by Susan Ward
My Writing Process is an ongoing blog hop where a writer answers four basic questions about their writing process and then is asked to pass the baton to two more authors. I was invited by Tricia Sankey. Please visit her page and discover a fresh new voice at http://milspouseprose.com/
My Writing Process in 4 Answers
What am I working on?
This year is a crazy busy year for me. After writing romance novels for 25 years and completing 26 books, I’ve decided to release all 26 within 24 months. I’ve just released the first two, The Girl on the Half Shell and The Signature. The Girl on the Half Shell is the first book in the 4 book Half Shell Series, about rich girls from California trying to find their way in the 1980s and 1990s. The Signature is a contemporary romance novel that is appropriate for all steam levels of romance readers. It’s the story of a singer turned fugitive ex-wife charged with kidnapping, her superstar boyfriend who wants to bring her back home, and a reporter sent to deliver the message. It’s fun romance and part of my Perfect Forever Collection. There are 5 books in the Perfect forever collection, they are standalone novels, but there is a twist. They play into the plotlines of my 3 series-Half Shell, Sand and Fog, and Spruce and Ebony. My next release will be in September 2014, with the first of the Deverells, When the Perfect Comes, a historical romance series set during the War of 1812.
In addition to working on the edits and uploads of my completed work, I am finishing the Half Shell Series. Book 2, The Girl of Tokens and Tears will be released in December 2014. Book 3, The Girl of Diamonds and Rust, will be released May 2015. Book 4, The Girl in the Comfortable Quiet, will be released December 2015.
I’m also working to complete my first novella, something from the world of erotic romance, and finalizing the first book in the Sand and Fog Series.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Me: the voice of the writer bringing you the story. Each writer’s voice is unique, their history and their life experience are unique. We all put pieces of ourselves into each of our characters and our individual writer DNA, so to speak, in there in how we move our plot lines and the choices our characters make.
The Perfect Forever Collection is more in the traditional model of the romance novel. My first person Half Shell Series is not. I took the best parts of the romance novel model, kept them, and basically smashed everything else. Self-publishing gives me the freedom to do that: to write books that push the envelope, that are outside of the box, and full of twists and elements that readers don’t expect.
I love it when I get notes from my readers telling me that they love my books, but they got so angry with my characters for doing X because they totally didn’t expect them to behave that way. I kept the best parts of the romance novel model and then broke the rest.
Why do I write what I do?
I’ve been writing romance novels since I slapped shut the covers of Gone with the Wind at the age of ten. I fell in love with the love story that day, and then I found a Kathleen Woodiwiss book and fell in love with the romance novel. I devour books. I read all night. I love following the journey of love tucked between the covers of a great romance novel. Writing is the natural companion process to the love of the written word. And I can’t think of anything more challenging, more fulfilling, providing more enjoyment to readers than to write romance novels. People who read romance novels are loyal and selective fans. They put a very high bar up for a writer to try to achieve. It is a challenge, and I do love a challenge.
Romance novels are a more sophisticated form of writing than people give them credit for. A good novelist has to tap into the emotions, the femaleness (or maleness since a lot more men are reading romance), the heartaches we all have experienced and the joy of love, breathe it into a living form so that the reader can connect with the journey you are taking them on. It’s an awesome job and an amazing feeling when someone tells you that you’ve done that for them!
How does my writing process work?
It would be nice to say I have a process, but for all that I am a very structured person, I don’t have a process when I write. I am writing 24/7 whether I’m at the computer or not. I make notes of every random snippet that flows through my head: pieces of dialogue, sometimes just a sentence, sometimes something I’ve seen or heard that I think might work into a character later, and I’ll dump them into my open notes log on my computer, but if I’m out of the house I’ll write on a paper napkin, pretty much anything, if I have to. I am a pile of teeny, tiny little scraps of paper, holding thoughts from throughout the day waiting for me to get to them.
Then, the stories and the characters come, and I put them on paper. I don’t do any of the traditional things. I don’t make an outline or a character workup. It wouldn’t work with my characters. They are going to do what they want to do in spite of me! So, I write the first page and the last page of each novel first, and, more often than not, I jump into the middle to start my work on a new book.
I do have writing rituals, though. My writing ritual these days is I have to put on my leopard PJ bottoms and my Ohio State t-shirt (Go Buckeyes! That’s a shout out for my daughter who graduated in August and I’m still proudly wearing the shirt I wore to the ceremony), and force myself not to look out my windows at the sunny Santa Barbara days until I’ve put at least 1000 words on paper.
And always, my Cheshire cat coffee mug sitting on my desk!
So, those are my secrets…but I forgot the most important one: write what you love, love what you write, and be good to yourself because just being willing to share your work is success! Next, I hereby pass the baton to these accomplished writers:
HarperCollins Author Nic Tatano, he states: I'm a HarperCollins rom-com author who moonlights as a network TV news producer, but I enjoy fiction more because I don't have to deal with those pesky things called "facts." Alas, my TV experience has come in handy for my latest book "It Girl" which has been serialized into episodes much like a television show, complete with recaps and coming attractions. Episode one is free with the entire novel being released on June 26th. All my books are set in the world of TV news and every heroine is a spunky redhead.
I grew up in the New York City area and now live on the Gulf Coast where, as God is my witness, I will never shovel snow again. I'm married to a math teacher and we share a wonderful home with our cat Gypsy. thechannelingauthor.blogspot.com
Terri Lyndie, Author of Wolf Eye Sly http://www.terrilyndie.com. Terri graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and worked as a social worker for Michigan's Department of Human Services. She writes romantic stories with humorous plot twists. Her debut novel is set at a lighthouse on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. When Ms. Lyndie is not writing she is seldom seen without her Nikon.