What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
It’s more circular than linear. I write in snippets as ideas occur, then build until I have enough to start organizing into chapters that I keep in separate computer files so I can I play around with the order. When I have enough, I troubleshoot and adjust the story—is it what I planned? is it becoming something else? – and make some decisions.
What makes a good story?
A story needs to be about someone who learns something, someone who starts out with a lack and acquires it, or maybe has something and loses it and in the losing acquires it. I think stories were invented to teach about a lifespan – we’re born, we live, we die = beginning, middle, end. But how do we change during that time? If there’s no change in awareness, there’s not really a story, though it could be an anecdote or just a joke.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
This is an interesting question. I think I’ll say no and here’s why. I write because I have a lot to say. Maybe some days I don’t feel like talking or thinking or even writing. Or maybe I really don’t have anything to say because I’m tired, empty, distracted, otherwise engaged. Or it could be I’ve started writing something and it isn’t turning out as I expected so I quit going that way.
Describe your writing style.
There’s a certain compactness to my writing that comes from my trying to find the strongest most perfect words to convey what I want to say. And there’s humor – my sense of humor is very dry and subtle so people don’t always pick up on it. I get a kick out of people, even ones I don’t personally want to hang around with, so I try so share my amusement by showing their quirky ideas, behaviors and speech mannerisms.
Advice you would give new authors?
When I was learning to drive, my older brother said, “it’s great that you know the rules of the road and how to operate a car. But it’s most important to know how to get where you’re going.”
I’d amend that slightly and say an author should know what they want to say. For instance, Mary Shelly wrote the first book in the horror genre, but she wanted to say that humans aren’t ultimately in charge and shouldn’t be messing with the creation of life. There’s something unique we’ve all been learning in our life’s journeys and everyone has a perspective to share. Find that something and then figure out the best way of saying it. There’s nothing better for creating a sense of urgency and passion that keep you going.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
That’s like asking me whether it’s a good decision to breathe.