My gorgeous friend Alissa Callen recently tagged my in The Writing Process Blog Chian – much better than the old kind of chain mail – in which writers answer four questions on their writing process and then tag three friends!
Thanks to Alissa for tagging me. You can check out Alissa’s Writing Process blog here. When Alissa Callen isn’t writing she plays traffic controller to four children, three dogs, two horses and one renegade cow who really does believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Her books are characteristically heart-warming, emotional and character driven. Beneath Outback Skies, published by Random House Australia, is available now as an eBook and from May 2014 in print. Down Outback Roads, also published by Random House Australia, will be out in May as an eBook. Alissa loves to connect with readers and can be found online at her website or Facebook.
Now here are my answers to the tough questions:
1) What am I working on?
Currently I’m 35k into a sequel or linked book to my first rural romance, which was JILTED. This is Lauren the nurse’s story and it will be called THE ROAD TO HOPE and published in early 2015. The challenge for this book is that when I wrote Lauren in JILTED, she was simply a plot device – someone who is in love with that book’s hero and a nemesis to the heroine Ellie – and therefore I didn’t give much thought to her motivations or goals/dreams. I have learnt from that in that whenever I’m writing a story ALL the characters must be fully-developed with their own backstories. It’s fun though, so now I’m having to make up a background for Lauren that fits with her personality in JILTED. However she wasn’t the nicest person in JILTED so I’m having to show her reasons and motivation for this and make her sympathetic enough in this book that she is a likeable heroine!
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Rural romance is currently a hot genre in Australia and I’m one of many authors writing it. I think my point-of-difference is that I’m at the romance end of the spectrum. This spectrum is quite large from some authors who write books very rural focused and farm based, in which they highlight agricultural issues, to others who set their books in a small rural town but focus more on the relationships. My focus is the community and how the people interact in these close-knit communities and although some of my stories are set on farms or feature farmers, the rural comes second to the relationships for me.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write what I do because Fiona Palmer and Cathryn Hein told me to! LOL, that is not actually far from the truth. For about four years I worked hard targeting my writing at Mills & Boon and although I got VERY close to publication with M&B, I kept falling in between their stringent lines. When I was at a point where I was almost ready to give up writing – or so I said, doing so might have been harder – rural romance was booming and I happened to be living in a small rural community called Kojonup in Western Australia. Fiona and Cathryn told me not to lose heart but rather change tack and try write a rural romance, using my knowledge of living in a small town. This book was JILTED and although the hero is a farmer, the main plot point of that book was the return of an old resident to the town and the revival of their theatrical society.
4) How does my writing process work?
It’s all over the place, much like the rest of my life. I start with a tiny seed of an idea – in THE ROAD TO HOPE for instance this was Nurse Lauren, because lots of people had told me they wanted a sequel. I then searched my mind for other things I’d thought might be good to write about and remembered that I thought a locum doctor travelling around Australia might make a good hero. Seemed the perfect hero for a nurse because they would automatically be thrown together but then I needed to work out the backstory for Lauren and work out WHY Tom was travelling around Australia.
Then I come up with goals, motivations and conflicts for each character and if possible the turning points and the black moment of the book. And then, the fun begins… I sit down at the computer and let my fingers do the talking. Mostly this works well for me but because I don’t plan in too much detail or outline the whole book, sometimes I get stuck! But hey, working out how to get myself out of a fix is all part of the fun!
I’ve tagged three very good writing friends (see below) and you can read their posts next Monday 3rd of Feb.
Cathryn Hein was born in South Australia’s rural south-east. With three generations of jockeys in the family it was little wonder she grew up horse mad, finally obtaining her first horse at age 10. So began years of pony club, eventing, dressage and showjumping until university beckoned.
An unashamed fan of all things happily ever after, Leah Ashton has been a lifelong reader of romance. Writing came a little bit later, although in hindsight, she’d been dreaming up stories for as long as she can remember. Sadly, the most popular boy in school never did suddenly fall head over heels in love with her…
Now she lives in Perth, Western Australia with her own real life hero, two gorgeous dogs and the world’s smartest cat. By day, she works in IT, and by night she considers herself incredibly lucky to be writing the type of books she loves to read, and to have the opportunity to share her own characters’ happy ever afters with readers.
Jackie has been writing fiction since she was eleven years old. Mild mannered fantasy/SF/pseudo-literary writer by day, obsessive romance writer by night, she used to balance her writing with the more serious job of librarianship until a chance meeting with another romance writer prompted her to throw off the shackles of her day job and devote herself to the true love of her heart – writing romance. She particularly likes to write dark, emotional stories with alpha heroes who’ve just got the world to their liking only to have it blown wide apart by their kick-ass heroines.
She lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr Jax, two kids, two cats and some guppies (possibly dead guppies by the time you read this). When she’s not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on her blog, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband.