My friend and fellow DFW Workshop member, David Goodner, tagged me in the My Writing Process Blog Tour meme. Below are my answers, and the three people who agreed to keep this meme going.
What am I working on?
I'm editing my historical novel, PALO DURO, to ready it for submission in September.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write character driven mysteries with too much cussing to qualify it as a cozy, not enough blood to qualify it as gritty, too much romance to qualify it as a procedural and not enough romance for it to be erotica. The central character is a male instead of a female, a police chief instead of an amateur sleuth, and it's a crime novel instead of a thriller. To me, it's a pretty straight forward small town crime novel, which it turns out is more unique than I thought.
Why do I write what I do?
I love history and historical fiction. I love learning something new when I read and the opportunity to do that for other readers is appealing. Plus, there aren't enough American authors writing about American history. Unless it's the Civil War. Everyone writes about the Civil War. But, there is so, so much more out there to write about. It's getting better, actually. I've seen quite a few unique American historical fiction novels recently: The Traitor's Wife, Orphan Train, One Thousand White Women, to name a few. I love British and European history as much as the next person, but it's time for historical fiction to move on from Nazis and the British monarchy, I think.
Why do I write mysteries? I'm not sure, truth be told. Since my reading habits are so varied, I I don't read a ton of mysteries and when I do it's whatever catches my eye. It might be cozy, traditional, noir, thriller, crime procedural. This lack of genre focus in my reading probably explains why my novel isn't easily slotted into a sub-genre. I've been influenced by many of them. When I wrote STILLWATER, I wrote a mystery I would like to read and discovered I like writing mysteries.
And women's fiction? That is such a hard genre to define. To me, all of my novels are women's fiction because they have a strong female as a central character. I've dabbled in erotica but haven't written a traditional romance. I might one day, but for now I'm focusing on writing strong female protagonists in male dominated worlds.
How does my writing process work?
My writing process is 60% procrastination, and by procrastination I mean naps, and 40% writing. I'm not kidding.
I start with an idea, usually a character. I'll go through my daily activities, distracted and distant, thinking about this idea; fleshing out the character, the situation, the setting. Then, I start writing. I don't outline, save for one or two word sentences for each chapter, which I usually write once I'm halfway done with the book. It's at the halfway mark that it starts to flow, I realize there's an end to work toward. I finish the first draft, polish it up, then send it to my first reader, Mark. He tears it apart, and I rewrite. He teases me that I write two novels worth of prose for every novel I write. So far, he's right. I keep hoping that as I develop as a writer, I will develop a more streamlined writing process. So far, that hasn't happened.
If the idea is historical fiction, I try to read as much as I can on the subject and time period before so I have a good grasp on the feel of the time. Between my first and second draft, I'll do specific research to get the details right. I can't research while I write or I will fall down every research rabbit hole there is and get nothing done.
Three of my writing friends have graciously agreed to continue this little meme.
A.M. Bostwick writes Middle Grade and Young Adult novels. An early draft of her young adult novel, "Break the Spell," was a finalist in the 2013 Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Fab 5 Contest. Abigail lives in northern Wisconsin with her husband, dog and thrill-seeking cat. THE GREAT CAT NAP, winner of the 2014 Tofte/Wright Children's Literature Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, is her debut novel.
Jenny Martin is a librarian, a book monster, and a certified electric-guitar-rawking Beatle-maniac. She lives in Dallas with her husband and son, where she hoards books and regularly blisses out over all kinds of live and recorded rock. Her debut YA novel, TRACKED, will be released in 2014 by Dial, an imprint of Penguin.