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Blogging By the Sea
Monday, May 12 2014
The Big Easy Writing Process Blog Tour

     Skye-Writer - on tour...

Hi folks. I hope you are enjoying this great Big Easy Blog Tour adventure and all the many authors you have met a long the way. Marilee Brothers was the lady who twisted my arm with an invite to join the tour. In her words, “how could I say no?”

The thrust of this tour is to share our personal writing process, and maybe pick up a few hints from other authors along the way.

1)  What am I working on?

I am currently working on three things. I am revising and editing the just completed first draft of book #2 in the Camerons of Tide’s Way series, LOVING MEG, which will come out from Bell Bridge Books next year. I’m also finishing the research and working on character back stories for the third book in that series. And with any free time I have, I’m revisiting a time travel romance I wrote some years ago that I know is a great story, getting rid of all the beginner mistakes I made while writing it and making it a stronger, better novel.

2)  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I like stories I can relate to so I don’t write about the super wealthy folk who live a lifestyle I can only begin to imagine. I don’t enjoy either reading about or writing about glamorous models or movie stars either. I like heroes who work and play hard, but whose strong calloused hands can be gentle enough to cradle a baby or a lover’s cheek. I like the kind of men who put their lives on the line for others, whether it’s rescuing a puppy from a kill shelter, or gearing up and marching into war as an ordinary soldier. I like heroines who have a mind of their own and an agenda for their lives. Heroines who end up having to make difficult choices to make room in their lives for love. I want my readers to feel as if the characters in my books could live in their own neighborhoods. I like my characters to give of themselves beyond their own needs, wants, families and jobs. I want them to volunteer in soup kitchens, visit shut-ins, walk dogs in shelters, participate in fund raisers to help others, care enough to shovel the walkway of the elderly person who lives next door or stop to help someone with car trouble. Not too many people actually wear blue collars any more, but that’s the kind of characters I write about. Ordinary citizens – the great middle class of America. Jake Cameron and Zoe Callahan in my recently released FALLING FOR ZOE are just that kind of folk.

3)  Why do I write what I do?

When asked why I wrote WHATEVER IT TAKES, I often tell people that I am so discouraged by the current trend in politics, that I decided to write my own characters and my own endings. But in truth that book morphed from a story about one man’s struggle with a ghost from his past that seriously impacted his run for president. Other characters got created and the story began to take on a whole new life of its own. Mostly I write romance because who doesn’t enjoy a good love story. I write time travel because the concept of suddenly being plunged into the past intrigues me. I enjoy history as a hobby so for me the time travel is always into the past. 

4)  How does my writing process work?

I am a Pantser! I’ve tried to plot books. Struggled with outlines, used plotting notebooks and a half dozen other techniques for plotting before the book gets written, but it just isn’t my style. I get ideas from many places: some come to me in the shower or on long walks on the beach. Sometimes I see a vignette in real life, just a piece of something going on between two people and wonder how it ended, which makes me want to create an ending. One time travel book I wrote came to me as I explored a long deserted island off the coast of Maine, and while standing on the lip of an old fieldstone foundation, the thought came to me, ‘what if I fell in here, hit my head and then woke up with a roof over my head?’ I went home and researched a bit more about that island’s history and Iain’s Plaid was born. (That’s the book I’m revisiting in my answer to question #1 and I hope to see it in print one of these days soon.)

My stories are very character driven. I usually spend several days just writing backstory, starting when they were born or at least when they were young. I write them as if I was telling you all about this person I’ve known all my life. Sometimes going back to pick up an important incident or characteristic, but just sort of free hand, telling their life story. When I’m done I really know that character well. I do this for both my hero and heroine, then I put them down in the opening scene and let them go. I am often surprised where my characters end up taking me. Sometimes even shocked. And more often touched. As I hope you will be when you read my books.

Next week, be sure to see how Kathryn Bain, Heidi Sprouse and Sharon Drane answer the same four questions. Scroll down for more about these writers.:

Award winning author Kathryn J. Bain’s fifth book, Beautiful Imperfection, was released September 29, 2013. Her book Catch Your Breath took Third Place in the 2013 Heart of Excellence Contest for her inspirational romance and Breathless took First Place for Inspirational Romance in the 2010 Royal Palm Literary Awards.

She was the President of Florida Sisters in Crime from 2010-2012 and is currently the Public Relations Director for Ancient City Romance Authors. Kathryn has also been a paralegal for over twenty years and works for an attorney who specializes in elder law.

Kathryn grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. In 1981, she moved to Boise, but it apparently wasn't far enough south, because two years later she headed to Jacksonville, Florida and has lived in the sunshine ever since. Kathryn will be a guest for this blog tour at this same Barefoot on the Beach address.

Heidi Sprouse was born in Albany, NY. A wife and mother, she's been teaching for 20 years in upstate New York, and can add big dreamer to her resume. After diligently working on writing for the past ten years, she's joined the team at Bell Bridge Books to bring readers a collection of romances and romantic suspense novels that are sure to make readers fall in love.  Her recent book, All the Little Things is a unique and heartwarming story that you won’t be able to put down. Sam and Megan have loved each other since childhood. Marriage has always been their destiny. But lately they've lost a fragile balance between them. Now Sam has given himself a deadline to win her back or lose her forever.

Many years ago, Sharon Drane was hired to work as a social worker in a large metropolitan area. During her tenure she saw the worst that humanity had to offer from abuse of innocent children to abuse of elderly or disabled adults.  She saw many people starving or in desperate need of medical attention.  Some clients she could help.  For others it was too late. In order to cope with the daily sadness, she began to write colorful stories of beautiful ladies and strong men.  In her world, no matter what happened the couple lived happily ever after, able to overcome any obstacle and find a way to be together.

Now retired, she writes full time.  She lives in north Florida where she looks after her two elderly Shih Tzus and her 93-year-old father. She is the current president of Ancient City Romance Authors, a local chapter of the Romance Writers of America.

Her first novel, Touch the Sky, will be published in late 2014.  True to her dreams, it is the story of lovers who suffer a catastrophic event.  Wrenched apart, each filled with pain, is there hope of reconciliation?

Posted by: Skye AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  7 Comments  |  Email
One of the things that drives me nuts about writing is for authors to say you MUST do it a certain way. I always think back to Dickens and Christie and Hemingway and think how did they ever get published? What I love about this blog is that people are investigating their process and sharing, and letting us know we're not alone in this punster/plotter world :) Thank you
Posted by Donnell on 05/12/2014 - 10:43 AM
"Do it however it works for you." I've said that so many times, I should have it tattooed on my forehead.:) As for me, I'm a pantser and a plotter, depending on the book I'm writing. My romances are plotted meticulously. My mysteries are totally by the seat of my pants. Crazy as that sounds, it works for me. And that's what matters.
Posted by Elizabeth Sinclair on 05/12/2014 - 11:04 AM
(Commenting between thunderstorms) Thanks for validating the way many writers write, Skye. I love my handwritten spiral notebooks filled with the characters and their slowly developing personalities. The plot comes to life when my characters tell me what's happening in their lives and why. Great interview!
Posted by Loralee Lillibridge on 05/12/2014 - 11:32 AM
Working on three books at once. Don't you know there's only 24 hours in a day?
Posted by Kathryn Bain on 05/12/2014 - 05:48 PM
But Kathy - I have one I'm revising, one I'm researching and one I really really want to see in print I need to work on before sending it off to a publisher, or self publishing. Besides, if I turn the TV off, there are a lot more hours to spend on books. Most of what's on TV is a waste of time anyway.
Posted by Skye-writer on 05/12/2014 - 05:55 PM
As a fellow panther, I can totally relate to your writing process. Isn't it amazing how things develop when you keep your mind open to possibilities? Every once in a while, a new character pops up and says, "Hey, put me in your story. Stat!"
Posted by Marilee Brothers on 05/13/2014 - 11:01 AM
Happens to me all the time, Marilee - in the book I just finished writing my heroine went to see her mother and was shocked by the man who opened the door - almost as shocked as I was!
Posted by Skye-writer on 05/13/2014 - 11:05 AM

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