A bit more about Abi Silver...
I cannot remember a time when I was not writing stories. Growing up with a house full of books (my parents were teachers), I was inspired from an early age to believe I could join the ranks of my heroes. But I accept that I probably could not have produced “The Pinocchio Brief” without my experience as a lawyer to guide me along the way.
Being a lawyer is just like being a detective. You are often required to construct the whole jigsaw puzzle of your client’s case from its constituent pieces. And you need to be a good judge of character too; the motivation behind people’s actions (which you must glean from their words and conduct) is key to understanding what really happened and why.
I was a pupil of Roundhay School Leeds, and went on to read Law at Girton College Cambridge before wander lust sent me off travelling through Asia, Australia and South America as a student. I also lived overseas in Israel for 5 years, during which time I learned sculpting, pottery on the wheel and began and completed an MBA.
I now live in Radlett, Hertfordshire with my husband and three sons. The peaceful village setting and warm community gives me ample opportunity to write. I usually have at least three plot lines going on in my head at one time and ideas come to be at the strangest of moments. The skill, of course, is to select the one which will work best and then sit down to write.
And today I am super excited to be sharing Abi Silver's day with you all!
I’m at my PC around 8.30. I like a large screen and substantial keyboard, which I tilt by resting it on a book, currently the 2016 National Trust Handbook. I also have my document at around 200% size. Sadly, I am both short sighted and becoming long sighted at the same time (is that possible?) so I push my glasses onto the top of my head and squint at the screen.
I have spent the last ten days with a hard copy of the story so far, annotating and commenting and writing myself scribbled notes. My plan is to work steadily now, editing my novel in soft copy. I intend to plough on throughout the day, without interruption, and finish early to get some sleep. I was writing way into the early hours yesterday and feel rather jaded.
At 8.40 my husband texts to remind me the car has a warning light on the dashboard. A call to the garage leads to a rude awakening for my oldest son (aged 17) to accompany me to the garage (although the unwelcome interruption to the writing day is compensated for by my reading two interesting stories in the newspaper which I will squirrel away to use in the future – maybe). On the way back he tells me his girlfriend will join us for lunch; she has her driving test in the afternoon and wants moral support. I drop him home, buy some fresh bagels and fillings and then remember I agreed to check on my mum’s flat (she is away). I return home at 10.45.
I check my emails; there is one from someone confirming an offer of 8 weeks’ (legal) work. He wants me ideally to start on Monday. The work sounds interesting and I might be able to fit it into my writing schedule. I confirm my interest. Then an email comes through from Dan, my publisher, asking me how I’m getting on with book 2. Might I have a title by the end of the week? I finally start writing at 11.15.
At 12.20 I am well into a new scene and the creative juices are flying. I hear the characters’ voices in my head and make handwritten notes of things to check on Google. Then middle son (aged 15), reminds me I “promised” to drive him to his friend. I break off, toast a bagel for youngest son (13) and leave him munching it whilst heading out of the drive. I am back for 1.10 and pick up where I left off. I finish a scene and take a break to check Facebook and Twitter. In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman “big mistake.” (Yes, I know I am not supposed to like that film).
A friend of mine has said some lovely things about The Pinocchio Brief (my first novel) on Twitter. She has a book out next week and, in addition to “liking” and “retweeting” I find myself looking at her profile and website and stuff about her book. Then I find a video sent to me on Facebook of a friend’s daughter jumping off a cliff into the sea (for fun I should add). I am horrified and add a suitable comment (OMG!) but this only leads to noisy notifications throughout the afternoon every time someone else views the video and expresses similar horror. I notice it’s 2.45 and remember I didn’t eat yet.
Thankfully, there is one bagel left for me from the pile I bought.
I settle back down to write around 3pm and have another productive phase. I am describing someone entering an empty flat after the occupant has died (the death was elsewhere, she isn’t going to stumble on the body!). My visit to my mum’s earlier in the day is invaluable. I can imagine the atmosphere and close my eyes to help me depict it. At 3.45 the garage man calls; the car is ready for collection. I stretch out my tight shoulders and hang out the washing, which has been tumbling around in the machine since early morning. Middle son texts to ask if I can pick him up or should he catch the train home. You can predict the answer. He finally arrives back in an Uber (his friend was paying) just in time for dinner and after I have swept the drive, as the rain of the night before has dislodged acorns and cob nuts from every tree in Hertfordshire and deposited them on our doorstep. Oldest son’s girlfriend has passed her driving test. Hurray!
I settle myself back at the PC around 7.15. My husband arrives home at 7.20. I am ruthless. “Your dinner’s in the kitchen” I say curtly and return to work. At 8pm I hear the unmistakeable tones of Paul Hollywood seaping through the wall; Bake Off has returned. I resist for as long as possible but watch the “show stopper.”
Now it’s serious. I want to finish my editing and there’s loads to go. I drink 3 glasses of water, close the door and really focus. I’m planning to talk to a pathologist friend tomorrow morning and I go back through my manuscript and pull out all I need. I also check facts on Google like “can you survive a 100-foot fall?” (you can – if you’re very lucky) and what the cover of a particular book looks like.
Now it’s past 11. But I’m on a roll. I speak my characters’ lines out loud, I live their anguish with them, I re-read and re-write till my hands are stiff and my eyes are closing. It’s 1.20am. Aagh! I crawl into bed but lie awake for another 20 minutes ruminating on the title again. I am getting closer; it’s within my grasp. But then it’s gone.
Thank you so much, Abi, for appearing on my blog! Make sure you guys check back for another Day In The Life of an Author feature <3
Check out Abi Silver here: http://abisilver.co.uk
Until next time :)