I think back to the days I dreamed about being a writer (as opposed to actually writing.) Questions swirled in my head about the process, but I didn’t know any real writers to ask. This was long before the Internet and the wealth of information and connections that are possible now.
Today, of course, we have so much information at our fingertips that it often becomes overwhelming. Still we are blessed with having virtual access to many writers and getting a window into their writing lives. That’s what this blog hop is all about. Whether you are currently writing, or still in the dreaming stage, we hope what we have to share here offers insight, instruction, information, or maybe even entertainment. So give us some feedback, if you will. Leave comments here and on the blogs of the writers before and after my post today.
I give thanks to B.C. Stone for tagging me to do this challenge. I met Bryan at a meeting of Croak & Dagger, our Albuquerque chapter of Sisters in Crime. He had a book signing scheduled in the next few days, and I went to see what his books were all about. Much to my delight, he’s taken a glamorous movie star from the 1930s and turned her into the detective protagonist of his series. Kay Francis might not be as well known as Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, and Carol Lombard. But her films were as entertaining as she was beautiful. I love that Bryan chose her to put into his books, along with a cast of other famous stars from that era. Check out Bryan’s blog The Vagrant Mood.
At the end of this post, I’ll tell you all about the two fine authors who will follow me and do their blogs on this subject next week on Monday, July 28. But for now, here are the traveling questions and my responses:
What am I working on?
On Monday, June 30, 2014, I finished the last chapter of my next book, Murder on Sagebrush Lane (at least that’s the title at this moment!) This is another book featuring my characters from The Easter Egg Murder. I immediately started the editing process and have taken two, almost three, passes at it. My editing partner will return from three weeks of travel this week, and we plan to do an extremely thorough joint editing project for the next two weeks. After that, I have the germ of an idea for the next book in the series.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write cozy mysteries, in the tradition of—sort of—Agatha Christie. So how could I be different from all those other writers doing the same thing? Easy. We are all such different people, with so many different experiences in life and ways of living those lives. In my case, one thing that’s different is that I set the stories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which greatly pleases my friends living here, and perhaps befuddles readers from other places. The other thing is I draw on the experiences of my family members, many of whom have spent time in law enforcement. Then I drop in a few of the strange and wonderful people I’ve met over my lifetime, and Voila! My mystery is not the same as another writer of the same genre. How could it be?
Why do I write what I do?
Because I LOVE mysteries! Really, that has been my pleasure reading most of my life. Even the early books I read had some sort of mystery going on. I spent part of my early childhood in a home that included, among others, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother. The radio was always on, and at night, the mysteries dominated the airwaves. The inevitability of becoming a fan of that genre was set back then. We had The Thin Man, The Fat Man, Lux Mystery Theater, Inner Sanctum Mystery, The Shadow, The FBI in Peace and War, Dragnet, and the ever popular Johnny Dollar. I sat on my own little bench every night, chin propped in my hands, enthralled with the pictures in my head that accompanied the actors performing the story on radio.
They say do what you love, and for me, that’s mystery!
How does my writing process work?
First I get an idea. Maybe it’s an incident I’ve heard about, or a story on the news. Sometimes it’s just an inciting incident—the thing that starts the story. I think on that over time until I know how to begin. After that, I start seeing the story unfold like a screenplay. I see the people, moving through life, talking, laughing, whatever they are doing. I write down what they say and what they’re doing. Things happen to them, and I am the scribe.
At some point, I have to stop and take inventory of how many subplots are out there, and whether they can stay or if a few should be dumped. Occasionally I go back and insert a plot point earlier to make things work better. That’s one thing that’s so satisfying about fiction: if you don’t like how the story is going, change it!
Okay, those are the questions, and that’s enough about me. Here are the two writers who graciously accepted my invitation to take these same questions and run with them.
Charlene Bell DietzI’ve known Charlene most of my life. We’ve been friends since seventh grade at Jefferson Junior High. She moved away before high school, and I lost track of her. Imagine my surprise when I discovered she’d been back in Albuquerque for years!
I invited her to attend my writers critique group back in 2005 and we reestablished our earlier friendship. Not only is she an outstanding writer, she’s a very talented artist, too! Here’s Charlene’s bio and info about her book:
Born and lived in the mountains of Colorado, then New Mexico and Wyoming, and now back in New Mexico where she still resides, Charlene Dietz attended both the University of Wyoming and the University of New Mexico. She received her Bachelor and Masters degrees from UNM focusing on art, science, and education. She later received her administrative certification. She taught and work at all levels, kindergarten through high school and even college. After she retired she traveled across many states doing presentations for Houghton Mifflin Publishing and conducting staff development and school district in-services. Her writing includes published articles, children’s stories, award winning short stories, and Cuba Libre Conspiracies, a commercial fiction mystery that’s looking for a home. Her second book in this series Illusive Inheritance is in progress.
Charlene’s first book, Cuba Libre Conspiracies, is told from the protagonist’s point of view. Beth, a Denver scientist, finds her marriage failing and her research sabotaged when an estranged aunt, Kathleen, slams into her life and, to Beth’s exasperation, institutes a nightly cocktail hour complete with roaring 20’s stories. With their conflicting opinions and personalities ping-ponging off each other, Beth’s perception of her carefully planned life changes. She carelessly plunges herself into danger to unravel her corporate espionage mystery. In the process she discovers a disturbing family secret.
Go here to read some of Charlene’s wonderful blog posts: http://www.inkydancestudios.wordpress.com
Joe is, in addition to being a talented thriller writer, one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve met on this journey. He has a long string of books published over the last eleven years. I first met him at a Southwest Writers meeting where he was the featured speaker. He helped me with editing my book and offered some really good suggestions. Then he came through for me again by agreeing to be one of the writers I tagged for the Writing Process Blog Hop. Here is Joe’s bio and information:
Joseph Badal worked for 38 years in the financial services industry, retiring in 2007 after 6 years as a director and senior executive of a New York Stock Exchange-listed company.
Before he began his finance career, Joe was a decorated military officer, having served in the U.S. army for 6 years, including tours of duty in Vietnam and Greece.
He also served in the New Mexico House of Representatives.
He has had seven suspense novels published: The Pythagorean Solution, Evil Deeds, Terror Cell, The Nostradamus Secret, Shell Game, The Lone Wolf Agenda (which was awarded first prize in the fiction category in the NM/AZ Book Awards in 2013), and Ultimate Betrayal which was released on April 22, 2014. His short story, Fire & Ice, was included in the anthology Uncommon Assassins in 2012, and his short story, Ultimate Betrayal, was included in the anthology Someone Wicked in 2013. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and Southwest Writers Workshop, and was recently named one of the 50 best authors you should be reading.
Joe has written dozens of published articles about various business topics and is a frequent speaker at writers and business conferences and at civic organization meetings. He has extensive experience as an interviewee on radio and television.
Check out Joe’s blog at www.jospehbadal.wordpress.com.