I realize I am desperately off schedule this week, but it’s just that time of year where the weather is nasty and everything sort of melts together. In the interest of getting somewhat back on track, however, I decided to do a short little Q&A just for fun.
- What is the first book that made you cry? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it was probably Old Yeller or Where The Red Fern Grows. I can’t exactly remember, but those were books I read frequently as a child and that were very emotionally daunting. So if there was a book that made me cry when I was a kid it was more than likely one of the two.
- Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? I have written a four book series (whittled down to three books now), which are all connected by characters and locations. Outside of that little world, however, none of my stories are connected to one another. I’m not Stephen King here, I’ve never set out to create one cohesive world where all of my stories collide. Would that be pretty cool? Absolutely it would, but it makes no sense for me and what I’m doing. The majority of the books that I write are standalone pieces, though they do have the capacity to be expanded a bit. I just have no particular interest in trying to connect all of my books together, that just isn’t who I am.
- How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? So many! Right now I have three books that are under contract with a publisher, which seems like a lot but it really isn’t. Especially not when I consider the fact that I have four books that are completed yet unpublished, and three more that are half-finished or in progress. I have a lot more that haven’t been seen or that aren’t even written yet than I have in publishing, which is a bit crazy to think about. At least I have a back log of work for those writers block heavy times!
- How long on average does it take you to write a book? It really just depends on the story and how much I’m struggling with my own moods and schedule. The fastest I ever completed a draft of something was in six days, but it can take me way longer than that. On average I can finish a draft in a month if I’m pacing myself decently, which is about my normal. Sometimes though it can take me a few months because my writers block and moods ebb and flow and I don’t want to force things. The first draft of Endless Numbered Days took me like two years, because I kept putting it down and walking away from it. Eventually I put my nose to the grind stone and got it done, but it was a task. A Crooked Mile, however, took me about 9 days to complete. Part of it too is how engaged I am in the characters and how concrete my ideas are. If I’m learning the story as I go, well, that just takes a lot more time.
- Have you ever gotten reader’s block? Believe it or not, this happens a lot! There are days when I just can’t get into a book, or when I just can’t find the mood to want to read anything. I read anywhere from 100-300 books in a year on average, and part of it is just burn out. I’ll read several books back to back quickly, and then my brain demands a break. It isn’t from lack of wanting to read, I always want to read, it’s just a need to take a break and give myself breathing room.
- Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want? I try and find a nice balance of both. I want my characters, and my novels, to be original ideas that are unique to me and me alone. I also want to give readers a story they want to read, and characters they want to care about. I want to be a writer who can write original stories that make readers crave more, and who they want to come back to time and time again. I think I succeed at this fairly well, or at least I hope that I do, and I hope I can continue to find this balance in my writing life going forward.
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