Dreams, Post-It’s & Living With An Author

Two years ago, my very talented other half got a 3-book deal to write a crime series. Getting that book deal was a fairytale – it’s something we used to talk about for years over a few drinks after work. I would joke that when his movie is made, I want us both to have directors chairs with our names on the back (only 65% a joke). So as his second book is being stocked in a bookshop near you, I can’t help but recall some of the hilarities of our life over the past year or so, as James worked his absolute nuts off to craft his book. A little behind the scenes at what those months living with an author was really like…

Wall covered in post it notes

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My amazement started right at the beginning, when research commences. I always thought that you’d just crack on and start writing but with a crime novel based on true events, there is mounds of behind the scenes work to be done before anything is written at all. In fact James’ study became an ‘out of bounds’ area, full of paperwork and notes that to the untrained eye looks like a bit of a mess…but he assures me everything has its place and he knows exactly where to find each note he has written. Tidy at your peril, though thankfully there’s no much danger for us there.

Then as writing gets into full flow, I slowly begin to realise that his work is as methodical as it comes. Each scene in the book is marked by a different post it note with each plotline categorised according to colour (pink, blue and green). The end result, as James admits, is like a scene from Robin Williams’ One Hour Photo. But as I read his book, the structure is impeccable and all down to the post-it wall. It seemed ridiculous at the time, but there’s method in the madness for sure!

A few months into writing, and our baby Emma was turning 6 months, reaching her most tricky age. So as I got to grips with learning the finer details of weaning, a distinct change in the contents of her nappies and working out why she just won’t nap…I realised that James had a baby of his own. Our two priorities seemed to parallel as he was fine-tuning the details of his baby (the book) too. The only distinct difference, was that the book, unlike our little lady, was not a total insomniac.

When we met and worked together, I knew how hard James works. But this was another league of hard work and he would write into the early hours. He always reminded me not to worry, that his creative juices start flowing around 11pm. At which point I felt particularly bad that we’d both be up all night feeding or nursing Emma! Most days he was so focused that he’d work through the day and as he’d come downstairs for a cup of tea, he’d open his mouth to chat and only a raspy sound would come out.

However despite all these little foibles, there are two things that are unmistakable. I’ve never been so proud of him for making his dream come true and inspiring me to follow mine. So if my sentimental ramblings haven’t put you off, do check out Dance With The Dead: A PC Donal Lynch Thriller which is available via Amazon as a paperback or eBook and also in all major supermarkets.

The deadliest secrets lie beneath the surface - Dance with the Dead by James Nally


  1. August 2, 2016 / 6:38 am

    Wow how exciting !! I would love to be a published author!! I have to agree with your hubby, I love a post it they keep me so organised! xx #dreamteam

  2. August 2, 2016 / 6:53 am

    So great that you write a post about his book. I would love to be published one day, in my wildest dreams of course… The book needs yet to be written LOL. It seemed so much work, though… I am a romantic and likes to think of the flow going naturally while you are sitting at your desk, dreaming off at the window…One day, it will be a movie and you will be living in a mansion in Los Angeles!!! #DreamTeam
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  3. August 2, 2016 / 7:05 am

    How fabulous! I do ghost writing…so while my words are in print, my name will never grace the shelves! I would love to get something of my own published one day, such an achievement.

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  4. August 2, 2016 / 7:38 am

    That’s amazing, Bridget! You’re right to be proud of your other half. I keep trying to encourage my fiance to write more, but his confidence isn’t the strongest. #triballove
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  5. August 2, 2016 / 7:51 am

    Wow, a huge congratulations to your other half on his second book, I can imagine you must be so proud! Hard work certainly pays off!

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  6. August 2, 2016 / 8:01 am

    I can only begin to imagine the amount of work that has to go into writing a book. You must both be so proud! It’s lovely that you are both creative and can support each other in your writing. Good luck to your hubby! I have everything crossed for those two directors chairs for you x

    Thanks for hosting #DreamTeam

  7. August 2, 2016 / 8:37 am

    Oh my goodness!!!!!!! This is sooooooooooooo amazing and exciting! Congratulations James! He is living my dream. I will be buying this and telling my family too. We all love a crime thriller. I am so excited for you all! #DreamTeam
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  8. August 2, 2016 / 8:48 am

    That’s amazing – well done to your husband! I’m off to check his book out now. #dreamteam
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  9. August 2, 2016 / 9:04 am

    This is so cool!!! I love that post-it wall, it must take so much to research everything for a crime novel. It’s not my usual genre of choice but I’m tempted to give this a go now!
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  10. August 2, 2016 / 10:05 am

    Wow this is Amazing. So many people want to write a book and he’s gone and done it! Congratulations you must be so proud. #DreamTeam

  11. August 2, 2016 / 10:42 am

    Wow. How inspiring. I’ve always wanted to write a book so it’s great to take a peek into how it really works! Just bought his first book, they sound like just my cup of tea! Excited to get reading! #dreamteam

  12. August 2, 2016 / 11:06 am

    Wow! Good for him! It’s always nice to hear about people achieving their goals. I would so love to be published. One day, I’ll get around to writing that book! In the meantime, I’ll be checking out Dance with the Dead! #dreamteam

  13. Helen
    August 2, 2016 / 11:09 am

    Such an interesting read and so exciting!! Reading about the process of writing a book is interesting – I had no idea 🙂 #DreamTeam

    Helen x


  14. August 2, 2016 / 11:10 am

    Exciting stuff. Tlita amazing that he’s following his dream and you’re thete to help him. I love a good post it note, maybe I should consider becoming a writer :0)
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  15. August 2, 2016 / 11:14 am

    How terribly exciting for your family – both of us dabble in a bit of authoring, and Agatha in particular has a penchant for crime, so this is particularly inspiring for us – GOOD LUCK! #DreamTeam

  16. August 2, 2016 / 12:09 pm

    I have such massive respect for people who manage to write a book. Having tried (twice!), I know how hard it can be. The problem is that I have no mind for planning – I just write as ideas come to me – which makes it pretty much impossible to write a novel because you actually need to plot things out. Good for James! #dreamteam
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  17. August 2, 2016 / 12:50 pm

    You have every right to be proud of your husband. Massive respect to him, I can’t imagine how much work and organisation must go into writing an actual book, a blog is hard enough congratulations to you both #DreamTeam
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  18. August 2, 2016 / 2:23 pm

    This is so interesting, because whenever I read novels with complex plots: twists and unexpected endings, I wonder how on earth this can be conceived and now I know…a series of Post Its! Thank you for sharing this. What an incredible achievement. No wonder you’re proud! Alison x #DreamTeam

  19. August 2, 2016 / 3:25 pm

    That’s really amazing, I love that you’re so proud of your other half. It’s great. I wish I was a better writer to one day have something published, although I do have a poem in a book that was published when I was i primary school, that’s the extent of my fame haha. Great post. #DreamTeam

    Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk
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  20. August 2, 2016 / 3:35 pm

    I know it must be such hard work but you make all this sound really gritty and yet glamorous! I’d love to live in your house for a bit with two creative genius types at work. Emma’s got some cracking genes in her! Love the idea of the post it all. I can’t imagine how an author keeps up with their own plot structure and retains continuity throughout – this is a really interesting post lovely xx #DreamTeam (ps where’s my copy?! )

    • August 2, 2016 / 3:36 pm

      Aw thank you for such a lovely comment! I promise your copy is on its way…J is very determined to take care of it and after emailing the address to him a week ago, he said last night “so send me those addresses yeah?!” *head in hand* LOL! xx

  21. August 2, 2016 / 4:57 pm

    How absolutely fantastic! Congratulations to him! I am definitely looking forward to reading this! 🙂 Big hugs xxx
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  22. August 2, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    Super impressed Bridie! I always think I’ve probably got the tools, but never the inspiration. Sigh. #DreamTeam
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  23. August 2, 2016 / 8:06 pm

    Well done James! How exciting! This would be my dream but I dont think I will get there! You must be so proud although I imagine at times it was very challenging having 2 different babies in the house! #dreamteam
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  24. August 2, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Congratulations to James that is brilliant work. I’m 3 quarters of the way into my first book, a little pressure as I got a literary agent trying to rush me as soon as possible so I know how much work this takes. Amazing achievement to be on book 2 and with a young baby. Well done you as well! I’m sure you’ve helped him along those long hours and days! #dreamteam
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  25. August 2, 2016 / 9:34 pm

    That is so amazing, well done to James! It must be hard sometimes for you though but it’s amazing he has your support. My grandma loves crime books so I might just get her this one as a gift as always looking for recommendations. Tor xx #dreamteam

  26. August 2, 2016 / 10:03 pm

    congratulations to James on his second book, it’s awesome that you took us behind the scenes to how you guys had two babies (his book and your little princess). I find it so sweet that dedicated a post to his new book. #dreamteam

  27. August 2, 2016 / 11:08 pm

    Wow well done to your other half! That’s amazing news. What a lovely post, dedicated to his new book it sounds interesting. xx

  28. August 3, 2016 / 1:01 am

    Wow! Well done James and you too for I am sure loads of support! There is so much that goes into research for a novel!!! You must be immensely proud of him! I will pass this on to my hubby as he loves books like this! Congrats again! #DreamTeam
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  29. August 3, 2016 / 6:51 am

    This is so fabulous!!
    Wow, I had no idea all of the background that went into writing a book either, I thought you just typed, this is quite an eye opener.
    I love a crime novel and have been addicted to Nicci French for years, I think I’m going to Give your hub’s book a go now…
    big love
    #dreamteam xx

  30. August 3, 2016 / 7:31 am

    Well done to James on his second book coming out and how amazing to have a three-book deal. I love the Post-It note wall – it’s such a great technique for planning and structuring a novel – I just wish I had a space big enough for it (sticking them inside notebooks works less well!) #triballove
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  31. August 3, 2016 / 8:33 am

    Yay! A humongous congratulations to you both. A 3 book deal is super inspiring, I can feel how proud you are of him. Writing a blog can be really messy in terms of papers, and thoughts all over the place…so it must be lovely to be able to share that creative writing bug and the time that goes into it. Cheers to my co-host of the #DreamTeam xx
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  32. August 3, 2016 / 9:24 am

    Wow how amazing to have two such creative people under one roof. Hope the book does well! #DreamTeam

  33. August 3, 2016 / 4:45 pm

    This is amazing. I have a lot of respect for authors and well done to him on getting the book deal. I’m obsessed with post it and used to use it them all over my rehearsal room when I was working on a new show. Now I have them all over my fridge … #DreamTeam
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  34. August 3, 2016 / 5:47 pm

    Oh wow – I’m so impressed. I was reading girl on the train the other day and was thinking that it takes real skill to be able to write a book like that , plotting it all out and revealing it bit by bit. Well done to your OH #dreamteam

  35. August 3, 2016 / 8:58 pm

    Exciting time for your hubby. Writing a book is bloody hard work. Post it notes are my love, although my son now steals all mine #dreamteam

  36. August 4, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    The sheer dedication and time that goes into being an author is such an achievement in itself. I really love how you can both connect and express yourselves through writing. Really laughed at the 65% a joke comment about the directors chairs. Who knows it could happen one day. Wishing all the success in the world #dreamteam

  37. August 6, 2016 / 12:26 am

    Oh wow that is amazing!! Well done to him on getting a 3 book deal. I will definitely check it out, it sounds like the sort of book I would enjoy. I read Girl on the Train and Gone Girl on holiday last year, and it always amazes me how the author can plan the plot out and reveal little bits as it goes on.. Post it notes are a great idea. x
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  38. August 7, 2016 / 9:09 pm

    Wow, how exciting! Congratulations and good luck to him (and you guys!). I love a good crime thriller!
    I also love the idea of a post it wall!
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  39. August 9, 2016 / 9:19 am

    Oh wow that’s fantasic!! You must be so proud and a three book deal! I am totally in awe . It’s very interesting to as people like me who are completely uneducated when it comes to writing books just assume you sit down and write. I had no idea how many sticky notes you would need! Thanks for hosting #dreamteam xx
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