23 June 2014

Blog Hop - My Writing Life

I've been asked to participate in a blog hop. The assignment is to answer four questions about my writing, then select three other authors to answer the same questions on their blogs within the next couple of weeks. Be sure to see the links to their blogs at the end of this post and find out more about these wonderful writers. A special thanks to Tanara McCauley for inviting me to join in. You can find Tanara's answers to these same questions at her blog, Fiction for Real Life Living.

What are you working on?
At the moment, I confess I'm still finalizing revisions on my first story, Finding Grace. Oh, how far it's come. How much I've grown and learned since the inception of that story. It began with a Post Secret I saw many years ago: someone admitted to having survived 9/11, and nobody knew they were alive. I wondered what would make someone do that. So when I was ready to start my writing life, that's the story that came out first. There is a sequel tucked in my heart for this one, and quite possibly more--but for now, those stories need to wait.

However, I am a chunk of the way into two unrelated stories. They take turns being the focus of what I want to work on. One of them recently finaled in the COTT Olympia contest, so I'm fairly certain that will be my writing choice this summer. It's about an online dating service throwing together two people who already know each other--and cannot stand to be together.

How does your work differ from others in its genre?
Well. Um. Hmm...
That's a good question. First, I just let words fall from my fingers onto the page. My voice is truly my own. Beyond that, I dig into the stories from a slightly different perspective than some may. For instance, most stories about 9/11 tell the story about the impact that event had on the character's life. In my story, 9/11 was simply a springboard for changes my character decided to make in her life. It's very real, and very tragic to her. And it definitely impacts her. But that's not the focus of the story.

How does your writing process work?
Man, a sucker-punch question, isn't it? I have to admit that my life as a homeschool mom of four is absolutely crazy. And often my days are unpredictable. So my writing process evolves as necessary. When the story is ready to be written, I can be found with my laptop in a thousand different places (waiting rooms, restaurants, desks, bed, karate) at any hour. Recently, though, I find I like my bedtime the older I get (ahem...not that old...yet). I'd rather wake early and work while I have my coffee and the sun comes up. Especially when editing my work. (Of course, caffeine late in the day reverses that effect.) I'm also good at plugging in some earbuds and either popping in a movie for the kids or making the most of their hard-earned computer time in the afternoon. Funny how I can really get in a groove right about the time I need to make dinner...

Then there are the past six months. Oh. My. I've done large chunks of work, no doubt. But real life has interfered a few times (I really do like my fictional worlds). So, my imaginary friends took a back seat for several weeks at a time, leaving me forlorn. I've been so happy to pick them back up and soak into their lives again. As usual, I can't wait to see where they take me next!

Why do you write what you do?
It's funny, really. I always thought I'd be a light-hearted chick-lit kinda writer. I love an easy read to escape the stresses of my life. 

But I also enjoy a book that makes me think, just not too hard--deep is good, but I don't want to be exhausted at the end. That's where my writing life seems to have landed. I believe it's because I learn from real life, then turned around and put it on paper.

Tag, You’re It!
Here are some great writers who agreed to follow me on this blog hop. Stop by their sites in the next couple weeks to see what they write and how they go about it...

Connie Cossette
Connilyn lives near Dallas, Texas, but grew up in the Pacific Northwest. She and her husband of seventeen years have two precious kids, and a cross-eyed cat who thinks she's an Egyptian Goddess. Connilyn is a homeschooling mama and piano teacher by day and a Biblical Fiction writer by night. She has a passion for drawing readers into a deep, personal encounter with the rich ancient world of the Bible through fiction. She is an active member of the ACFW and My Book Therapy. She also blogs at joycomesinthemorning.net and mybooktherapy.com
~2013 My Book Therapy Frasier Award Winner
~2013 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Historical Semi-Finalist
~Represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. Be sure to read her answers to the blog hop questions at her website, Connilyncossette.com.

Brandy Heineman
Brandy Heineman is a Christian novelist infusing her stories with family history and faith. She's a graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia with a degree in Business Administration and Communication. She is also a first-generation Southerner who occasionally gets caught saying things like, "Y'all want some pop?"
Brandy is a member of ACFW and a Finalist in the 2014 Genesis contest. She's represented by Jim Hart of Hartline Literary Agency, and her first novel is contracted with Elk Lake Publishing. You can find her on Twitter as @brandyhei or like her on Facebook. You'll find her answers to the blog hop at http://brandyheineman.com/.

Sarah Varland
Sarah Varland is a Christian, author, musician, kayaker, reader, and artist. Yoga is her favorite way to exercise. She’s also a pastor’s wife and mom. Sarah’s first novel, Treasure Point Secrets, was released in May. 
One of her favorite places to think, to relax, and to dream is outside, preferably underneath a tree so she can look up through the branches at the sky and let her imagination go. You can visit her “online thinking tree” at http://espressoinalatteworld.blogspot.com/, her place to think through her thoughts on life, books, and what she’s learning. (That's also where you'll find her blog hop responses.)

Thanks ladies for your willingness to participate in the blog hop! Can't wait to see what you post.

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