This is my week to appear on the Big Easy Blog Tour. This is a tour of blogs from participating authors. We talk about our writing process in the hope of helping other aspiring writers with our method or experience.
The one who talked me into participating is Skye Taylor known for her most recent novel Falling For Zoe, previously reviewed on my blog. Her first novel Whatever It Takes was one of the first books to be reviewed on this blog.
Here's the cover for my upcoming novel. Yep, he's a real guy...I think he's got a career ahead of him.
Okay now for the questions I must answer.
1. What am I working on?
I just finished the final edits, blurb, and acknowledgements for my first novel Touch The Sky. It is due to be released in July. Now, I am working on the sequel, Swept Away, which is the story of the heroine's baby sister in Touch The Sky. It's a lighter story than its predecessor, though some danger does lurk. Hopefully, this one will be more fun, but just as engrossing. I am actually writing Swept Away now. There is another novel, a romantic suspense, entitled Forbidden (Kapu), which takes place in Hawaii during the annexation of the islands by the US. I took a workshop last year in which we were required to plot an entire novel and develop the characters. Forbidden (Kapu) was the one I worked during the class. More on that in question 4.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I have a background in theater, my avocation for many years since I was a child. As an actor trained in the Stanislavsky method, or a Method actor, I learned to become the characters I portrayed. It is a process where the actor builds a complete back story for the character based on the script. The actor knows everything about that character - how he thinks - how he feels - how he moves - and most importantly, what in his past made him that way. I was taught to use a series of sensory exercises to bring the character to life onstage.
That's how I approach the characters in my fiction. I give them the back story, which usually doesn't appear in the novel, except in glimpses. But by knowing so much about my characters I can portray them realistically so that the reader will relate to them and their situation. In describing their surroundings, wardrobe, interactions with other people, etc, I have the character respond with his sensory memories...like the heroine in Touch The Sky being uncomfortable in the crush of people at her first ball after her return to society - the heat of the overcrowded room, the press of people, their facial expressions, their overwhelming scents, her fear of their initial reaction to her, all combine to make the character come alive.
I'll probably go on overload when I finally write Forbidden (Kapu). I love the Hawaiian Islands and have traveled to them several times. I'm already planning descriptions of the incredible smell of the plumeria flowers, the rich red earth, the damp heat of the rain forests, and the sounds of the pounding surf. It's a sensual feast which will play well with a couple in the throes of forbidden love.
3. Why do I write what I do?
For many years I worked in the field as a social worker. I worked in protective services. It was like working in a war zone, seeing wounded children and elderly adults, neglected people starving to death, or dying due to denial of medical care. I was on call and many times was called out at night or on the weekends for an emergency. I began my serious fiction writing during that time as a release from all the horrors I witnessed. It was necessary to exorcise those experiences in a positive way.
I wrote stories of heroes and heroines who had been through trauma. No matter how many obstacles got in the way, they worked through the trauma to have their happy ending. I still write those stories. In a way I suppose my message to the readers is "It will be okay. You can survive this. No matter what happens, you can heal." I guess I'm still a social worker in some ways. That sounds like such a downer. I use gentle humor to heal in many situations in life and in my writing. There, that's better.
4. How does my writing process work?
I write in a combination as a plotter and a pantser. It just depends on what feels right to me at the time. For example, as mentioned above, I have Forbidden (Kapu) completely plotted and the characters developed as a result of the workshop I took. But that isn't the way I wrote Touch The Sky. Swept Away is growing on its own as well. Oh, I know what will happen, but it isn't written in an orderly outline. It's in my head.
I tend to visualize scenes, movement, costumes, etc. That's another ghost of my theatrical experience. As an adult I directed far more than I acted. A director visualizes taking all the different characters, the script, the setting, the costumes, the lighting, the music, the props, and melding them into a cohesive performance. I know what the scene described in the TTS prologue looks like, what it feels like physically. When I know these things it makes a scene more powerful when written, helps the reader to visualize it so they are drawn into the action.
If I get stuck, bogged down in a manuscript, I will stop and make an outline basically to know what happens next. But honestly, I think my best writing is done when I'm "in the zone" and the words come pouring out. I can always go back and clean up anything later.
Magickal Mayhem, my infamous paranormal with a trio of drag queens as the heroine's best friends, is bogged down and waiting for me to get back to it. When I do, I will outline the stuffing out of that one.
I hope this has been helpful for you. It was fun for me to participate and to examine the way I write.
Following me next week are:
Cheryl Norman writes romance fiction and cookbooks. Her latest romance novel is a time travel, RUNNING OUT OF TIME. She is currently at work on a category romance series for Turquoise Morning Press. The first, RETURN TO DRAKE SPRINGS, will be available in October, 2014. Visit her site at http://cherylnorman.com.
Gloria Marlow - Romantic suspense author Gloria Davidson Marlow's heart is firmly planted in northeast
Thank you for your attention. Take care.