Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

At the request of author Kimberly Shursen (, I'm answering questions about my writing process. Then I'll "tag" two other authors to respond.

What am I working on now?

Currently I'm writing book number four in the Sam Darling Mystery Series, Will You Marry Me? I know it sounds more like a romance than a mystery, but trust me, it's a mystery. Sam's dog finds a bone that turns out to be a human femur, and off our heroine goes--creating more trouble than you'd expect from a social worker-wannabe-sleuth.

The above picture, from Tiger Imagery, is going to be turned into cover art by Keri Knutson.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

First of all it takes place in my hometown of Quincy, IL. A town that normally doesn't have as many murders as my mystery series would imply. Also, Sam Darling has a psychic connection with her dog, Clancy. Clancy herself is a big help in solving crimes. Additionally Sam is one of six kids. They're close, but all of them are irritated by Sam's nosiness and her inability to stop butting in where she's not wanted.

Why do I write what I do?

I am from Quincy originally, but was a nomad in the middle part of my life. While living in hotels when I traveled weekly, I found myself homesick for the little city I loved. So one night I just started writing. This was nearly 20 years ago. I was unable to find an agent because my first manuscript was like many from novice writers--it wasn't well-written and was full of rookie mistakes. So I put the manuscript away. However, it kept surfacing in my brain. I really liked the characters, and they haunted me. So I edited, edited, and edited it some more. And finally an indie publisher thought it was good enough. By the way, she was the first person I sent it to after I'd re-written it.

How does my writing process work?

Well, as I said--the first book was born from boredom and homesickness. The second idea followed soon after, and the third and so on. Now I only work part-time at my other jobs--as a mental health therapist and a university instructor. I view writing as a job as well. Three or four days a week I go to my favorite writing spot, Panera Bread, and write for three or four hours in the morning. I also write by my sister's pool during the summer. The only place I don't write is at home in my nice little office. For some reason, writing at home is too distracting. I keep thinking of laundry and all the TV shows I've taped but haven't watched yet. When the weather's nice, my dog Gus accompanies me to the Panera patio and definitely to my sister's pool. I find him calming and sometimes an inspiration for Clancy in the books.

Ideas aren't hard for me to come by. Discipline is.

What are my writing plans for the future?

As I said, I'm working on book four and I have ideas for several more in the Sam Darling series. I'm also considering branching out with some stand-alone novels--maybe a little edgier, or maybe a different genre.

I would like to retire from my other jobs some day, but hope to never have to retire from writing. Not only does writing keep my mind active, the characters continually make me laugh. I think I'm my own best audience.

Currently my books are available on in electronic format. They'll be in print by summer.

Tagging: I'm tagging Nikki Shields and Lynnette Spratley to blog about their writing, using the above questions.