Monday, May 12, 2014

What, Why, and How I Write

Surprise!  Regina here, and not even on a Tuesday!  Marissa and I swapped days this week, because awesome YA author Marilee Brothers invited me to be part of the Big Easy Writing Process Blog Tour.  Marilee writes fun fiction with a touch of magic. Her writing has been called “an amazing combination of intelligent and goofy.”  My kind of gal!

She tagged me, and I get to tag three other fabulous authors after answering four questions.

1.  What am I working on?

I am working on the second book in my upcoming Frontier Bachelors series about the East coast ladies who journeyed to Seattle after the Civil War to help civilize the area.  In A Bride for Their Brother, prim and proper nurse Catherine Stanway is kidnapped by the youngest male member of a family of brothers desperate for help to cure their ailing mother.  Catherine agrees to stay and help, and the brothers decide she’d be the perfect match for their leader, Drew Wallin.  Drew feels like he has enough on his hands with raising four brothers and a sister after his father’s death 10 years ago.  He has no interest in taking on a wife, particularly one raised in the city who has no idea how to get on in the wilderness.  But Catherine just might teach him a thing or two about life, and love.

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

That’s like asking a mother why her children are better than anyone else’s!  In my mind, my stories are different because I tend to blend humor, history, romance, mystery, and adventure into one story.  Those are the stories I like read. Those are the stories I like to write.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

Because those stories call to me.  They wake me up in the middle of the night with scenes and characters begging for a full plot.  They pop into my head when I’m at museums or walking past historical houses.  They even introduce themselves at highly inappropriate times, like when I’m being paid to take notes at technical meetings on nuclear waste (that’s where the premise for Perfection arrived).  And they don’t let go until they are written, or rewritten in the case of La Petite Four, now Art and Artifice.

4.  How does my writing process work?

I start with an idea, spend a day or two asking “what if” to see how far I can take it.  I do enough research to make sure the basic idea is historically feasible.  Then I brainstorm the plot and lay out a very rough, high-level outline that ends in “crisis, resolution, denouement” (I kid you not).  Next I write the first draft long-hand in a blank journal, with lots of holes (“Describe hero here.”  “What did they use for lighting in 1866 Seattle?”).  I let the characters and plot go where they will.  When the first draft is done, I go back and research any holes I discovered along the way.  Then I transcribe the journal into the computer, broadening, deepening, filling as I go.  By that time, I have a pretty good idea of what is bothering me about the story, what’s keeping it from being as good as I want.  I print it out and hack it up, then revise it in the computer.  Then it goes to my wonderful critique partner, who tells me what she likes and hates about it, and I revise it once more to deal with any problem areas.  Finally it’s off to my editor for my Love Inspired titles or a copy-editor for my self-published titles.

Curious how other authors write?  So am I.  I’m tagging three other great authors, who will be answering these questions next Monday, May 19:

Cheryl Bolen is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling and award-winning author of more than 20 romance books, both historical and contemporary mystery.  Since she was named Notable New Author in 1999, her books have been translated into eight languages.  In 2006 she won the Holt Medallion (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent) for Best Historical, and in 2012 she won Best Historical in the International Digital Awards for ebooks published the prior year.  Admitting to a fascination with dead Englishmen and women, she invites readers to her website or her blog or to connect with her on Facebook.

Aileen Fish, author of The Bridgethorpe Brides series and the Small Town Sweethearts series, is an avid quilter and auto racing fan who finds there aren't enough hours in a day/week/lifetime to stay up with her "to do" list. There is always another quilt or story begging to steal away attention from the others. When she has a spare moment she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and their families, and her fairy princess granddaughter.  You can find her online at her blog and website.

Mary Jane Hathaway is the pen name of an award-nominated writer who spends the majority of her literary energy on subjects unrelated to Jane Austen. A homeschooling mother of six young children who rarely wear shoes, she's madly in love with a man who has never read a single Jane Austen novel. She holds degrees in religious studies and theoretical linguistics, and has a Jane Austen quote on the back of her van. She can be reached on Facebook at Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits or at her blog. She also writes under Virginia Carmichael, which is another pen name, because she's just that cool.


Lynn Lovegreen said...

Hi Regin,a nice post. Funny, I wrote about my writing process on my blog for this week too. An idea whose time has come? :-)

Regina Scott said...

Must be, Lynn! Love that serendipity! Thanks!

Marilee Brothers said...

Wow, Regina, I am so impressed with your writing process. I might have to give it a try. Maybe then, I wouldn't write myself into a corner and have to backtrack. Thanks for participating in this blog tour.

Regina Scott said...

LOL-Marilee--and here I thought I was a dinosaur for continuing to hand-write the first draft. Can't seem to break myself of the habit so I stopped trying. Thanks for inviting me to join the tour. It was fun!

Mary Jane Hathaway said...

Great post! I always loving reading about where and how great books happen!

Regina Scott said...

Thanks, Virginia! Can't wait for next week to see what Mary Jane, Aileen, and Cheryl post. :-)