My formative years:
I’m happy to join this blog hop to discuss my four author secrets. Growing up in the Midwest during the 50’s, a time of innocence, impacted my belief system, my moral compass, and my purpose. The oldest of four, I accepted the role of sibling, and surrogate-parent. With WWII in the recent past, life offered peace, safety, and opportunity. My grandparents lived in our neighborhood. When not playing with my girlfriends, I lavished in tea parties and cinnamon toast lovingly prepared by Granny. Often my days were filled with imaginary audiences praising my talent on the grand piano in her living room. However, when my mother enrolled me in music lessons, my interest diminished.
An extremely social person, my circle of friends included both girls and boys. Easily alternating from my dollies to baseball, my contacts grew. Secrets were safely shared with me. I had experienced seeing the impact of gossip within my family. I listened to my friends, but never divulged their secrets. By the end of my twelfth grade, I had become a Dear Abby look-a-like.
Grandfather was a successful attorney. He maintained a large office on Main Street. But my favorite room in his home was his library. My granny had stocked the bookshelves with every Perry Mason novel written. Summers, being hot in Kansas, drove me to seek out indoor activities. On any day over 100 degrees, I could be found sitting in the chair with my feet resting on the roll-top desk enjoying Perry win another case. My desire to read never waned.
My adult career required multitasking. I was a wife, mother, and manager of over 100 employees. Like most women, I flourished naturally using a collaborative management style long before leadership demanded it. Of course, I had no idea what my leadership style was. I simply treated my employees, peers, and bosses with respect. My goal to resolve issues required listening to the other side and searching for a win-win solution. This style served me well. I heard many private pains and listened with an open mind. My Dear Abby traits never left me.
Now retired, my time is spent writing romantic suspense.
My four best author secrets:
What are you working on right now?
Jeopardy Mills, an orphan with a hidden secret in her past, is searching for information on her birth father. Her father, like her only high school love, died in the service of their country. She grew up under the stern thumb of her grandfather, and a mother who rarely showed love. She is filled with bitterness toward her only living friend, Gage. A life impacted by fear and un-forgiveness can destroy her. With the aid of her mentor, she begins the path of healing.
How does your work differ from others who write in your genre?
The goal that drives my writing is to take real life women’s issues, present them honestly, and join the protagonist on her journey to wholeness. The journey is difficult but worthwhile. The lessons shared can be applied to real life concerns. Along with the suspense, there is a strong romantic element. We ladies enjoy finding the right man to share our life with.
Why do you write what you do?
So many women face issues they are embarrassed to share. My hope is that the story supports honesty, truth, and growth. If the reader takes the journey alongside the protagonist, perhaps their end result will be enhanced. My desire is to continue offering the Dear Abby insights to help others find happiness.
How does your writing process work?
Being married to author Bill Wetterman, I have had the pleasure of learning a great deal from him. But we are all different. You will learn more about his writing secrets on his blog this week. I begin my novel with a spark. This idea germinates while I cook, clean, workout, and live life. Often this spark is a person, place, or event. Once the idea has sprouted, I develop a very high-level outline. If you saw it, you might refer to it as a ten page list of bullets. These bullets will become the plot, subplot, and journey for the protagonist.
Then I spend several weeks developing the characteristics of each actor in my play. By the time this process is complete I have a full workup on each major character. The work up contains physical, mental, and life history events as well as strengths and opportunities in their lives.
Once the characters are well defined, I select the location for the adventure. I research the state, town, or city where this story will take place.
Now it is time to begin writing.
One thing I keep in mind, as the story and characters develop, the path for the journey may bend, grow, or take a turn I had not planned. The characters can have ideas of their own. But, even if they share information I had not known, they find the end of the story is as I planned. Life is complicated, but a great story must ring true. Characters add to the truth.
We are enjoying a fun Blog Hop. Check out the following blogs:
If you are searching for a good read for the weekend, check Amazon.com for my first novel The Artist’s Paradise. And look for my second novel; Whispering in the Winds in early 2015.