Well, it’s my turn to be tagged on this blog tour (#Mywritingprocess) thanks to RJ Samuel. I only know RJ from our e-mails and online contact, but that will change this July when we are both in Portland for the GCLS conference. I’ll finally get to thank her in person for all of her very generous help guiding this technoidiot through the process of getting started with indie publishing and most recently getting set up on Facebook. I am in the middle of RJ’s latest book, A Place Somewhere, and it is a fantastic read for any of you looking for a good book to curl up with. Check out RJ’s answers to these blog questions HERE.
- What am I working on?
I just released my sixth novel, She Sings of Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things (how’s that for a catchy title?). So, after setting it off into the world, I’m returning to work on a novel set in Pittsburgh of 1980, about a woman from a tight-knit Italian-American family struggling with the fact that she has fallen in love with another woman. I’m about 60,000 words into that work, and it’s coming along nicely.
The next novel I release will be Hear the Last Unicorn. It’s about Jules, a woman who has to return to her hometown for her grandfather’s funeral. Once there, it dredges up a lot of issues she’s been running from her whole life – a difficult relationship with her grandmother, the things that happened with her best friend. Her partner and her ex – a woman she has remained friends with – see her starting to repeat her past pattern of distancing her partner to the point of destroying the relationship. Her ex, who has never known exactly why their relationship ended, is torn between maybe getting Jules back or helping her salvage her current relationship. Throw into the volatile mix a lonely, confused teenager reaching out for help and the story takes the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions – at least I hope it will.
- How does my work differ from others in the same genre?
My novels have spanned a variety of sub-genres within the wider scope of lesbian literature, so this is a difficult question to answer. Miserere is a historical mystery with a bit of paranormal, about a ten-year-old who has to figure out how to end a curse that has plagued her family for a century. My other novels are probably best described as a blend of literary fiction with romantic elements. I think the thing that probably sets my books apart is that they sometimes go to hard places – no one is safe, and the characters sometimes have bad things happen to them. Kind of like real life. But even when the stories aren’t happy ever after, I would say they all end hopefully.
- Why do I write what I do?
It’s funny, I’m one of those who wrote tons of stories when I was a kid, through high school and the start of college. I stopped writing when I met my first girlfriend – maybe that should have been a sign! That relationship was emotionally draining, probably for both of us. I was certainly no saint. When that relationship finally ended and I met my partner, Beth, I felt like a breath of fresh air blew through my soul. She encouraged my return to writing and attempting to get published. It’s a part of me I can’t now imagine being without. Even if I weren’t publishing my stories, I’d still be writing them. As to why I write the types of stories I do, being lesbian is such an integral part of who I am as a human being, it can’t help but influence the characters I write and how their stories play out.
- How does my writing process work?
Some of my books have come from the tiniest kernels of ideas – a memory of an old house, an inscription in an old book – while others are based on my experiences – as an adopted child, my time in religious life.
Similarly, plots have varied from “just start writing and see where it goes” to knowing the beginning and the ending and having to fill in the bits in the middle. I like to write my first draft longhand, or at least most of it. At some point, I’ll need to make changes in the sequencing of events or something and then it becomes easier to begin typing it into the computer and work from there. My first few books were all under contract with different publishers for a few years. While that process bogged down, I kept writing, so that, by the time those publishers all either closed their doors or didn’t meet the timeline of our contract, I had a backlog of completed manuscripts that only needed re-writing and editing to get them ready to publish under my own imprint. It works well for me. As I mentioned in the first question, I’m working on the first draft of a new book now. When I’m done with that, I’ll set it aside and start the re-writes on Hear the Last Unicorn to get it to editing and have it ready for publication probably January 2015. Sometimes, a book will get stuck and I’ll work on another for a while. It really helps me to take a break and come back to a manuscript with fresh eyes. Only after I’ve torn it apart and done a thorough self-edit does it go out to my trusted beta readers who get back to me with their feedback about what does and doesn’t work for them. Then it goes through another re-write and final edit before publication.
Next, I’m tagging Suzanne Egerton, author of Out Late With Friends and Regrets. Check her blog HERE.
I’m also tagging Sheila Connolly, author of Maggie’s Mechanics – Mystery and Mayhem Mixed With Love. You can find Sheila’s blog HERE.
Late addition: I’m tagging Patty G. Henderson, author and creator of all of my book covers! Her most recent novels include: Passion for Vengeance, Castle of Dark Shadows, The Secret of Lighthouse Pointe and others. Her blog can be found HERE.