Monday, July 28, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour - A Week Late!

A while ago, I was invited by Phyllis Humby to participate in a writers' process blog tour. ONE WEEK AGO, I should have uploaded this blog post. 

I met Phyllis by mail and email when she entered the Bony Pete Contest. 

I met Phyllis in person at the Bloody Words Conference 2014 when I had the privilege of giving her the Bony Pete Award! She is personable, enthusiastic, supportive and fun - and obviously, a terrific writer. 

You can visit her here:
The Write Break

When Phyllis asked me to do this, I was in the midst of moving from the house we've lived in for over 25 years, but I'm superwoman, right? I'll remember, right?

1.     How does your writing process work? 

Obviously, not very well. Here I am, seven whole days late. Though right now I can blame moving on the loss of much of my brain power, including short term memory. In May we put our house up for sale, sold it, and bought another one in another city. That's my exciting news! Now we are packing and packing and packing. I thought I'd purged, but...this is definitely not the exciting part, I must say.

Anyway, on to my usual writing process. When I pick up an idea, it takes over my thoughts. Haunts me. Runs back and forth like one of those song refrains that you can't get rid of. The idea can hit because of a newspaper item, a rumor, a real life story, a song, a visual experience - okay, from almost anywhere or anyone. The idea can be centred on a plot or a character or a setting. I have to write down the idea these days so I don't forget (even when I'm not relocating). 

Later, I play with the idea to see if it fits into a longer piece. Short story? Novella? Novel? I love all the forms and allow the plot, character or setting to rule the length. I do the research, sketch out a plan, and off I go. The outline is a living thing for me - changing as it grows. 

However, I am a binge writer. I'll write for hours, then for days, sometimes for weeks - and then I'll be dry for the same amount of time. One of these days I am going to acquire self discipline.

2. Why do you write what you write?

I am somewhat like Phyllis, in that I write what I read. I love dark mysteries, the Gillian Flynn or P. D. James or Minette Walters kind - the sort that includes inner demons and psychopaths. Some of my readers think I must have suffered a traumatic experience in my earlier life and I say yes, I became an elementary school teacher. 

Honestly, I have always been interested in the psychology of evil. I love writing about it, exploring the phenomenon. In this way I have total control over the outcome. The bad ones always get their just desserts (OK, almost always) and justice is (usually) served, or at least there is love and hope at the end.

3. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

My books are not traditional mysteries. They weave in and out, closer to "literary" or "general" fiction, then back to somewhat thriller-ish with a dash of horror. What I mean by literary/general is that my stories are more character-driven than most mysteries. My characters get caught up in a social justice issue, or a personal journey, that leads them to a crime. My novels are certainly not of the Agatha Christie mode or anything like a cozy. (When conference organizers see my picture (middle aged plump smiling white lady), they often place me on cozy panels.) I call them mighty meaty mysteries, because I like to include moral messages and social justice issues and some pretty scary stuff that I often have picked out of the news. Yet by the end, I hope the reader is uplifted (or shocked). 

4. What Am I Working On?

Currently I have ADD - Author Distracted Disorder. Here are the items on my desktop: An adult novel that is - wait for it! - a cozy mystery. A YA mystery novel with a dash of fantasy for young adults from 15 years old. A short story. A screenplay of my book, Seventh Fire. That's all.

All right - off I go to find another author who will continue this wonderful tour by writing a last minute blog. I promise to introduce you to him/her as soon as I find him/her.

You can find all my books and short stories on my website:

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