Blog Hop – Writers On Writing

I was asked by the gifted writer, Tracy Guzeman, author of The Gravity of Birds, to join a blog hop devoted to how writers go through the process of writing. Before I get into any specifics about me, I would like to state my belief that no matter what the genre, we writers do our best to turn out quality work. Further, none of us knows for sure what it is we’re writing until we’ve written it. This is true even for non-fiction. The insecurity of this is the commonality that binds us together. We know everything. We know nothing. We give birth to and love our characters. We force them to go through turmoil and pain, stripping away self-respect and inner peace. We dream up worlds for them to visit or live; worlds in which we, ourselves, have no intention of being a part. We condense, homogenize, glorify, shame or exemplify facets of the human condition. To wit, we create fiction that shines a light on truth.
From the first Neanderthal who picked up a flint to scratch on the wall of a cave, to Shakespeare, Jane Austin, John Steinbeck, J.K. Rowling, and all the thousands before and to follow, we are part of a noble profession. Once we get away from the insanity it takes to be a writer, we are left with the simple joy of writing words that impact, share, and illuminate our fellow human beings. As I say, it is a noble profession.

What am I working on/writing?
I am working on what I would like to think is the final draft of the fourth book in the humorous Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series, DEAD….If only. But I know it isn’t. I have another round of rewrites to make, at least. Then it goes to my friend and editor, Baird Nuckolls, who will find the flaws and weaknesses I can no longer see. After Baird does her thing, and I make those corrections, I will then send it to my beta readers, who will, hopefully, nitpick the hell out of it. How this sucker will ever see the light of day, how any of the six previous novels have ever seen the light of day, is the biggest mystery of them all. Even though I am sick to death of the story by now, hate this part of the process, I will persevere. Not because I am responsible or disciplined, but because there’s nothing else to be done for it. It’s a writer’s lot. Heigh ho.
How does my writing/work differ from others in its genre?
For the most part, I write humorous mysteries, but the laughs often run parallel with serious matters i.e., hurt, sadness, misunderstandings, disappointments, and so forth. While my characters are flawed, I try to have each of them learn life lessons, and to become B&BP (Bigger and Better People). My personal philosophy is the glass is always half full, and I try to share that through my characters. My protagonists in both mystery series – Lee Alvarez in the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, and Persephone ‘Percy’ Cole, of the Persephone Cole Vintage Mysteries – have this trait. I don’t want them to make the same mistakes again and again, doomed for all eternity to be exactly who they were when they started out. I want them to learn and grow. Not only does it make the characters more interesting, but in my opinion, it’s part of real life. Everyday when most of us get up, we discover or learn something new, even if it’s don’t put leaves from your rosebush in the garbage disposal; it becomes really unhappy. That was my lesson for the day.
Why do I write what I do?
 Frankly, life is tough. Some days it can be overwhelmingly difficult. If I can help someone through a bad day by handing them a laugh, lighten their hearts for just a moment, steal their minds away from their troubles, I’m proud to do it. I remember several years ago when I was at Copperfield’s Books in Napa, signing my novels. A woman took her time in choosing which book of the series she wanted, carefully reading all the blurbs on the back covers. She apologized for taking so long, saying it was because she wanted something funny to read aloud during the times her sister was having chemo treatments. The woman teared up and said her sister was having a rough time of it, needed to be brought out of herself, and have a good laugh. Well, I teared up, too. No, I don’t have the Great American Novel in me. But what I do have is an understanding of the need for humor in our lives.

How does my writing process work?
Good gawd, who knows? I sit down and write nearly every day for as long as I can. Even when we go on vacation – especially when we go on vacation – I write at least three to five hours a day. Here’s a homespun truth: You can’t be a writer unless you write. So that’s what I do. The upside of this is the more you do it, the better you get. My most creative part of the day is morning. I’m fresh and have a little energy. I usually wake up with a thousand thoughts inside my head and I can’t wait to get them down on paper. I grab a quick cup of coffee and run to my desk. I’m followed by my cats, who drape themselves everywhere. It’s tradition. I actually don’t mind; I like the companionship. I work over, under, or around them, periodically pushing them aside, and get on with it. Wherever I go in my mind, or wherever my fingers go on the keyboard, is a world I love intensely. I am very blessed that Life and my husband allow me to write without a lot of interference. The only caveat are cat treats. Did I mention one of my cats is Siamese? The little darling will bellow until plaster falls off the walls when it’s time for his treats. My writing comes to a grinding halt until they are served. Priorities, my friends, priorities.
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Next week’s Blog Hop, Monday, June 9thMeet three talented writers who will answer the same questions I did: Cindy Sample, Roseanne Dowell, and Marva Dasef. I hope you will zip on over and visit them. Just click on their names and you’re off and away!
Cindy Sample is a former mortgage banking CEO who decided
plotting murder was more entertaining than plodding through paperwork. She retired
to follow her lifelong dream of becoming a mystery author. Her national
bestselling humorous mystery series, set in the gold country of California,
features single soccer mom, Laurel McKay.
Dying for a Date, released
in 2010, was followed by Dying for a
Dance,
the winner of the 2011 Northern California Publishers and Authors
award for Fiction. Dying for a Daiquiri,
a 2014 finalist for the LEFTY Award for Best Humorous Mystery moves the action
to Hawaii. It was by far the most fun to research. Cindy is currently working
on Dying for a Dude and having a
blast. Visit her Amazon webpage at: https://tinyurl.com/mdjrgb6
 www.cindysamplebooks.com.   
http://cindysamplebooks.com/blog/ 

                                        Roseanne Dowell
Roseanne grew up reading first Nancy Drew mysteries and soon
moved on to Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. She’s a big fan of Agatha
Christie and always loved writing even as a teen, often making up different
endings to books she read and writing poems.
While working as a school secretary, she took  a correspondence course, writing for children.
It didn’t take long to realize that even though she had six children, it took
someone special to write books for them. So, she tried her hand at nonfiction,
but didn’t care for that either.  That’s
when she moved on to romance novels. But they sat in the attic with her poems
and journals.
In 2002 at a Book Club meeting, she confessed regret about
not pursuing a career in writing. That’s all it took.  Her friends convinced her it wasn’t too late.
After giving it some thought, she decided they were right and took another
writing course. Within a few months, her first article was published in Good
Old Days Magazine. Since then, she’s had articles published in several
magazines.
In 2006, Roseanne’s first book, Satin Sheets, was published
and sold over 35,000 copies. Since then, she’s decided to go the way of the
future – E-books.  She writes various
types of romance – paranormal, contemporary, mystery and women’s fiction. Her
heroines range from their early twenties to late seventies. Yes, seniors need
love, too.  Her books are available from
Amazon.  http://amzn.to/tnqgR2
Roseanne lives with her husband of fifty years, has six
grown children, fourteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She spends
her time between writing, quilting, and embroidering. She also enjoys blogging,
tweeting, facebooking and posting on various writers’ groups. Her favorite time
is being with her family.
Born in Eugene, OR and a grad of the UofO, Marva Dasef is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest
with her husband, a fat white cat, and a snarky black cat. 
Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has
now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much
more satisfying occupation.  Marva has published more than forty
stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with her
stories included in several Best of anthologies. She has several
books in many genres already published in all formats. Visit her Amazon webpage at:
https://tinyurl.com/os3qts8

 

15 Comments:

  1. Hi Janet! Thanks for leaving a comment and your kind words. Yes, you don't want to know about the rose leaves. It just makes me look really, really dumb. On another note,I think it's good to imbue our characters with traits we'd like to see in ourselves. Thanks again for dropping by! H

  2. Heather, you have a way with words. I like the B&BP theory. Don't we all wish we could be bigger and better people, so why not make our characters develop that way? Your story about the woman wanting something humorous to read to her sister while she was undergoing chemo does make all those crazy struggles with a story and re-writes and re-reading so worth it. I'm sure your humorous, entertaining mysteries would help her through that difficult experience. Okay–I won't ask about how the rose leaves went into the garbage disposal. Thanks for this delightful post!

  3. Heather, you have a way with words. I like the B&BP theory. Don't we all wish we could be bigger and better people, so why not make our characters develop that way? Your story about the woman wanting something humorous to read to her sister while she was undergoing chemo does make all those crazy struggles with a story and re-writes and re-reading so worth it. I'm sure your humorous, entertaining mysteries would help her through that difficult experience. Okay–I won't ask about how the rose leaves went into the garbage disposal. Thanks for this delightful post!

  4. Beverley, I see you've been "inspired" just like the rest of us! Are we inspired or are we driven? Probably a little of both!!

  5. Cheryl, as usual you are generous (but not to a fault)! Would love to blog hop with you one of these days. Thanks for all your support throughout the years.

  6. Penny! Thank you for reading my books and for the very kind words. I never let my writing interfere with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Which is too bad. I'd be a lot thinner!

  7. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your writing life. You're a fascinating writer. I enjoy stories with humor too. Like you say, there's enough sadness in the world. Best of luck to you.

  8. Great post, Heather. I participated in this hop at some point. I really need to catch up on my Heather Haven mysteries reading. Life is so crazy here, especially now that I am in the real estate business.

    Wishing you continued success. If you are ever looking for bloggers to host you, please let me know.

    Many blessings.

  9. Great post Heather! I've read 2 of the Alvarez mysteries and they were fabulous!

    Write on vacation??? Wow, now there is dedication!!!!

  10. Cindy, you are too funny! Zoey might be able to 'take' Yulie (Yul Bryner, King of Siam), but she can never yell as loud!

  11. Heather, you are one of the most gifted and definitely funniest writers I know. I loved your post. But I bet my 15 lb. orange cat, Zoey from the Bronx, could take your Siamese!

  12. Susan, you honor me greatly by writing that I may inspire you. Thank you for your words.

  13. I am so enjoying reading posts by all the writers in the Blog-Hop! I love your line, "We create fiction that shines a light on truth." I have always stayed within memoir, but you may inspire me to try fiction in the future. Thanks, Susan

  14. Roseanne, you are so welcome. You are a fine writer and it's an honor to share a blog with you.

  15. What a great posting. You so described the writer's life. Also, I loved reading about your life as a writer and the process. You definitely have a flair with words. Thanks for allowing me to be part of the blog hop

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