1) What am I working on?
Too many things and yet it doesn’t seem like a lot because even though I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, it’s only been the last few that I’ve decided to chuck everything else and focus on it.
Right now, I’ve got a good old fashioned mystery as my WIP, “Nobles Island” with a hot sheriff and a dead body. I’ve also just pulled up “Tales of a Southern Vampire” and re-read the original draft and realized I really like that, so add that one to the list. Then add the sequel to Near Midnight to the list and the short stories I’m re-writing into an anthology and for somebody who doesn’t actually have an office job right now, I’m fairly busy.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’ve been told my writing is similar to Raymond Chandler with a bit of Dashiell Hammett thrown in, in the murder mystery genre and that’s fine by me. Where the difference is, I think, is that I write from a different perspective. When I write, I see the overall story, but not the details. J.R. Ward plotted out her ten Dagger books before she even opened up her word program to write. I have some notes that tell me where a character needs to be and a list of characters, but in the end they bully me into writing what they want to be. They don’t need no stinking outline, they just. Are. I tried using this thing called the Nine Box Plot, but kept running out of room. And because I kept thinking It’s a box, don’t put me in a box! But that could be my claustrophobia talking.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Because when I read, I read what interests me, which is why you’ll never see a book about math in my hands. I started writing Near Midnight because vampires were either monsters or they sparkled or were slut puppies. (No offense to Stephanie Myers, I wish I made her kind of money, but I don’t want vampires that sparkle in the sun). I don’t want to read about southern people who don’t wear shoes and marry their cousins. My WIP Nobles Island is character driven, a murder mystery about people on a little resort island that are pretty darn smart, even if they are more laid back. I want intelligent characters, not women who don’t have enough sense to watch where they’re going when they’re trying to escape a mad killer or men who think it’s perfectly fine to body slam a woman and call it seduction. I want to read about a protagonist who’s smart, smart assed and a little cranky, but gets the job done. It’s why I love Sue Grafton so much. At the end of the day, I’m just wanting to write what I want to read and hope a bunch of other people want to read it too.
4) How does my writing process work?
Notebooks and (don’t laugh) dreams. Fine, you can laugh, but don’t tell me. I dream odd things (no, not telling) and there’s usually something in there that sparks something. I have notebooks with ideas or even just a title that popped into my head. I have names of characters that are knocking on the door to introduce themselves. I keep them in notebooks, because in the past, I’ve put them in a word doc only to forget to name it something I’ll remember. Each book starts the same way: And then what happened? With Nobles Island, it began on a typical Party Monday (an official island celebration) with a body falling and landing on a classic Corvette. Yes, I ruined the ‘vette, but since then it’s turned into a whodunit that makes even me ask and then what happened? When I have the basic idea, I sit down and start free writing. The first chapter is usually long run on sentences where I am just going until I have the basic information down. Then I go back and pick and choose what’s important, what I can build on, and what was just me having a manic episode that can be deleted.
After the introductions are made, I start thinking about why a character would do what they do. Ideas and plot lines bounce around in my head and hop onto the paper and then are added or scratched through. When I stop, there they are, waiting to be brought to life. For me, there’s no great revelatory process. I’m pretty sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with that, but at the end of the day most of my characters are who I would like to be: a nifty combination of smart, funny, brave and self-confident. Me, I’m still working on those.
Now the easy part. Tagging three other writers for this thing.
First up: Bobbi Romans, contemporary romance writer who has several titles up at Amazon and about whom I can proudly say, I knew her when we were both writing and wondering if we’d lost our minds. She’s a multiple title author who writes the Swamp Magic series and any number of juicy short stories. Check her out at: http://www.bobbiromans.com/
Then there’s my friend Ren Thompson. She’s new, but has a talent for finding a way with a word or two that appeals to my twisted sense of humor. Ren is an ‘author in waiting’ and if you check out her blog, I think you might just make a new friend and become a fan. Oh, and she doesn’t like tight socks.
Then there’s C.V. Madison. She writes horror, romance and erotica (some of my favorite things). Recently published, C.V. is on her way in the book biz and I’m proud to say I was one of the first people at her release party on facebook. If you’re looking for a little something different, check out her website and tell her Harper sent you!