Joan Donaldson and I met at a book signing in Saugatuck several years ago and since then, knowing her has made me want to be a better writer. Joan is the author of Wedded to the Land: Stories From a Simple Life on an Organic Fruit Farm, On Viney’s Mountain, The Secret of the Red Shoes and other stories. Joan asked me to join the blog hop.
What am I working on now?
My writing style is to work on several manuscripts at a time and when I am stuck with one, move on to the next. This often results in two or more novels being published close together. I might stop working on something that is near completion because I am discouraged, then go back to it later. I have done this three times and each time I am delightfully surprised at how much I like the story. Right now I am finishing Slow Dancing, a dark piece about a young girl who has a wonderful relationship and secure life with her step-father until the real father she never knew comes to town. It’s finished in my head but I just need those last paragraphs to come through. Also in the works are Soulmates: Book #8 of the Pam of Babylon Series, A Greektown Wedding: Book #4 of The Greektown Stories, Oh Beautiful, Book #2 of The Saga of Ravenna Morton, Burn District, Memory of the Color Yellow, House to Share, OR Stories and about five more. Slow Dancing will be out soon, and the three series books are next in line in the order I’ve written them here with my goal to release in the fall.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
It’s different because I wrote it. I feel my writing comes from a part of me that I am not fully in touch with. Today while we were at a party at our son’s house, one of the guests asked me if I write to satisfy what I believe readers want. My answer was that I write what comes from me, not worrying about it being popular. Somehow I have been so blessed to have a following of readers who love my stories and wait for their release and I do think about those readers as I write. But I trust that when I am led to write something different, such as The Liberation of Ravenna Morton, or The Savant of Chelsea, two works that are completely unlike what I usually write, my readers will find something gratifying and will enjoy it and so far, I’ve been right.
Why do I write what I do?
Oh I am so compelled, I don’t have much say over it. The stories come and I put them to paper. It’s either a gift or luck. Sometimes, a theme will develop according to where I am in my own life, and later, I might go back and have to delete a large portion of it, and that’s okay. Giving myself permission to delete has been really good for my books. Another thing is if my characters yawn a lot, it often means I better stop and go to bed. Same thing if they are eating constantly or I start going into too much detail with the food. In The Greeks of Beaubien Street, I was on a strict diet and the book is full of descriptions of Greek food.
How does my writing process work?
As I said, I have several pieces going on at any given time. I am very lucky to be able to write full time. My office is a sanctuary, and if there is anything distracting, I wear noise canceling earphones. We recently moved and my house has a different view of tranquil mountains. My previous office overlooked my sheep pasture, and now they are both gone. It is so sad to look out and not see the girls. I enjoy sitting with my husband when he is working quietly, but as soon as the conference calls come, I’m outta there. I value note taking . It might be some ideas about a story ending which I’ll write down to add later. Or I’ll take notes as I’m going along about a story line. A reader asked that I provide Character lists since my books always have a dozen or more characters. If there is a family, they might have six kids. I often change names accidentally and thankfully, usually my editor or proofreader catches it. But recently a reader came to the rescue and we quickly fixed the name. That was a close one!