In the 11th grade, I found my English teacher fascinating and brilliant. She not only taught, she inspired, she motivated, she encouraged, and she believed. One day, she called me up to her desk. I was certain I was in trouble. She had just separated my best friend and me, so instead of passing notes the traditional way, we were forced to write notes big enough to read from across the room, particularly hilarious notes that day, if I recall, which resulted in unsquelchable laughter. (That’s a word.) When I arrived at her desk, she handed me a short story I wrote inspired by Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and said, “You have the gift of writing. I hope you’ll use it.”
My beautiful IRL/blogger bestie, Beth, over at Writer B is Me sent me a text the other day that said something like, “Hey, NBD, but I want to pass this thing to you for your blog where you’ll basically just answer questions about your writing.”
I think I said, “Oh, okay. Sounds like fun.”
So that little text landed me next in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. Little did I know that the questions would be real and want to know about my *real* writing, and that they would make me *think.* Thank you, Beth, for pushing me out of my hole where I was hiding with my…well you’ll see.
~ What am I working on?
I’m not working on anything currently because as I type this, my editor is working diligently to help me mold and shape my first novel. I can’t believe I’m talking about it out loud (in type) because it’s sort of my little secret that I like to keep in my locked treasure box and only share with a few choice people. I have gone through a lot of emotions in regards to passing this to an editor, to allow a stranger to see my words, but I can’t hide it forever. It’s time, and it is quite the surreal feeling to not work on it, to not constantly think about it, obsess about it, about them…my characters because that’s what I’ve done for almost two years. I miss them.
~How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I read across all genres, my favorite being Historical Fiction, but I do not discriminate. When I began writing my book, I originally wanted it to be dark and twisted, a psychological thriller with a romantic undertone, but my main character became so real to me as I developed her that her story took a different path and landed in more of a “contemporary romance” genre, which I sprinkled with a few dark twists and a lot of sex. This story differs from typical contemporary romance stories in that my main character is not your every day heroine. She’s a deep thinker but shallow, a narcissist but insecure, she’s troubled but well kept. But the real unexpected difference in this story and the typical “contemporary romance” is the ending. Not every story ends with the boy and girl riding off together into the sunset, or at least this story doesn’t.
~Why do I write what I do?
I earned my degree in Psychology, and had I not been so incredibly broke, I would most certainly have pursued a PhD specializing in drug addiction and suicide. One morning, I heard a song while I was in the shower, and it spoke to me. I imagined the person from the lyrics. I thought about her all day. She personified in my head, and when she interfered with my slumber, I pulled out my laptop and wrote my first chapter. I decided her story should be told, so I told it. I grow tired of reading stories that tie a pretty pink ribbon around the ending. Sometimes a story needs a real ending, one chalked full of rips and scrapes, heartbeats and flat lines, and authenticity.
~How does my writing process work?
It’s a result of obsessively obsessing. I never write an outline. I start with a blank canvas. I see a character, and I begin painting her/him in my head. When she/he is real to me, I write the words. The first words never stick, so I rewrite, and rewrite again. I think I wrote my first chapter over twenty-seven times. There is a point in the book where the story takes a really sharp turn, and I took two months off of writing to work the story line over in my head, to make sure the turn left its mark – a little emotional whiplash hopefully.
I find massive inspiration in music, my number one muse, which makes up the soundtrack to what I write. Some of the scenes in the book are built around a song that grabbed me and had to be part of the story. And then there are parts inspired by the raw emotion I felt during a soulful duet that resulted from a piano’s dance with a cello.
I also rely heavily on my beta readers to help me shape the story. I chose some avid readers and talented writers (one of them (ahem…Beth) is mentioned earlier, and just wait until you read her book) to take on this role, and wow…the feedback was incredible. My best friend suffered through some very raw and ugly words from the beginning, and I could not be more grateful for the straightforward criticism that she offered and for her relentless support and encouragement. I truly have an all-star beta team, to whom I am eternally indebted. I may have to wash a few cars, shine some shoes, maybe even flash my boobs because my betas rock my world.
So there you have it. I wrote a book. Maybe you will read it hopefully some time before the end of the year. If I’m brave enough…
Someone who is brave and has a captivating and amazing story is my sweet blogger friend, Sandy at Mother of Imperfection. Her posts sometimes leave me searching for a tissue, sometimes make me giggle, but always, always make me love her more. Look for Sandy’s post next Monday, April 27th. I can’t wait to see what she has to say.