‘Frostfire,’ by Jamie Smith, cover by Karl James Mountford.

Today is my stop on the ‘Frostfire’ blog tour and I have a special post by Jamie Smith about Programming vs. Writing.

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Sabira is honoured to have been chosen to travel high up the dangerous mountain trail to bond with a frostsliver (a sentient fragment of the living glacier which looms over her home.)   Although it is indeed a great honour, the journey is fraught with peril and Sabira will need to keep her wits about her to make it back down to safety.

A gigantic avalanche threatens to end her opportunity to bond with her frostsliver  and end the lives of Sabira and the team who travelled with her.  But Sabira is determined that she will make it back home to her people and start doing some good.

All that stands in her way is a treacherous, snow-covered mountain which is hiding deadly secrets within its concealed caves and tunnels, dwindling supplies and an explosive secret…

I started reading this on a five-hour train journey home from Newcastle and, despite interruptions from my children along the way, had so nearly finished it by the time we arrived back! I had to wait until the next day to read the last few pages – agony!

I became completely absorbed in Sabira’s story and struggle for survival as the atmosphere became more and more tense, and conditions within the story more and more claustrophobic.  The pace kept ratcheting up as I approached the end of the tale, until it reached a somewhat apocalyptic climax.  I enjoyed that, as well as Sabira’s strengths, we also saw her weaknesses and self-doubt, making her a more well-rounded character.

A magical, fantastical adventure with love and family loyalty at the heart. 9+

And now I am delighted to introduce Jamie’s special blog post:

882FAAB9-02AB-479C-A2C0-2AF29B2DAAD9Programming vs Writing

My day job isn’t writing. It isn’t even writing adjacent.

I work programming retail software – the kind of thing shops use to manage their stock. You might think that’s a strange match for an author, and it can be. The skills don’t fit one to one, certainly.

I’ve heard of programmers turned novelists that find themselves unable to write after a day of heavy brain work. That’s never been all that true for me. I find that one job is warmup for the other, and back again. Both feel a lot like puzzle solving to me, with skills required that are just different enough to prevent fatigue.

Still, I can’t deny there’s a link between figuring out a knotty bit of code to squash electronic bugs and untangling the myriad threads of a story. At the bottom of them both its about getting your thoughts out in the world in a way that makes them make some kind of sense to others.

If I were given the opportunity to go full-time with writing, I might well take it – but there would be a part of me that missed the logic of the old job. It’s what trained me to think critically about my own work. It taught me the importance of following the path back, step by step to the source of the problem, and it is work that holds more creativity behind it than most people know.

Like writing, coding can be beautiful – or ‘elegant’ as programmers tend to put it. There are thousand upon thousandways of summing up figures or giving you buttons to click, just as there are countless ways to write an action scene in prose. I enjoy the variety, and maybe always will.

Will the two continue to inform one another throughout my life? Perhaps not, but I’m glad I have both disciplines behind me. I think having other aspects and skills can really help a writer grow, given the right circumstances.

I know it has made my work better – if only in helping me ensure that my world building makes sense.

Still, I can’t promise that all my worlds remain bug free.

FROSTFIRE by Jamie Smith, out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)

Find out more at www.chickenhousebooks.com and follow Jamie @JamieHBSmith and jhbsmith.com

Thank you to Jamie and the Chicken House team for organising this special post and blog tour.  Make sure you all take a look at some of the other stops for more exclusive content.

Library Girl.

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