Blog tour: ‘Mina Mistry Instigates: The Case of the Disgusting School Dinners,’ by Angie Lake, illustrated by Ellie O’Shea.

Today I have the first title in a new series of detective stories for readers aged 7+ Introducing ‘Mina Mistry Investigates.’ I also have a fascinating blog piece from author, Angie Lake, about how her writing process has changed and developed over the years.

Mina Mistry (real name: Mina Snotbridge) has it all figured out. She had big plans to be a private investigator. She just has to make it through the yawnfest which is school, first. Luckily she has her best friend, and pop-star wannabe, Holly Loafer, to keep things interesting.

After a talk at their school about ‘Food Friends’ and ‘Food Foes,’ Mina can’t help but notice that her school canteen seems to serve solely food foes. Why haven’t any of the teachers said anything? Mina smells a (deep-fried) rat. Time to investigate…

This series is sure to be a hit with younger readers. It is absolutely packed with cartoon-style illustrations and interesting layouts to engage children.

I love the fact that Mina keeps files on absolutely anyone and everyone, and that she keeps a decoy diary – the sign of a pro. Readers are going to love piecing together the clues along with Mina, to uncover the evil mastermind behind the tooth-decaying school dinners.

A smart, funny new series with lashing of illustrations for readers aged 7+

Now let’s hear from author, Angie Lake, about how her writing process has evolved:

My writing process has changed over the years, but I think the key thing here is that I have always written recreationally, on a regular basis, going back as far as I can remember. I kept diaries from a very young age and by the time I was ten I had seventy-two pen pals.

I decided to write my first novel when I was twenty-five and it took me ten years to complete. In the midst of this I got involved in writing children’s books and this is what ultimately helped me structure my work method.

Initially I’d just write in bursts whenever I felt inspired… turns out that as you get older life becomes less inspiring.  I’d end up swinging between dry spells where the longer I didn’t write for, the fewer ideas I’d have and obsessive hyper productivity, culminating in a phase of writing for up to 22 hours a day for two months on the trot. That actually broke my brain. I completely lost my grasp on reality and, after a couple of sessions with a bad therapist, I could no longer tell whether the people in my life actually existed or whether they were figments of my imagination. It was one scrape with a padded cell too many.

Nowadays I try my best to write whilst retaining the dying embers of my fading sanity. Writing is currently my main line of work, for better or for worse.

I write 5 or 6 days a week, always in the mornings unless I’m up against a deadline.

I have notebooks where I jot down random ideas and I’m always on the lookout for inspiration, conversations or characters that could make it into a book. 

Life permitting, I like to take time out to clear my head and come up with ideas: I run or hike most mornings before work, I reiterate: “life permitting…”

I plan everything. I impose my own strict rules on myself; then break them and become consumed by guilt and despair.

Ideally a work day should start with an hour and a half of coming up with ideas, about an hour of planning and adapting plots and storylines and three to four hours of writing.

But the reality is that there are also meetings, editing, promotion and other tasks to squeeze in. Usually I rush to get on top of my work load, and just when I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel my day (or week) gets hijacked by an unforeseen task.

Failed attempts at planning aside, as far as structuring books goes, that’s a fairly rigid process.

I’ll come up with a concept and characters for a book or a series and write as if I were working on episodes for a cartoon. 

I come up with an overarching plot and a subplot, then a plot and subplot for each book or episode. Each book gets divided into eight scenes and I start out with a one sentence summary for each scene.

I try to make sure the plot is balanced so dividing it into eight makes sense:

– 2 parts exposition

– 2 parts rising action

– 2 parts falling action

– 2 parts resolution

I write a draft for each scene and then work towards the ending. I never drift; I always know how a story is going to end before I start writing it.

And that’s all there is to it! It’s how we were taught to write in school and, basically, I haven’t updated my knowledge bank since I was ten! I hope this information is of some use to your readers… or of some comfort!

Interesting – so there’s hope for us all yet! Just channel your inner 10-year-old and let your creative juices flow… Thank you for letting us in on your secrets!

Library Girl.

Purchase your copy from Bear Hunt Books HERE.

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