My Q & A:
What are you working on right now?
A family saga have titled ROUNDABOUT. (which means merry-go-round or carousel) The title is connected to a carousel theme within the book but also to the roundabout nature of my character's emotional journey.
|Me on my favorite roundabout in Ocean City, MD|
I typically write historical fiction but this book is a hybrid. My protagonist (Hilly) is a contemporary character on an emotional journey. Via family keepsakes she discovers the stories of 5 ancestors. As she does this, her own story unfolds and the ancestor's stories add meaning to her own. So this one is historical fiction packaged within contemporary realism.
Why do you write what you do?
Because I can’t seem to help myself. I find history and want to tell it. I discover heartbreak and want to push into it. I have hope and want to share it.
How does your writing process work?
After I’ve bumped into that irresistible bit of history, I read and research all I can. I imagine a character in that setting and think about conflict he or she will encounter. I get a general outline in my head. Then I start writing.
Although I do a lot of reading early on, I continue to research the whole time I’m writing. This involves interviews with experts, travel, museums, movies, food, and hours spent at microfilm machines with old newspaper accounts. And riding merry-go-rounds, of course!
I write a section, read it back to myself and tweak it often as I go. (This is possibly a habit I should give up since a story benefits from momentum.) When the first draft is finished I give it to writer friends for feedback. I revise based on their critiques. And then I repeat – sometimes giving it to different critics. Occasionally I take my manuscript to a workshop for an editor’s in-depth critique. Eventually I submit!
Any parting words of wisdom for other writers?
Immerse yourself in the writing community. Swap critiques with your writer friends. Revise based on their criticism. Eat dark chocolate and exercise!