Wednesday 16 December 2015

The Z Files: Heather Burnside ~ Virgo

Astrology ~ a bit of fun, a load of rubbish, or something to take seriously?

I invited around 70 writers/bloggers to write a piece about how typical they are of their sign, and how its traits affect their writing life ~ if at all...

Has your favourite writer been featured yet?  Links to all previous posts at the end of this one :)

Okay, everyone mind your Ps and's another Virgo, gritty northern crime writer Heather Burnside!!  Heather's two Manchester based crime novels are steaming up the Amazon chart, and she is is happy to offer her multi-genre short story collection, Crime, Conflict and Consquences, free ~ please click HERE if you're interested. 

Heather's piece is another one of those that says so much about her sign that it's just one big celebration of Virgo ~ let her tell you all about her sixth sign self

"I think the way in which I approached this article says a lot about whether I am a typical Virgo. I asked Terry for some pointers on Virgo characteristics and copied these down along with some information I gleaned from the Internet. I then highlighted those characteristics that I identified in myself, and which I believed influenced the way I work. There were a few words that cropped up repeatedly, and I recognised these all too well. 

A bit of a methodical approach, you might say. Perhaps a bit too meticulous and pedantic, bordering on the anally-retentive, in fact. Yes, that’s me; I’m definitely a typical Virgo so the following words also apply:

Exacting, organised, worrier, overcritical, indecisive, obsessive, compulsive, mentally astute, perfectionist and reserved."

"But before I send you running for the hills at my description of a neurotic bore, I should add that I also have a great sense of humour, which I sometimes incorporate into my writing. Other positives are that I’m loyal, loving, kind, helpful and reliable." 

So how does all of this affect my writing life? 

It can have its advantages but it can drive me to distraction as well. I’m incredibly organised so I have lists for everything – character lists, lists of place names for each novel, To Do lists, marketing lists etc. The pluses are that it helps me to keep track of everything. I also find character lists and lists of place names invaluable for ensuring consistency, especially with a trilogy. On the negative side, because I’m self-critical and obsess about things, I am always thinking there is something I have left out.  

I draw up an outline for each novel, which acts like a framework that I build onto. Despite my exacting nature, I’m not totally inflexible and my compulsions mean that I often get an idea for a scene much later on in the novel. It’s usually something that’s really impactful, and I know that I have to write it as soon as possible before it becomes diluted. Because I’ve kept a detailed outline, I can write out of sequence without losing track of where I’m up to."

"As regards book promotion, I’m reserved so I find promotion the hardest thing of all. I hate pushing myself on people and am constantly preoccupied that I’m not doing enough to sell my books. As I’m loyal I always try to support other authors and bloggers who I’ve befriended."

Yes, yes, I had to stop myself doing the whole thing in bold, a bit like I did with another lady of this sign HERE! ~ you agree about the ultra-Virgo-ness, I am sure!  If you would like to know more about Heather's books, you can read about them HERE, and also follow her on Twitter.

I must admit, it's getting a bit hard to find suitable famous writers according to sign, so, although she has nothing to do with the sort of books Heather writes, I've chosen one of my all time favourite historical novelists, simply because I can't do this whole series without giving her a mention....

....the late and wonderful Norah Lofts ~ if you haven't read The Wayside Tavern 
and The House At Old Vine trilogy, your life is not complete :)

and a crime novelist of a different Virgo kind ~ Agatha Christie!

Previous Posts:
Aquarius and Capricorn: Nicky Black


  1. Thanks very much, Terry. I must admit that I cringed a bit when writing this on realising just how much of a typical Virgo I am. However, like every star sign, there are positive characteristics as well (phew).

    1. I think that, on the whole, this series has shown that everyone is very typical of their sign, in so many ways - and I mean everyone!! Thanks for taking part :) x

  2. Ah yes, I might have known you were a Virgo Diane - in fact I recognise some characteristics from my own Virgo alter ego! Lovely to find out more about you and your writing methods x

    1. Thank you Rose. Yes, I am so typical. Ironically, my mother was a Virgo too and yet she was very different from me. However, she was born on the cusp of Leo so that was probably why. :)

    2. I am Leo on the cusp of Virgo, but definitely more Leo than Virgo!

  3. It's brilliant learning more about everyone, Terry - you're full of great ideas (which shouldn't surprise me, really) Lovely to learn more about you Heather, thank you.

  4. Thanks very much Judith. I agree, this series of blog posts was a great idea of Terry's. :)

  5. So sorry I am so late here! My blog list didn't update when this was posted, so it still shows the last TT post...oh woe! Anyway, I loved this because I could have been reading a description of someone very close to me who is also a Virgo. Wow, Heather, you really are Virgo to a T! Or should I say an H :) Lovely to learn about you here and I'll be onto your books for sure. I love crime thrillers!

  6. Thank you Val. Yes, I'm definitely a typical Virgo. Lovely to connect with you here. Thanks for your interest in my books - I hope you enjoy them. :)