

Kimberley***

September 27, 2013 01:37pmMessage by Jutta1

I quite like dual timeline stories but I found Ember Island unbalanced with much more devoted to Tilly's story than to Nina's. I persnally did not find Nina a very interesting character and Tilly's story dragged on too much for me. I found Nell the most interesting character in the book and would have liked to have followed her life into adulthood.

September 27, 2013 01:38pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

Jonny wrote: "while you;re talking of the process involved... do you write your books from an outline?"

I always outline the story before I write. First, in very vague detail. Then a large chunk (e.g the first 5 chapters) in slightly more detail. Then one to two chapters in very close detail. Then I write. Then I plan a bit more and write a bit more etc.

September 27, 2013 01:40pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

Rebecca wrote: "Thanks Kimberely. How long does it usually take you to complete a novel? What are you working on now?"

Ember Island is my shortest turnaround yet. It took 3 months from first word to last. It just fell out! On the other hand, I'm STILL working on another book that I started thinking about in 2007, drafted in 2010, redrafted in 2012, etc etc. I think it might be done soon. I hope it will be!

I'm about to start writing the next Kimberley Freeman over summer. It's set in the 1920s at a posh hotel in the Blue Mountains. I'm pretty excited. Working title is Skylark Falls.

September 27, 2013 01:40pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

Rebecca wrote: "Rebecca wrote: "Thanks Kimberely. How long does it usually take you to complete a novel? What are you working on now?"

Kimberley***"


Don't worry about it, I'm always mistyping stuff!

September 27, 2013 01:42pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

Culture Street wrote: "So many aspiring writers are keen for helpful advice. What is the best writing advice you have ever been given?"

Stephen King said: "Life is not a support system for art. It's the other way around." Your family and friends and pets etc are all more important than your writing. Do it because you love it and it's fun and so on, but don't sacrifice a good, full life for it.

September 27, 2013 01:43pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

But in terms of writing advice that's actually about the craft? My best advice is pay more attention to the verbs you use. Verbs are the muscle in a sentence. Avoid wishy washy ones like "to come" "to go" "to be".

September 27, 2013 01:44pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

Jutta1 wrote: "I quite like dual timeline stories but I found Ember Island unbalanced with much more devoted to Tilly's story than to Nina's. I persnally did not find Nina a very interesting character and Tilly's story dragged on too much for me. I found Nell the most interesting character in the book and would have liked to have followed her life into adulthood."

Maybe you should write a sequel then.

September 27, 2013 01:49pmMessage by Culture Street

Are there any particular authors who have influenced your writing? Do you think aspiring authors should read the same genre they would like to write in?

September 27, 2013 01:50pmMessage by Culture Street

We have 10 minutes to go before we close down the discussion. Final questions now!

September 27, 2013 01:52pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

I think aspiring authors should read really widely across genres and across time. My love of medieval literature is all over Ember Island, for example. But also, my love of chick lit! I couldn't name one author who has influenced my writing: dozens of them in have in dozens of ways. Romantic poems, Old English elegies, Victorian novels like Jane Eyre, fantasy like Tolkien and Marian Zimmer Bradley, romantic comedies like Marian Keyes. I love books and words and writing, and I try to absorb as much as I can. It's all fuel for the fire, so to speak.

September 27, 2013 02:00pmMessage by Culture Street

Thank you Kimberley! We are out of time. Some fabulous answers to posted questions. Great discussion.
Stay tuned for our next #CSLive chat.

September 27, 2013 02:01pmMessage by Kimberley Freeman

Thanks so much, guys! Have a brilliant weekend!!!

This discussion is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated.

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