What is my writing process?
Do I outline my books?
Do I know how they will end?
Where does my inspiration come from?
How do I develop my characters?
Why do I work a full-time job and not write full-time?
I am asked these questions all the time but there are no easy answers.
As a very visual person I write a scene as it unfolds in my mind and go back and edit it later. As the dialogue unfolds it takes shape and the chapter feels like a film that I sort of control.
I never know where a scene will end let alone how one of my novels will end. I may have an idea or two but that has been known to change on a dime.
I know there is an arc, a trajectory which peaks at a certain point and then winds down, but I never know where that point is until I begin to write. Who will live? Who must die. Who needs to be heard in this chapter?
I do not outline. No, I should clarify. I do write notes and draw lines between characters and as the scenes unfold I get a sense of where the story is going and then it builds on its own momentum.
My characters are all “in there” meaning they live inside of me. It sounds schizophrenic I know but they do and I know all their likes and dislikes, their pain and deepest secrets. Perhaps they are people I knew in a past life for I know them so well.
A reader confessed that she knew nothing about vampires. I have created a world filled with mortal and vampiric characters.
Although I draw on the influences of Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton, my characters are as fragile and guilt-ridden as you and I. Living forever gives one a certain power and perspective but it does not make one less prone to the pangs of love, betrayal or regret. Taking a life does not give these vampires the power to go back in time and mend a mistake. Just like us they have to live with themselves and their choices. Immortality gives one a lens with which to look back over long expanses of time. That is sometimes not a good thing.
Why don’t I write full-time? I had a well-known published author once tell me not to quite my day job. She was not referring to me but to the group of us writers attending her seminar. As she explained, it has taken her decades of writing and selling novels to reach a point where she did not have to work another job and just focus on writing. I was shocked but not discouraged and though I wish I could devote more time during my day to writing I also enjoy working and being around people. Honestly, I would lose my mind being home alone every day.
For the time being I write when inspiration fills me and time allows. I must admit that if an agent approached me then I might sing a different tune but I think the world of publishing is like any other business. It’s about making money, not necessarily great literature. What type of story will sell? What is “hot” right now? We have all read incredible novels that do not sell and in turn, I have read some mediocre novels that have made it to the shelves of Barnes and Noble and onto the NYT best seller list. Some novels create a buzz and some novels just are in the right place at the right time.
The wheels of publishing turn but I can’t imagine being ground up in that process.
And finally, where does all this inspiration come from?
I have written at length about the experience that lead to the creation of he vampire Christian Du Mauré. Nine years later it is still haunting and ineffable and I am forever searching like a star-crossed lover for the story I am to tell. All I know is that it is one of deep love and profound sadness.