Reader Questions: How did I Get Where I am Today?
And what is my writing routine?
It’s been an interesting journey. I first published The China Pandemic in the fall of 2013. That would signal the beginning of a writing career. But the truth is, I’ve written all my life. I wrote my dreams as a girl. I journaled thoughts over the years.
I wrote a story once as a preteen and sent it off to one of those ads in the back of a magazine to judge with my babysitting money. It was a story about a French clown that came to life…not in a scary way. It’s lost and gone forever but I remember waiting and checking the mail every day for weeks. I don’t remember what the assessment said when it finally arrived, but it seemed a letdown.
The one thing I can tell you now, no one ever thought of me as a little girl that I would be the one to pen a book titled The China Pandemic. That was certainly a surprise. And now I’m working on book 19 and thinking back I’m amazed as well. One book after another, you never count each one as you go. I would think that maddening. It’s only after, that you count the list and surprise even yourself.
Without going into them, life experience also played a big part in becoming an author. Family dramas and dramas of the world shape us all.
Where do all the ideas come from?
That’s a good question. For me, I think they come from the way I see the world. I was always a quiet girl and stayed in the background. I think that personality type just enabled me to observe more. The way a man might draw his finger over his nose or how he never noticed that a child watched him look at a pretty woman as she passed by. It’s those subtle little things that I think really put readers in the room with the action. That’s what I try to do. I try to be there with them in the same space.
And, I was an avid reader. The kid with the flashlight under the blankets. I had dreary eyes the next day as a result. My grades were good but not perfect. Math…was my downfall but I got through it. I spent a lot of time looking out the window. I loved history. The story of other people’s lives and science fascinated me. I was the little girl lying on her tummy flipping through the thin encyclopedia’s pages.
And today is no different. I read science journals. I’m always reading something. And I love the research part of writing. I’m also intrigued by the lives of other authors.
What is your routine?
You really have to have discipline as a writer. And a routine will serve you well especially when you don’t feel like writing. It happens to me too, especially in the muddy middle…that midpoint of a novel. There are so many things that you will find to do instead of writing. Doing laundry suddenly sounds much more interesting.
My day starts out like any office worker. I’ve set it up this way over the years and it works best for me. I still adjust things all the time. I wake and do my normal routine, say goodbye to the kitties, then head to an office that I’ve rented nearby. I typically do business until around mid-morning and then I put my earphones in and play Two Steps from Hell on Pandora and read through the last few chapters that I wrote the day before, editing as I go. And then I write. I try to get 2-3K words complete by the end of the day. I read, I think it was Ray Bradbury, that nothing good happens after 3 pm. And I think he’s right. If you’ve been writing all day…there comes a point when your brain is just mush, done. And if you force it…it often not your best work.
That’s when I pack things up and head back home. I change for the gym as soon as can, before I talk myself out of it because I need the workout to clear my head as well. I take an hour for this at least 3 times a week and then return home and fix myself something healthy to eat. Then I’m reading and relaxing with Henry and Hazel or binge-watching the next great series. Soon after that, I’m headed for bed because I know me, and I need eight hours and it’s often a struggle to get five. Because, although, I stop writing…that doesn’t mean the story isn’t still replaying itself in my mind. And those wee hours when I should be sleeping…I’m often in there watching them to see what happens next.
These are fun to answer. If you have any questions, send them in.