Thank you Lisa Mikitarian for inviting me to be a part of the “Writing About Writing” Blog Tour. I only had to answer four “simple” questions. She offered a free set of Ginsu knives but I told her I might hurt myself with them so she could pass them on to someone else. Here are her great questions and my answers.
1) What are you currently working on?
A real departure for me. Well not reading wise but definitely from a writing angle.
I’ve put my current WIP on hold to work on a piece of fan fiction set in the world of Hugh Howie’s Wool series. I give my middle-aged female friends grief for being addicted to Dowton Abbey and The Walking Dead – how those two go together still defies logic – so zombies are out. However, I find Howie’s tale of people locked away in underground silos, seeking to hang on to their humanity intriguing.
2) How does your work differ from others in the same genre?
The novel I just published, The Source, started out as a fairly typical CBA style suspense tale. I’ve interviewed authors like Brandilyn Collins and Terri Blackstock a number of times and respect the genre they write in. However, I realized about a year ago, the reason I had taken so long to get my story to print was because it didn’t ring true to who I am.
My story was almost accepted twice by publishers who asked for wholesale changes that made no sense to me as a well-seasoned reader of suspense. After that I took on the task of cutting a little over 30,000 words and I think the end result is a much tighter and hopefully better story.
I have no problem with a bit of ambiguity in a novel. There are parts of life that do not work out happily ever after. Some things don’t make sense. That is why I allowed my main character to reach the last chapter without all the answers – in fact realizing he didn’t need all the answers.
3) Why do you write what you write?
I write what I write because– I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because I tried my hand at the next great American novel and Snoopy had already beat me to the punch.
Seriously, I write about what I’m interested in. I write the kind of story I would like to read. Now, if I could only write as good as the authors I like to read.
4) Describe your writing process.
Your readers may not, but I have no doubt you will understand my answer to this one. I have secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis, so my process for everything in life depends on how things are going today. Long hours of absolute concentration on anything is a chore in itself. So, when I’m having one of those exceptional days when all cylinders are hitting reasonably in sink, I write like a madman.
Unlike several author friends of mine I am not much of a ponderer. Many great writers mull over their stories for days, weeks and even months before putting anything down on paper. I am just the opposite. Since I make a living as a free-lance commercial writer, blank paper (or a computer screen) and deadlines don’t intimidate me. When I know I can write, I sit down and write. That doesn’t mean what I write is genius but I write until I can’t any more (until tomorrow).
Some of my writer friends don’t get this next one but I find rewriting even more gratifying. This is where I get to test myself and see if the idea I put on paper can now be turned into a good one. Just about anyone can come up with a premise for a story – only a few can turn that into a compelling one. Perhaps one day I’ll surprise myself and make it to that level.