KJ Montgomery (http://kjmontgomery.com/), one of the authors I met at the Romance Novel Convention last August and the author of Trove (The Katie Walsh Mysteries), recently invited me to participate in the “My Writing Process Blog Tour.”
Thanks for the opportunity, KJ!
Question 1: What am I working on?
The Story of a Baron, another entry in “The Daughters of the Aristocracy” series. This story-within-a-story follows two characters who were introduced in The Widowed Countess.
Question 2: How does my work differ from others of its genre?
In most Regency romances, the story centers around one couple and follows how the they overcome some obstacles on their way to falling in love. My books all feature two couples. Sometimes their stories are parallel and sometimes they’re very interconnected. As a result, most of my books are considered epic Regencies (at least 100,000 words).
Question 3: Why do I write what I do?
I love the Regency era. I love the history, the fashion, the architecture, the emerging technologies – but it made for some interesting societal changes for Great Britain that were not always for the good. The era is a great backdrop for love stories.
Question 4: How does my writing process work?
I used to be a planner. If I didn’t have a complete outline written out, I at least had one in my head. That approach comes from the way I learned to do research in high school – using index cards, recording references, and ordering the information for writing the project. The process worked great for writing technical manuals (although by the time I was writing those, the index cards were virtual).
Now I’m more concerned about the interactions of my characters and the story arc. I like to start with a character sheet. I figure out who my characters are and search for images that represent them. Online searches (for say, “tall, dark and handsome”) and boards on Pinterest are gold mines for images. Once I have photos for my main characters, I arrange them on a virtual art board, label each character with a note about their relationship to someone else on the board, and print it. That character sheet hangs on a bulletin board next to my computer, and I reference it while I’m writing.
I don’t write the book linearly. I sometimes start in the middle, or, if I start at the beginning, I’ll do some of the middle, maybe write the end or the second-to-the-last chapter and then write the pieces that tie them all together. I always let my characters have their say because they’re very good at surprising me along the way. And sometimes they have some great ideas!
For tools, I’ll use whatever is handy given the device I’m on. Sometimes that means I’m writing in the body of an email. Other times, it’s iA Writer on the iPad or Mellel or InDesign on the iMac. What I use to write doesn’t matter since it all ends up in a bookfile and separate chapter files in InDesign.
When I think I’m done, I’ll send a PDF to my beta readers and wait for their feedback. I’ve been lucky enough in the story creation that I’ve only had to do a massive rewrite for one of my books, but I did it as a result of the feedback I received. Once their suggestions are incorporated, I send the book off to the editor. I’ll input the corrections and have someone else proofread it before I finish formatting the files for the print version. Because I use InDesign, I am able to do all my own file conversions for the e-book versions using the same source files – I just have to create a different copyright page and add a table of contents for the various e-book versions.