You can read Nicki's responses to these same questions over at her Not-So-Deep Thoughts blog, and without further ado, here are mine:
* What am I working on? *
As mentioned in my last post, I'm on the cusp of receiving SEVEN FOR A SECRET back from my editor for first-round revisions. The novel is scheduled for an August release, so I'm expecting to spend the next month in my cave curled up with that. But although this is my "debut" novel, it's the second manuscript I've written, so as I wait on edits for manuscript #2 (a ghostly romance set in modern/1920s Chicago), I've been channeling nervous energy into revising manuscript #1 for querying (a "ghost" story with a twist set in modern/Victorian London). And manuscript #3 is slowly but surely unfolding as chicken-scratchings on notebook paper. I've got the setting, characters, and general premise in mind for a romantic mystery of sorts (with a 1940s flair), but I'm attempting a rather complicated structure, so there's a whole lotta' planning necessary before I can actually start writing it.
* How does my writing differ from others of its genre? *
I like to think every story I write bears my personal stamp of weirdness, and I suppose my concept of romance might also vary from the norm. My stories have their saucy bits, but only to the extent that it moves the story forward in a meaningful and realistic way (well, that's the goal, anyway; whether I achieve it remains to be seen). You could say I prefer the slow burn of love to an explosion of lust. I've never been in a heated argument with my husband one second then thrown myself into his arms for a passionate make-out session the next, so it's hard for me to convince my characters to do it. But when my fella' wants to hug me in apology first thing in the morning, when I'm an unshowered, untoothbrushed hag? Swoon! So maybe I'm not so much about the romance as the love. At least in my contemporary tales. Somehow romance comes to me more naturally when writing against a historical backdrop; I tend to be very self-deprecating and pragmatic about the present because it's the reality I know, but outside of that frame of reference, I enjoy more escapism.
* Why do I write what I do? *
I write what I like to read, and my entire life I've loved curling up to a good Gothic/ghost story. And having lived in historic buildings, I can't help but think of all the lives that occupy the same spaces over the decades and centuries. So the nature of time and the soul just fascinates me and can be explored through so many dimensions; I don't know if I could ever exhaust (or be exhausted by) all the different ways to approach it.
* How does my writing process work? *
As a previous blog post ("Madness to the Method") relates, I start with literal pen and paper. I don't even try to be organized about it--as soon as I have the bud of an idea, I just go balls-out brainstorming any and every thought that comes to mind so I can eventually look at it from a birds-eye view and begin connecting the dots. This evolves into a rough back-of-the-envelope outline, which I abide by as I officially begin writing at the computer, but I allow the pathway between points A and B to emerge organically as well. I know it's different for everyone, but I personally wouldn't enjoy the writing process as much if I plotted everything meticulously in advance. I like the freedom of the yet-unknown and letting my characters whisper the next scenes in my ear. But I've also tried writing with no outline, and that's just a disaster. And so, following the happy medium of structure-vs-spontaneity, I write a first draft, step away, revise, step away, revise, and continue to lather, rinse, repeat as necessary. I wish I could say I write every day, but I don't. I don't just sit and wait around for inspiration either, but the process does ebb and flow depending on other obligations and whether the story's talking to me or not. At those times when I'm feeling too tapped out to create, then I read. I perceive every book I read as an investment in my own writing, so that pleasure could never be a guilty one for me. :)
Okay, so now for the task of tagging four more people to ask these questions. I'm going to run with a few Omnific-riffic authors:
* Beck Anderson *
* Shani Struthers *
* Carol Oates *
No worries, tagged Authoresses--you all have new books coming out soon and are feverishly writin' s'more, so I know time is scarce. There shall be no slap on the wrist if you don't accept this challenge. I encourage everyone else to still check out their sites and books, though (linked above), and lose yourself in some crazy good imagination and writing. Read-&-Write on!