Pat Amsden has kindly invited me to participate in a My Writing Process Blog Tour, which takes part on writers' blogs every Monday and gives readers a chance to find out how writers come up with their ideas. She blogged about this last Monday and today it’s my turn.
How Does My Writing Process Work?
Something will spark off an idea – it might be a conversation, or watching a film and thinking ‘what if?’ (with the final question being a million miles away from the film in question), or visiting somewhere, or an article, or a photograph. I might not even recognise it straight off as ‘oh, that’s my next book’ – but then I’ll wake up with the bare bones of a book in my head and I’ll know what sparked the idea. I’m very much a morning person, so if my husband or kids get a grunt and The Look instead of my usual Tiggerish self, they know not to talk to me until I’ve scribbled down a few notes!
I’m a plotter rather than a ‘seat of the pants’ writer, so the next step for me is to work out the outline. I normally list the conflicts separately (so I can see if they’re enough to sustain a whole book or if they need strengthening – or even changing completely), as well as a brief bio of the hero and heroine, and then what happens in the book (including emotional turning points).
And then (once I’ve agreed the outline with my editor), it’s a matter of writing it. Because I’m a planner, I know how many words I need to write per day to hit my target (allowing a few days’ wriggle room, in case life gets in the way). Some days, it flows really well. Other days, I find myself doing online word puzzles and I have to be disciplined and decamp to the dining room with the iPad (which has a slow internet connection – so I stay off the internet/email!).
What I’m Working On
I’m waiting for the revisions on my sixtieth Mills & Boon – a Medical Romance set in a tropical medicine department. I’m also working on my next Harlequin Romance, which has a Christmas theme, and I’ve sent my editor the outline for the Medical Romance after that (which is a follow-up to the current one).
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
That’s a tricky one to answer as category romance is often seen as ‘all the same’ – but if you gave twenty romance authors the same premise you’d end up with twenty completely different books. And the difference would be in voice, tone and characterisation. So I guess what makes my work differ from others would be my voice. ‘Full of warmth, heart and charm’ is how one reviewer has described my books; and you’ll probably find something a little bit quirky in there, too. (Oh, and there might be a spaniel sneaking in. He does masquerade as a cat occasionally, and as a labrador - but if there's a dog who steals shoes and wanders around with a teddy-bear, that's my boy with a walk-in part!)
Why Do I Write What I Write?
Because I like happy endings. I like being able to write a book that might make people cry at times but will also make them laugh, and finally feel good. A reader once said to me that when she was having a bad day, she would read one of my books and feel that the world was a better place after all – and being able to do that for someone through my stories is the best thing of all.
It is my great pleasure to introduce you to the three bloggers who will be following me next Monday.
USA Today bestselling author Donna Alward writes for Harlequin. Her latest release is Her Rancher Rescuer, and her very first single title novel, The House on Blackberry Hill, will be out from St Martin’s Press in April. Her website is at www.donnaalward.com.
Nina Harrington writes for Harlequin Kiss and Carina UK, and has won awards from Cataromance and Romantic Times. Her latest release is Trouble on Her Doorstep. Her website is at http://www.ninaharrington.com.
Caroline Anderson has written nearly 100 novels for Harlequin – fabulous warm Romance/Cherish and Medical Romance, and she’s been shortlisted for the RNA Rose award and topped the Waldenbooks romance chart before now. Her latest release is Risk of a Lifetime (out next month!). Her website is in progress, so I’ll be hosting her next week :)