I'm supposed to answer these questions:
- What am I working on?
- How does my work differ from others' of its genre?
- Why do I write what I do?
- How does my writing process work?
Honestly, I can't think of a better approach than to dive right in, so here goes:
I'm working on two major projects right now. The first, praise be, is the sequel to Discovering Ren, entitled, Shadow King. At this very moment, I should be poring over the text, word by word, looking for typos and making sure all the plot details are consistent and make sense. Ah, the joys of final editing. If you're an author, you know how hard this is. If you're not, just know that the authors you read make less per hour than the poorest third-world factory worker, given all the time they put in and the tiny royalties they receive. (I'm assuming you're not reading James Patterson.) But the good news is, if you've been awaiting, eagerly or otherwise, the next chapter in the tale of the Ambrosine family, you'll get it come fall from Cogwheel Press!
The other project is my first venture into novel-length steampunk fiction, under my alter ego's name, Evelyn Grimwood. It's a steamy adventure-romance, blending genuine history and Victorian technology with time travel, theoretical/quantum physics, and sizzling hot sex. Oh my oh my, such fun.
My writing is a blend of everything I've ever read. And I mean everything, from Shakespeare to Donne to Austen to Dickens to my college textbooks, Bruno Bettleheim, Camus, the Bible, and whatever I was reading last week. On some level, I remember all of it, and it stews away in my brain, adjusting and accommodating every time something new is thrown in, and eventually it may come back out in a different form and/or context. I just finished The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (highly recommend that one; it stuck with me for days), in which one of the principal characters, herself a writer, calls this effect "the compost of fiction." New life is born of the death of many things, blended together. I loved that analogy, for its organic, earthy imagery of the unconscious mind where stories lurk and breed.
I write what I do because it's what I want to read. Simple as that. I think it was Toni Morrison who said that if there's a book you want to read that doesn't exist, you should write it. I don't write to be rich or famous (although I wouldn't necessarily object!), and I don't write to impress people. I certainly don't write to please my family. I write because I want to. I enjoy it. I'm a creative person. I used to paint, but with small children I found the constant interruptions didn't allow for my creative process. I can write in short spurts, stolen time, here and there, early in the mornings, late at night, on my lunch hour, whenever I'm alone and it's quiet and the voices have been clamoring to be released from their prison in my head. Which brings me to…
My writing process can be subconscious or conscious. Sometimes I sit down and force myself to write, extracting the words like teeth, one excruciating bit at a time. At other times, I wake up with scenes, dialog, and full chapters in my head, and it's a matter of transcribing them. (I've got a good bit of the third book in my series stored away in my brain.) I write while I'm driving, in the shower, while I'm weeding, when I'm putting myself to sleep. About the only time I'm not writing is when I'm talking or when it's noisy.
Wow, that was lengthy! Thanks for persevering, dear readers, and peace to all!