When you read all those wonderful books, do you ever wonder about the writer? Where the ideas come from? What a writer’s day is like? What makes them tick? Are they as crazy as their characters, or do they draw from some other well? The writing process blog hop will give you some idea, if you hop along with me.
Thanks to Karen Dodd, for inviting me to take part in this fun event. I met Karen, who lives in West Vancouver, several years ago at the Surrey International Writers Conference. Her enthusiasm for the craft of writing and her positive attitude meant that we became fast friends. Her debut novel, Deadly Switch, is a suspense that grips you from the first page and doesn’t let go. You can read about her writing process here.
Besides sharing with you how my writing brain works, I’ll be introducing you to some writers that have inspired me with their stories. Pamela Cable, J.P. McLean, B.C. Stone and Margaret Strack, will be following me with their blog posts on July 14th.
Now for the questions.
WHAT AM I WORKING ON?
Always something. At the moment, I’ve just finished
revising my grandmother’s story, No Time For Tears, covering the war-torn years between 1915-1929, in what is now western Ukraine. I’m also anxious to revise a novella, The Blue Nightgown, a coming of age story, and The Rubber Fence, a novel about a psychiatric intern, who is so obsessed with her patients on a ward where shock treatment is too often prescribed, that she doesn’t see that her own marriage is in trouble.
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
I’m not sure how to answer that. I do know that I tend to incorporate a lot of characters in my stories. I’ve always complicated things for myself, so why should my writing be any different? My novel, A Cry From The Deep—that’s coming this October—crosses genres. It has romance, history, suspense, adventure and a ghost. My protagonist, Catherine Fitzgerald, is a single parent and a diver, who struggles with the demands of motherhood and career and the question of what went wrong in her own love life. I was a family therapist for over twenty-five years, so some of my ideas, training, and experience creep into my work, and once the words tumble onto the page, I pick up the thread and go with it. So, in that sense, there’s a lot packed in; my novel is close to 400 pages
WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
There are a lot of reasons, but I can’t not write. I’m compelled to get my fingers on the keyboard. Some works are inspired by family anecdotes, like the story of my grandmother. A Cry From The Deep was inspired by an attempted collaboration of a screenplay years back. We couldn’t come up with a story that worked, but I couldn’t drop the seed that was planted, and kept fussing until I found one. As for The Rubber Fence, it is loosely based on my work on a psychiatric ward a lifetime ago. I’m also anxious to get back to a murder mystery I’ve started. The inspiration for that came from something a friend said over coffee. Had to do with a smell and my imagination took off. Ah, and then there’s my poetry. If only the clock had more hours on its face…
HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?
I want to say it doesn’t, as I fly by the seat of my pants. I never know quite where I’m going. Oh, I have some vague idea of beginnings and endings but it’s all the stuff in between that comes together without an outline. I start writing and basically ask my characters to take me there. Something they say or do leads me to the next step and the next. If I pay attention, my characters have a way of letting me know what holes I need to fill. If that sounds airy-fairy, it is what it is. I wish I could map it out clearly before I start, but it’s not my style, and I know that I have lots of company in this regard. But having said that, No Time For Tears was guided by the facts my mother left behind. And so for this one, I did have an outline.
I try to write each day, something fresh, or a revision, or both. Then I usually spend the morning reviewing what I’ve written the day before. I keep going like that until the end, and then give the whole story a rest for a few weeks, sometimes a month, then start over in the beginning. I’m always shocked at how much padding I’ve put in and how much I have to delete. I am a believer of writing is rewriting and more rewriting.
Now, let me introduce you to my guest authors and bloggers. Do check them out. You won’t be sorry.
When Blogger.com was still around, I met Pamela Cable there. I read her novel Southern Fried Women and was so impressed, that I decided to stay connected.
Born a coal miner’s granddaughter and raised by a tribe of wild Pentecostals and storytellers, Pamela King Cable grew up in Ohio where she caught ladybugs and fireflies, ran barefoot, and practiced cheers in her driveway. Today, she is still fascinated with ladybugs and fireflies, sometimes wears shoes, and talks about the day she traded in her pom-poms for a beat-up typewriter.
After living over a decade in the south, she returned to Ohio where she continues to cheer for the Buckeyes. She is a multi-published author whose most recent novel, Televenge, has attracted national attention from Fox News, CBS Atlanta, a major Hollywood film producer, as well as book bloggers and media outlets all over the world. Writing fiction steeped in Bible-belt mystery and paranormal suspense, Pamela has gained a reputation for piercing the hearts of her readers. She has taught at many writing conferences, and speaks to book clubs, women’s groups, national and local civic organizations, and at churches across the country.
J. P. MCLEAN
I met Jo-Anne a year or so ago, when she came to Campbell River, B.C., to share her experience of self-publishing with my writers’ critique group. I found her to be generous with her time and information and so encouraging. When I read The Gift: Awakening, the first in a trilogy, I was stirred by both her imagination and her prose. She has since written the other two books, The Gift: Revelation and The Gift: Redemption. When you pick up her novel, you will be surprised to discover what the gift is, one many of us have dreamed about having.
J. P. McLean says she’s been neglecting the vacuum, the dog leash and kitchen duty since she began telling lies and making up stories. She calls it writing fiction and indulges in it most days from her home in the Gulf islands on the coast of British Columbia.
You can find JP McLean at www.jpmclean.net
I stumbled across Bryan’s blog online. I was immediately enthralled by his style and critical thinking. He writes posts on various books and authors with such clarity that his musings are both accessible and thought-provoking. Murder at the Belmar, has more than a touch of Hollywood in it and a dead body in a glamorous hotel. Who doesn’t like that? And don’t you just love this cover?
B. C. Stone is also the author of Coda in Black, and Midnight in Valhalla. He is currently working on Peril in Paradise, the third entry in the Kay Francis mystery series. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Prior to writing novels he worked as a librarian at the University of New Mexico. You can find his blog on books, writing, and related matters, The Vagrant Mood at: http://vagrantmoodwp.wordpress.com
I connected with Peggy on Linked-In. I noticed that she was a speech and language pathologist, and since I had worked with that profession in the past as a family therapist, I was intrigued that she was also a writer. I read A Stop in the Park, and loved the skill and compassion Peggy showed in her writing about a martial couple struggling to make sense of their relationship.
Peggy Morehouse Strack writes popular fiction about challenges people face in the fast-paced and often daunting contemporary world. She published her debut novel, “A Stop in the Park,” in 2012. It is the story of Michael and Jaime Stolis, a disillusioned married couple who yearn to escape the trap of the modern American dream. It was selected as a Readers’ Favorite International Award Contest Winner in the Reality Fiction Category in 2013 and received this review from Kirkus, “Strack writes with clear, thoughtful, and passionate prose, making for a tense and compulsively readable story of family redemption.” Peggy is currently editing her second novel and will be seeking agent representation in the near future.
Peggy is a speech-language pathologist living in Saratoga Springs, NY. She has two adults sons and enjoys an active lifestyle that includes hiking, kayaking, and skiing. She is a contributor to “The Write Draft” Blog: http://thewritedraft.me
If you are interested in reading any of these author’s books, you can click on their titles or book images above.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Comments, always appreciated.