A new recipe for Life Without Me

I woke up to an email with this short and tangy comment on my debut novel, Life Without Me. I haste to add it tastes yummy!

A lemon soufflé of a book - light but astringent!

Life Without Me – trailer

Life Without Me is a prequel to Paula Goes to Heaven. It introduces Paula in all her earthly prima donna glory.

Life Without Me is currently on special at £0.99/ $1.25 kindle and £7.99 paperback on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Without-Me-Anna-Legat-ebook/dp/B00TF70FWC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501150413&sr=8-1&keywords=anna+legat

My writing process: the art of premeditation


I am about to start a brand new notebook. It’s a historic event, not only because the notebook is strikingly pretty and it lay in my drawer in a virginal state for about five years, but also because that means I have to tear myself away from my old notebooks – and that’s just like taking out my own tonsils with a butcher’s knife.

My notebooks are the mirror of my soul. They are the first tangible step in my writing process. They help me capture those rare moments of creative genius and commit them to paper before they elope from my mind with all those dirty thoughts and unrealised desires that never quite stay long enough to come true.

Planning is every writer’s secret weapon. It can only be equated with solid and thorough premeditation in the near-perfect crime to be committed. It requires a clear purpose, means and an opportunity. When you write crime thrillers like I do, you can’t allow your reader the slightest glimpse into your planning. So it must be cunning and subversive. It has to play with the reader’s mind.

Did I mention that it was my husband who introduced me to methodical planning? I captured his professionalism in the planning department in this cartoon, which I named The Art of Strategic Planning:

art of strategic planningBut going back to my planning. And MY beloved notebooks. They come in all shapes and sizes and they kept me company through many drafts and re-writes, serving mP1060007e faithfully as the mental and emotional dumping ground for all that has been littering my poor head while I was trying to focus on writing.

I wonder how other writers record their research and keep track of their planning, but I can be meticulous in taking down every detail and plotting the storyline in endless bullet points. I relish the moment when I can tick them off. Done! Next one, please: number four! Except that, despite all that diligent planning, the storyline has a habit of running away from me and taking strange turns, at which point my old planning gets the sack and my new planning goes to a new page where it is recorded in numbered points with every confidence of this being the final version of events. Only to be hijacked once again by some unruly character. So I have pages and pages of plotting the same storyline. Sometimes those pages become so crowded that I can’t read my own writing, but because we are on the same version, I simply cannot allow myself to move to a brand new page. So some pages become a little bit schizophrenic with many voices arguing for supremacy.

P1060008And sometimes (I hate to admit this) sometimes I lose focus and my planning notebooks turn into a graffiti wall with bizarre creatures turning up from nowhere and claiming some sort of executive-planner status. Take a look at these. Don’t ask me who they are and where they came from. I don’t know, but they are in my notebooks. They came to me when I could think of nothing, when I couldn’t write or plan – I just sat there with my pen in my hand. And they came along… They are my imps and my muses and that makes them an integral part of my planning process.

Praise for Life Without Me, my debut novel

Life without me

Life Without Me by Anna Legat, published by Accent Press, May 2015

Magic realism with humour and depth

“Great debut novel; intriguing storyline, humour, attention to detail and a bit of raunchiness too!

Funny, fast paced and original romp through a very different kind of family life. I love Anna Legat’s writing – it’s gritty, acerbic at times and peppered with laugh out loud moments. This book is totally unsentimental, and sometimes too close to home for comfort, but very entertaining all the same.

Life Without Me offers great escapism.

It’s a well written story and observation on modern family life. A clever idea written in a style that keeps you on the page.

This is a fast paced, punchy and gripping novel with no holds barred.” Amazon customers

“The characters are extremely well developed and the story flows smoothly. There is just the right amount of personal angst and tension throughout the book.” Dianne Klein

“A brilliantly written and unflinching story of a family falling apart, written from the unique point of view of a woman whose very existence is hanging in the balance between life and death. An enormously enjoyable and accomplished debut novel.” Grace Lowrie, author of Kindred Hearts.

“Life Without Me takes the reader on a keyhole-peeping ride. The writing is excellent, acerbic and funny. The reactions of the people around Georgie are told through her eyes as she watches from that limbo-land where souls go before they disappear into the afterlife. This is my favourite genre because the “magic” elements throw light on the human condition in ways that realism cannot. I found it easy to go with the scenario and enjoyed the ways Legat played with it. There are reminiscences of The Lovely Bones here, but with a much lighter story to tell. This is an engaging read with multiple storylines coming together to reveal an intricate plot, in both meanings of the word. Although this is a cautionary tale, Legat doesn’t preach. Life Without Me is told with both humour and depth. And just as you’re wondering how it’s going to end, Legat plays with the “magic” to treat the reader to a couple of final twists.” Virginia King, Goodreads.