Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Questions I Get Asked…

It has been a while since I have posted a new blog entry.  There has been a lot going on this year, which I talk more about later in the post.  To kick off what I hope will be a new series of posts, I am having a giveaway at the end of August for one lucky blog follower.  Be sure to follow my blog if you have not done so already.  Now, on to the Questions I Get Asked.

I am sure authors get tons of questions over the years but since I am fairly new at this writing world, it surprises me the questions people do ask. One of the most frequent questions I get is:

“Where do you find the time to write all you do?”
I think these questions come to me because I work as a full time Registered Nurse Quality Analyst for a hospital and I have children, daughters aged 12 and 9. I am not sure I always have the right answer for this because I tend to say it and people give me the ‘deer in the headlights’ look. My usual answer is that if you want something bad enough, you will find the time to do it. I started writing with the goal of publication in 2011. I can be very determined and do not give up easily. I wrote even when those around me thought I had lost my mind. There are things you give up in writing, like I no longer have a long list of television series I stay glued to. I do have a few but only here and there. Or I catch up on them by binging in between writing deadlines. Other things that happen are the dishes pile up in the sink, the laundry stays behind and my husband has become a ‘Mr. Mom’ of sorts to allow me time to write. I delegate things like the grocery shopping list and send my husband on that route too. I take my laptop everywhere I go even to soccer practice, gymnastics and any other event I might attend. And when I do not have my laptop, I have a Galaxy Note phone and can type away at a scene or jot down my ideas. And while there can be a little mommy guilt here and there I keep writing, because I cam showing my daughters that it is possible to go out and make your dreams come true.

“Where do you get your ideas?”
I have always loved reading historical novels. I think I love to escape back to a time that doesn’t exist anymore. I love highlanders, Dukes, and Pirates, but have always had an unquenched thirst where it come to the old west and the civil war era. So when I started writing, I knew I had to go for cowboys because you gotta write what you know and still you gotta research and make sure you are right. My ideas start running through my head while I drive or while I daydream of idea. I am a pantser for the most part that does very little plotting. My plots seem to evolve as I get to know my hero and heroine and begin writing. I have a general idea of where we are headed, but I often change the plan as I write when some better idea hits me and takes me and the character to something new. What the heck is the fun in planning it all out ahead of time? So my ideas come from all the westerns I have watched or read. I grew up on Little House on the Prairie and Gunsmoke. I am usually first in line for any western movie that comes out and I love Hell on Wheels, Christie, Deadwood, and me and my girls are on our third watching of the entire Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman series. Right now I am also reading the whole Longmire series, and even though it isn’t historical, it is excellent! So my ideas come from a lot of places, but most often from letting my characters take over.

“How long does it take you to write a complete story?”
It can take me more than six months to belt out a first draft, but my stories are over 100,000 words where most romances are by far under that word count. This first draft can also depend on what is going on in my life and how much time I am spending on editing a work already submitted. Once I have a rough draft, then it needs about two more edits by me before I start getting it out to critique partners and beta readers. It sounds like a long time but about a year if I want to make sure the story is what I was looking for. If I didn’t have a full time job, it might be that I would be able to do everything much faster, but to do service to my series and stay on track to make it all fall together, time is needed.

“How do you map out your stories and series?”
I usually have most of it in my head but I do storyboarding sometimes. I think it helps to have a visual in front of you as you think about where the characters are taking you. I sometimes just jot down ideas or scenes and eventually pull them together, but most often I just start at chapter one and keep going. I keep a ‘book bible’ so to speak, where I write down all the characters in a series and it lists things like their hair and eye color, their quirks and specifics about them. I add quotes I like from them and pictures and maps of the area they live. I plot a little there so I can make better order of the scenes, but I do not have a specific rule about how and where black moments come and when this or that should happen. I let my characters tell the story and so far it’s working.

“What are you writing now?”
Well, I am writing the third story in the McCades of Cheyenne called Dawson’s Haven. I am a bit more than half done but I am pushing hard to get that into my editor this year. I got a little side tracked as this has been a difficult year with losing my father in law, taking in my mother in law, changing jobs for the first time after twenty-seven years and deciding to dust off a contemporary novel I wrote in 2013. I am hoping to have this story turned into my editor within the month so I can get back to Dawson. I think it will be a nice surprise for my readers to be able to read something contemporary from me as well, but no worries, it’s all about a cowboy and the woman he loves….