Today’s post is part of a blog hop. My fellow mystery writer, T.D. Hart as asked me to participate in this hop, and I am glad for the opportunity. T.D. is an up and coming mystery writer who loves hard-boiled detectives and the noir writing style. She is making a name for herself already, after only a few years, and recently took home two first prize wins from the Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc.’s annual conference. She won first in Mainstream Novel and first in Mystery Novel! So proud of her. I hope you will check out her blog and website: T.D.Hart.
The deal with the blog hop is that then I answer four questions about my writing and then pass the baton to two of my fellow writers who will answer these same questions in their blogs next week. More about that later. First, let me get to my questions!
Question 1: What am I working on? I actually have three projects I am working on at the same time! All of them are different, and so it keeps me on my toes and gives me something different to tackle each time I sit down in my writing nook. First, I am editing the sequel to Cobwebs: A Suspense Novel, which was published November 2013. In this story of family secrets and incredible historical injustices, I feature the main character Jamie Aldrich. She is also featured in the second book, which picks up after the first book, but is a stand alone mystery as well. As her life goes on after the horrific incidents of previous months, she is personally affected once again by events of the past, and secrets never revealed. So the editing process is nearly complete, and soon the book will be with my beta readers, and hopefully will go on to publication late this summer.
Question 2: How does my work differ from others in the genre? I love mysteries which feature strong female characters, have some romance, and also involve history. Family relationships are so intriguing. There is so much left unsaid, so much that parents do not share with their children (and vice versa!) Sometimes these secrets have ties with history, and these ‘historical secrets’ are what I love to explore. Another difference is that my stories are all set in Oklahoma – or perhaps New Mexico. I love these two states. They are not only diverse and beautiful, but their people are strong, individualistic and unassuming. They tend to be polite, curious, and yet not overly inquisitive or overbearing. In general, I don’t think people who live elsewhere know much about the beauty of either state and the greatness of the people.
Question 3: Why do I write what I do? I write mysteries and stories of families because these are the stories I love to read. I was an early reader (first grade) and an early writer (second grade). My earliest stories featured animals, children and some mystery. Figuring out these puzzles keeps me going – and I want to challenge my readers as previous writers have challenged me in other books I have read. Books are a window on the world – each one unique in its origin and in the way the book affects each reader. We all see, hear and feel something different as we are reading a book. That makes a story an amazing thing.
Question 4: How does my writing process work? I’d like to say I always know where my story is headed when I begin, but that’s not entirely true. What is true is that the characters take on their own lives. They very clearly want certain things to happen as you write their scenes. Sometimes the story takes a turn in a strange direction. Sometimes, when I reread, I know that character is upset with me for not letting them ‘do their own thing.’ I have to back out of the picture and let them tell the story. Usually, I know how the story will eventually end, but sometimes the villains change as I write the story! Suddenly, I am involved in the mystery and realize that the ‘obvious’ choice for the villain is trite. A rewrite begins. Mysteries in particular tend to do this. And that means a heavy rewrite, because a mystery is usual two or three stories. There is the mystery, and then there is the historical story, and then there are the character’s lives. These three things have to be entwined to create a satisfying mystery.
SO – That answers my blog hop questions – and now I want you to check out Jan Morrill and Gina Popp. Both writers have websites to visit, and blogs which are entertaining. Jan writes historical fiction (based on actual events) as well as haiku, and Gina also writes historical fiction. Catch their responses to this blog hop next Monday, May 19, 2014.