My publisher sent me a bunch of questions just before my novel’s release. Here are a few more, along with my responses. (Click to view Part 1.)
DFP: Do you have a specific routine or ritual, or do you prefer to work spontaneously?
Me: I typically write in the evening, between end of work and dinner and/or between dinner and bedtime. If I left off last time mid-chapter, I’ll re-read the chapter thus far (to get my head back into what I was writing) and tweak it as needed. Usually the dog is napping beside me, but that isn’t necessarily a requirement. What is required, however, is music.
I find it difficult to write in total silence, yet I get distracted easily with most of the music I’d normally listen to any other time. While writing, it has to be instrumentals with no (recognizable) vocalization. I spent the weeks writing my first two novels listening to the soundtrack for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, for example.
Apart from that, I write as the spirit moves me. Some days I can crank out a few hundred words, and on others a few thousand.
DFP: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you, and how do you overcome it?
Me: The most challenging aspect of writing is overcoming the idea that you can’t do it, that you can try but ultimately will be inadequate to the task. For Mystics of Sonoduhl I took those feelings of inadequacy and gave them to my main character. I also relied on an encouraging friend (hi Kathleen!) as well as my writing critique group. Their feedback kept me going until the last line was on the page.
DFP: Who are some of your favorite authors or literary influences, and how have they influenced your own writing?
Me: I grew up surrounded by books. Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C Clarke, Andre Norton, and Douglas Adams were old-school science fiction favorites. Old-school fantasy favorites include JRR Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and Terry Pratchett. More recent authors have joined these lists, such as Naomi Novik, John Scalzi, JK Rowling, Susanna Clarke, and NK Jemisin.
I read anywhere from 60-100 books every year so it’s hard to say where specifically I’ve picked up anything. I think the fact that they have written and, in some cases, continue to do so is the main influence on my efforts.
DFP: What themes or messages do you try to convey in your writing, and why are they important to you?
Me: I grew up with three sisters, a mom, and a formidable great aunt, so strong female representation is an important theme in my work. I have two daughters of my own now, and want to help encourage and inspire them to strive for their own dreams.