Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
My writing career began when I opened a copy of our local free newspaper, The Georgia Straight, and a square advertisement for a creative writing course at the local university practically leapt off the page at me. I'd always loved books and the idea of writing, but it wasn't until that moment that I had the free time to do so. I was taking a sabbatical from working too hard at my previous two businesses. I thought it would be a relaxing hobby... but then it just became my new obsession (in a good way!).
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
I wake up at 7 a.m. to my Philips dawn simulation alarm clock. I putter around for a bit, and then at 9 a.m. I go to a local coffee shop for the first 60 to 90 minutes of writing. Then back home, a bit of admin or relaxation, then I lock in for a few more hours of writing before or after lunch. I try to be done by 2:30 .pm., when I get drowsy if I'm staring at words. I'm usually alert again by 4 p.m. Having a fixed schedule and learning my biorhythms has been essential for producing a lot of work and staying happy.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?
I write on an 11” Airmac that runs Windows, which makes me evil, I know, but I use PC software. I usually type straight in, but if I'm blocked, I may hand write a few pages.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
My favorite part of writing is when I add a scene or put in any extra sparkle in during revisions. I love it when the piece is nearly done and I know the characters and story so well that it tells me what it needs. I serve the story. My least favorite is whenever I get overwhelmed, whether it's a blank page or a plot problem or just a ton of words left to write on the date I was supposed to have the book in to the editor.
How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?
When I'm generating ideas, I usually sit with a pen and a spiral notepad and start making lists. The process is different for every book. For example, when I was writing the third book in my recent mystery series, I jotted down the murder methods, motivations, and other details from the previous books and tried to make everything in the third book completely different from the first two. Outlining can take anywhere from an hour to a week. Writing a complex book, such as a murder mystery, takes me two to three months. I can write the same length of book in other genres a bit faster. I've found mystery to be the most taxing genre, and also very rewarding.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
My marketing is minimal—maybe 5 hours per week. I have tried many things and only continue doing the activities that are either enjoyable or highly effective. Of course, I've invested thousands of hours over the last five years to figure out which things are worth spending 5 hours a week doing. And I have a background in design and programming, so I'm able to quickly do some things that would take a beginner much longer, such as formatting email newsletters and designing graphics. My advice to a new author is to learn about newsletters first and try to ignore social media, at least until you have three books up in a series. But I could be wrong! Your mileage may vary.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
As of November 2015, I've got Stormy Day book 4 with my editor and due to come out next month. I'm currently writing the first book of a new series, and it's going well. If you ask me again in a few weeks, I might just grumble incoherently. That's normal. There are a lot of highs and lows in this life.
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Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
I usually finish what I start, but I do have a quirky ghost series that's on hiatus. It's the sort of thing authors like me love to write, and that a small percentage of really cool people will love like crazy, but it's not terribly commercial. I don't know what will happen with that series. They say you have to kill your darlings.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
You will know you have talent if you put your book out and someone who reads it right to the end gives you a 1-star review. Nobody hate-reads the boring and talent-less. Until then, you won't know. Sorry!
Thank you, Angela!
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