June 23, 2014
I'm very belatedly posting this as part of the blog tour of authors answering questions about their writing process. I was tagged by Jean Redmann, and before her, Clifford Henderson and Angela Koenig. Thanks for thinking of me. I'm finally getting with the program.
What am I working on?
I've just sent my newest novel, The Acquittal, off to my publisher, Bold Strokes Books, to be placed in the production line. The book will be released on October 1 and I've very excited about it.
I'm spending this weekend editing the rewrite I've done of my first novel, Sometimes Quickly, which BSB will publish as an e-book later this year. It's been an interesting and sobering experience going through a book I wrote at a time I'd written practically nothing before. So many rookie mistakes. But the story's a good one, so it was fun to improve the writing and see it take on a better shape. I hope you enjoy it.
Finally, as soon as I send Sometimes Quickly off, I need to write twenty-five pages of new material for the two back to back workshops I'll be attending in August. The first is the Lambda Literary Foundation's Emerging Writer's Retreat, which I first took part in in 2008. Immediately following that week, I'll fly to Vermont for a novel writing workshop taught by Carol Anshaw. Both are great opportunities to work on improving whatever I'm working on. The problem is, I have only the vaguest idea what my next novel's going to be about. Those twenty-five pages seem an intimidating challenge at the moment.
How does my work differ from others of this genre?
That depends on what you're looking at. In many ways my work doesn't substantively differ in terms of storytelling. I write crime fiction and follow the conventions of a mystery when I'm writing a whodunit, and some of the conventions of a suspense/thriller when I'm writing one of those. Where the difference lies is in the writing, and I don't mean to say that my writing's better. My writing is unique to me, just as all writers have their individual style. Readers are attracted to style. They go back to the same authors because they like how they sound, how they pull you through a complicated story or make you laugh. Or cry. Hopefully some of my repeat readers recognize my writing style and look forward to more of it.
I'd also say, as Ellen Hart and Jean Redmann have, that I don't write lesbian romances with mysteries or intrigue plots attached to them. I do write about relationships, because I've always been interested in the private lives of the protagonists I read and want to include that in my own books. But I do not follow the conventions of romance writing. A happy ending isn't guaranteed and my characters sometimes do unsavory things.
Why do I write what I do?
I suppose this makes me think why do I talk the way I do? What I write seems to flow out of me without much forethought. I started writing crime fiction because I was so new at writing I wanted something I felt comfortable with. I'd read mysteries and thrillers my entire life, so it seemed a good place to start. I've gotten better at it with each book, but I'm not saying it's a genre I'll necessarily stick to. I'm contemplating something different with my next novel, perhaps with a storyline that would fall more into the general fiction category and, wait for it, contain some heterosexual main characters. I've written lesbian oriented novels all along and I've loved creating these strongly lesbo-centric worlds. Now I want the challenge of writing a little outside of that. I'll still have LGBT characters though. Always!
How does my writing process work?
I'm not sure I've developed a writing process. When I'm writing I tend to write at different times of the day, but it usually is everyday. It's not for any set length of time or word count, but simply how much I can productively do. As I get closer to a deadline, I'll develop more of a strict schedule so I'm sure to meet it. When I'm not working on a specific project or am simply contemplating the next book, I can go fairly long stretches of time before picking up the pen again. This time I don't have the luxury of that time in between since I have to get something up and running for those workshops. That feels uncomfortable. But I've learned that what feels uncomfortable usually works out to be really good for me.