Saturday, July 12, 2014

World Blog Hop - The Writing Process

Hello, MB4 friends and fans!

Today I'm taking part in another fun blog hop, this one asks about the writing process and more. I've been invited by a wonderful author, Susan Whitfield. Here is a link to her original blog piece.
Thanks for having me, Susan!

Here are Susan's links. I hope you'll check out her novels - I have thoroughly enjoyed them over the years.

Susan Whitfield, Multi-Genre Author

Here is Susan's Amazon page where you can see all of her books:
Genesis Beach
Just North of Luck
Hell Swamp
Sin Creek
Sticking Point                                                              
Slightly Cracked
Killer Recipes 
Susan Whitfield, Bio:

Award-winning multi-genre author Susan Whitfield is a native of North Carolina, where she sets all of her novels. She is the author of five published mysteries, Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck, Hell Swamp, Sin Creek and Sticking Point

She also authored Killer Recipes, a unique cookbook that includes recipes from mystery writers around the country.  All proceeds from this book are donated to cancer research. 

Slightly Cracked is her first women’s fiction, set in Wayne County where she lives with her husband. Their two sons live nearby with their families. 

Following are the questions I answered for this exercise. At the end of this section, you'll see links to the three new authors who will carry forth this quest! 

Aaron, what is your current WIP?

I've just released two new books, book #7 in the LeGarde Mystery series, The Liar's Gallery, and a new romantic thriller, Devil's Lake.

Here are the synopses for each:
After two years of brutal captivity, Portia Lamont has escaped and returned to her family’s Vermont horse farm—only to find her parents gone to New York to try an experimental treatment for her mother’s cancer, and her childhood friend Boone Hawke running the farm.

Like the rest of her family, Boone has never given up hope that Portia would return. But when she turns up battered, skinny as a twelve-year-old boy, afraid of everything and unable to talk about what happened, he does the only thing he can—try to help her heal. He summons the town doctor and Portia’s parents, and sets out to put this beautiful, broken woman back together again.

Through her family's love and Boone's gentle affection, Portia gradually comes back to herself, and starts to fall for her old friend in a whole new way. But one thing threatens her fragile hope for recovery: The man who took her promised that if she ever escaped, he'd kill her. Slowly. And someone is definitely watching her...waiting to make his next deadly move. last place Gus LeGarde expects to find his old friend Byron Cunningham is in a plane that crashes in a field near his farmhouse. But that’s just the first surprise in a series of shocking events beginning with the discovery of a Monet painting crammed into the plane’s fuselage. Is it real? Or fake? The trail leads Gus into a twisting trio of dangerous art world conspiracies. 

Gus fends off some very pushy collectors and soon realizes he may have crossed paths with treacherous criminals, putting his family at risk. As if that isn’t enough, he must also contend with a problem that’s close to his heart: his daughter, Shelby, is growing up too fast. She’s determined to sing professionally and is now under the spell of a wolf in tenor’s clothing, handsome Greek student, Dmitri. When she vanishes with the family car, her frantic parents desperately chase the fading trail.

A slew of Facebook messages on Shelby’s computer lead them to The Eastman School of Music, where both Shelby’s new flame and Gus’s old friend have been hiding secrets linked to the art scandal. There’s a real Monet
out there somewhere, and nothing—including murder—will stop the desperate man who wants it.

2) How does your work differ from others in its genre? 

For the LeGarde Mysteries, I'd guess I've had to say they are more full of country, nature, family, and food than most other mystery series. There's a whole series of lives going on in these books. They progress as time moves forward, they change, they grow. And all this happens while the villains are neatly dispatched in one of the most beautiful areas of the world - the Genesee Valley. 

Devil's Lake is a bit more psychological than many romantic thrillers. I think I've combined the elements of danger, mental suffering, romance, and the yearning for home in this story. I hope it's different from any other thriller you'll read. It's more than just "how can she survive?" or "what will the evil monster do next?" It's full of people who feel and react in ways I hope are genuine and that readers can relate to.

3) Why do you write what you do and how do you deal with writer's block?

I can't help myself. The stories just come tumbling out of my brain. For those of you who are writers and wonder how you can get new ideas and get motivated when you are blocked, here is my advice:

Look around you. The world is crammed with topics. Watch your favorite movies. Dissect them, list the ideas that stir your imagination, and make an inventory of your favorite themes. Is it unrequited love? Time travel? Gentle giants falsely accused? Delicious twists that shock and surprise? Spunky lady cops who save the day? Heroic animals? Fantastical fairies? Gritty city secrets?

Keep your ears open. Listen to news stories. The often unfathomable, sometimes horrific accounts will stir your creative juices. Imagine a twist on them. Then twist it again and change its literary color or scent. Don’t worry if it’s been done before. Just put your mark on it and write it with passion.

Tune in to real life dramas at work, church, or school. Think about your friend whose wife died from a rare complication of a cardiac virus, your cousin who suffers from depression, your daughter whose college boyfriend from Albania is suddenly deported. Real life is fertile and rich. It’s full of angst, splendor, terror, and adventure. It offers a mosaic of ideas, and waits for you to pluck your new favorites to mix and match into a dynamic storyline.

Last of all: read, particularly from your genre. Read incessantly. Read in the grocery store line. Read at the doctors. Read at the Laundromat. Read while you wait for the kids after soccer practice. Read before you go to sleep at night. It’s not only the best way to charge up your imagination. Sitting at the virtual feet of the masters of the craft is the best way to learn to write.

4) How does your writing process work?

I have a rough idea of where I’d like to see the book go in the beginning, but it’s all in my head. I’ll picture an opening chapter, perhaps the highpoint of the action, and will decide in advance where the book will take place. Then I just start writing. The only time I make an outline is after I write the book to double check on my timelines, etc. ;o)

NEXT UP on the list are three great authors who will carry this torch! 

Ellis Vidler

As a child in the South, Ellis spent long, hot days imagining herself an Indian or pioneer or musketeer. At night she (and her whole family) read. From Tarzan and D’Artagnan to Anne Shirley and Nancy Drew, she lived them all. No angst in her childhood. So what did she do as an adult? Write fiction, what else? She loves creating characters and making them do what she wants, but mostly they take off on their own and leave her hurrying to catch up.

Ellis is an author, editor, and speaker. She grew up in North Alabama, studied English and art at All Saints College for Women, and thoroughly enjoyed studying creative writing under the great Scott Regan. She taught elements of fiction at a community college. Her home is now the South Carolina Piedmont with her husband and dogs.

Robin P. Waldrop
Most days you'll find Robin's fingers flying over her keyboard, creating the next scene in her newest tale, occasionally straying long enough to dip a fishing pole or pick up the mug of coffee always by her side. When not writing, she's chasing grandkids or animals through the house, making fabulous forts with for them, and trying to keep up.

She loves to IM with her friend in Texas (probably too much - nah, there's never too much gossiping), has a strange fascination with unicorns, and loves relaxing with a good book whenever she gets a minute to herself (which is a rarity).

Late in the evening, she enjoys sitting on the porch with her husband, chatting or simply watching the stars and enjoying a few moments of blissful silence.

Robert Sells

Rob attended college at Ohio Wesleyan where he struggled with physics. Having made so many mistakes in college with physics, there weren't too many left to make and he did quite well at graduate school at Purdue. 

Rob's wife pestered him about putting to "pen" some of the stories which he had created for the children and other relatives over the years. He started thinking about a young boy and a white deer, connected, yet apart. Ideas were shuffled together, characters created and the result was the Return of the White Deer. Later, a new idea emerged which became the exciting and disturbing story, Reap the Whirlwind. Many more books are in the works.

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