Thank you, Michelle Edwards, for inviting me to join My Writing Process Blog Tour! This is a great way to begin my blog and my new website. I enjoy Michelle so much as a writer, a knitter, and most of all as a friend. We talk regularly to each other about what’s going on in our writing and personal lives, and I have great respect for her opinions. I’ll return about twice a month to post updates and answers to questions I’m often asked.
I’d like to thank my good friend Sharon Knight for the use of her beautiful photograph, “Asana.” Be sure to check out her photography blog at www.sunearthsky.com.
What am I working on?
Writing careers can veer. Up until now, I’ve written novels exclusively for young readers, mostly for students, 8 to 14 years old. But I admit that most of the fiction I read is for a general adult audience. So this year, I’m writing a humorous mystery novel for grown-ups with my husband Ed, and I’m having a blast! We love cats, and we’re Mom and Dad to five furry daughters. The novels will have at least one feline character in each story. The research has been fun, interviewing three women who raise and show cats. And last week I talked with a police dispatcher who gave me some really great suggestions. Here’s Ed’s and my MO: We discuss the hook, the characters, the general plot. Then I write the first draft; Ed writes the second.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
One thing I love about writing is that I don’t have to limit myself to one genre. My middle-grade books have run from mystery, to back-to-school, to humor, to coming-of-age novels. Three of my YAs are labeled “horror,” but are really just scary mystery or suspense novels. Another is about a serious topic, but it’s laced liberally with humor. I nearly always include humorous characters in my stories.
Why do I write what I do?
I generally write what I enjoy reading. I love developing characters who show their quirks and flaws, their longings and bunglings. Their heroic acts and selfish whims. How do they get into the difficulties in which they find themselves? And how do they deal with those problems? When I think I’ve nailed a character, I feel great satisfaction.
How does my writing process work?
Though I personally love my characters more than anything else, the plot is what interests most readers. So my story comes first. I usually think of the hook, then figure out what happens after that. I keep asking, “What if?,” getting the lead character in trouble and keeping her there, digging her in deeper and deeper, until she finds a way to save herself. If the character is likeable, someone with whom the reader can identify, the reader will keep turning those pages.
I’ve invited my husband Ed Gorman (Ed’s website) a writer of mystery and suspense novels and our friend, mystery writer Bill Crider (Bill’s website), to follow me on this tour. They will be answering the same questions. A little more about these two writers:
ED GORMAN has been a full-time freelance writer for a quarter century during which he has published crime novels, horror novels and western novels though he is best known for his crime fiction.
“Ed Gorman has the same infallible readability as writers like Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins, Donald E. Westlake, Ed McBain, and John D. MacDonald.” Jon Breen, Ellery Queen
Kirkus called Ed Gorman “One of the most original crime writers around.”
Gorman’s novels The Poker Club and The Haunted have both been filmed. Author of more than thirty novels and ten collections of short stories, The Oxford Book of Short Stories noted that his work “provides fresh ideas, characters and approaches.”
BILL CRIDER used to be chair of the Division of English and Fine Arts at Alvin Community College. Having retired from that job, he’s now a full-time writer. He’s the author of more than fifty published novels and numerous short stories. He won the Anthony Award for best first mystery novel in 1987 for Too Late to Die and was nominated for the Shamus Award for best first private-eye novel for Dead on the Island. He won the Golden Duck award for “best juvenile science fiction novel” for Mike Gonzo and the UFO Terror. He and his wife, Judy, won the best short story Anthony in 2002 for their story “Chocolate Moose.” His story “Cranked” from Damn Near Dead (Busted Flush Press) was nominated for the Edgar award for best short story. His most recent crime novel is Compound Murder from St. Martin’s. This August St. Martin’s will publish Half in Love with Artful Death. Check out his homepage at billcrider.com or his peculiar blog at billcrider.blogspot.com.