Monday, August 4, 2014

Great Questions from Goodreads.com

I recently took the time to answer 5 questions on my GoodReads author page, but because I know that you don't all scrounge through the same sites as I do, I thought I would post them here are well. If you ever wondered about my writing process, or maybe you can't imagine where my wild ideas come from, take a minute to read this:


What's the best thing about being a writer?

Writing is my safety valve, my escape from reality, and my cozy corner. There is nothing to match the feeling you get when you blend the annoyances of life into the story, or sprinkle the beauty of a garden into a scene. I am in control. My characters are real, in a sense, but they do my bidding. That kind of power is addictive.

What's your advice for aspiring writers?

Study your craft. Take courses in creative writing, story structure, acting, and grammar. Next, relax. Don't force the story. Just allow it to come whether in fits and starts, or all at once. You will find the process that works for you.

And finally, learn from your mistakes. Expose your work to people who will give you honest and even brutal critiques. There are dozens of sites on the web where you can do this for free. Join one, and take a deep breath. You will get replies that help, and others that hurt. But even when it seems personal, offer thanks. Then days later, return to the comment that was too much to stomach and really allow it to sink in. You'll be surprised how often that becomes the most helpful bit of information.

So keep writing, keep dreaming, and never let an opinion destroy your confidence.


What are you currently working on?

Resting, but I just revised my first book, Blue on the Horizon. I've learned so much in the past year, and frankly, I'm a little mortified by the mistakes in Blue. The story was solid, but my skills were infantile.

How do you get inspired to write?

Simple. I go for a walk. I take a shower. I write down my dreams. I practice vivid imagining. So far, I've been lucky. I have more ideas than can possibly fit into a single trilogy, but one day it will happen, but I have a favorite hike in mind to push through the wall. I have confidence it will work, it always has before.

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

I'm an insomniac, always have been, but those insane hours are sometimes well worth it. The key scene in Cairn: A Dragon Memoir popped into my head as I tossed and turned, aching to rest before another day at the office.

I remember being stunned, and like I often do, I rushed to my living room and grabbed my notebook. All authors have notebooks, electronic or like mine, a tattered, spiral bound version.

Sometimes, I write a few phrases, or maybe a whole scene, but this time was electric. I drew pictures, and even a little cartoon as my nerves kept firing in the voice of this new idea. I wrote an entire scene and then a character diagram so vivid, I knew that voice better than my own. I couldn't let it go.

That was the moment I knew the story. I could smell the flowers and feel the frigid north sea on my skin. All I had to do at that point was spend the days, week, and ultimately months to make it best novel I could produce.

I can't wait for it to happen, again.
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