Well, it isn’t spring yet, but the sun is shining on this first day of April, and considering the way the weather has been this year, I have to wonder if this is another of Mother Nature’s jokes–sunny today, but watch out tomorrow!
Last week, I was invited to be part of a very special blog hop. I’ve done a few of these before, but this one is a bit different. It’s a reverse blog, one that links back to the previous one, and each blog touches on the same topic–writing. The talented Gina Henning invited me to participate. One author chooses three, preferably four authors, to join the blog and adds their information to the end of the blog.
On the hop, each author answers the same four questions about their writing. When you check Gina’s blog, you can read her answers and then go back to the person who invited her to hop along. In theory, you can link back to the very person who started the blog in the first place. At the end of my blog, you’ll find the name of the four writers I’ve tagged. Come back tomorrow and link to them to learn all about their writing styles. So without further ado, here are my answers to the four questions.
*1) What are you working on?
At the moment, I’m working on my latest romance/suspense novel which I’ve entitled, Hidden Assets. It’s a second chance at love with an amnesia twist. Here’s the pitch: Forensic accountant, Nancy Frost specializes in finding hidden assets, the money deadbeat dads hide in divorce cases. This time, her careful examination of the books opens a can of worms. U.S. Marshal, Neil Copeland still loves his ex-wife, Nancy. The last thing he expects to hear is that she’s been shot in a restaurant massacre. When Nancy awakes from a coma, she’s stuck six years in the past. Can Neil get a do-over and prove to Nancy they belong together? Will he be able to protect her from the person who needs her dead to protect his secret? I’m hoping to get it finished by the end of next week.
That’s a tough question to answer since I haven’t read every book in my genre. I haven’t even come close! I suppose I could say it’s because even I don’t know how things will turn out until the manuscript is complete. I create the characters, and they drive the story. I also like to add factoids to my stories, something people might not have known about before reading the book. I do description well, so many of my reviewers say reading my books are like watching a movie unfurl in their minds.
*3) Why do you write what you write?
Because I have to? Because the stories are bouncing around in my head demanding I let them out? The answer isn’t a simple one. Why do I write romance? Because I believe everyone should have a happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean getting to it has to be easy. I’m old fashioned. I believe love is a powerful force, a gift bestowed on some of us and not others because some of us look for love in all the wrong places. I’m a firm believer in soul mates and love at first sight. My husband and I have been happily married over 42 years. I knew he was the one the minute I met him. Has it all been sunshine and roses? Of course not. Nothing worth having comes easily in life. Love means sacrifice and compromise. But I don’t write love stories– I write romance–the falling in love stories. Every one of them is different and unique. Since I write different subgenres of romance, I have different motivation for the stories. For my historical romances for example, it’s a matter of loving history and wanting to convey some of that. Times were not simpler then—they were more difficult and fraught with danger. For my contemporary romances and suspense stories, I like to solve problems. I want to show people that even though bad things happen, we can and should rise above them. My muse puts the ideas in my head and I write them down. I have a strong sense of morality that wends its way through my books. I don’t judge, but you can see me and my beliefs if you look for them.
*4) How does your writing process work?
I spent over thirty years as an English teacher. I taught about plot graphs and first draft, editing, you’ve got it. When I chose to make a serious stab at writing, everything I’d taught went out the window. I’m a pantser. I think of a title, create characters who fit the title, and sit down at the computer. Most of my main characters are named after significant people in my life. They get a kick out of being in a book, and I occasionally weave character traits that are theirs into the story. I’m an introvert. I don’t like being the center of attention unless it’s on my terms, so I watch and listen. If I see someone say or do something that I think is usable in a story, then I’ll reword it and write it down for later. If someone makes me angry, they’ll be the next victim—even with a name change.
Once I settle on a character, the occupation, the situation, I research it. The Internet is my friend. As I mentioned earlier, my latest heroine is a forensic accountant. I’ve had U.S. Marshals, fire investigators, newspaper reporters, concert pianist/spies, millionaire real estate developers, kindergarten teachers, artists, writers, bodyguards, and the list goes on. Each of my characters is researched not for their appearance, but for everything needed to create an identity. Their images form in my mind as I go along. Of course, if anyone is watching my browsing history, I could be in trouble. I know more about guns, arson, drugs, and bombs than I ever expected to. Since I’m a descriptive writer, I research locations where I want to set the story—real places I give fictitious names to in order to manipulate the environment. Finally, confident I have enough to begin, I start to write. One sentence, one paragraph, one page. I tend to begin with character rather than situations, so, by the end of the first chapter, you and the charcter are one. I keep track of who’s head I’m in and the number of pages and words per chapter. I try to avoid head hopping, and do the best I can to have each character’s POV appear in each chapter, but never in the same scene. At the end of the second chapter you’ve had the opportunity to bond with the other character. I alternate point of view as the story moves along. By the time you’re one -third through the book, the problem is out in the open and you’re working your way, through the characters to the resolution. I do basic edits as I go along.
I write the way a bricklayer builds. First I put the bricks down and make sure they’re straight. Then I go back and align them in case I’ve got one out of place. Once I’m happy I add mortar, let it dry and then start the next row. I’ll write a couple of chapters and go back to the beginning and edit what I wrote to keep it in line with where the characters have decided to go. I may do this a dozen times until I get it the way I like it.
In my first novel, Fire Angel, I had three potential killers and didn’t decide who the lucky winner was until I was almost finished the book. Once it fell into place, I went back and made sure all the clues were there and the red herrings firmly in place. In my current manuscript, I knew who the killer would be by the end of the first chapter. Each book is different, but they all end in happily ever after.
Now you know about my writing style. Check out my website to learn more about me:
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