I was invited by the awesome and talented Sean M. Davis to participate in this blog tour. Sean and I met this year at Borderlands Press Boot Camp and have since caught up at the World Horror Convention in Portland, OR.
And now the questions…
1) What are you currently working on?
In addition to editing some short stories, I am working on my first novel. Although it started out as a book about werewolves and vampires, it has morphed into something altogether different. Read: no fangs. I’ve constructed my own world and am enjoying setting the rules.
2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?
The novel would qualify as more urban fantasy than horror. I’ve always viewed urban fantasy as a mishmash of other genres, including fantasy, horror, and romance. My goal is for the book to have elements of all three.
3) Why do you write what you do?
Mostly I think urban fantasy is a lot of fun. I love seeing how supernatural beings behave in our regular, everyday world. Do the humans know about the super powers? If so, what challenges arise? And if not, how do those otherworldly beings get away with using their magic?
The magic is the key for me.
And I use the word “magic” broadly. Not so much the wands and potions you’d find in Harry Potter (although I think that’s great), but more along the lines of what you’d find in Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman or any of the scenes involving the House of the Undying in Game of Thrones.
When an ordinary object or place changes without warning, right before your eyes. That’s the stuff that really gets me going.
4) How does your writing process work?
You mean after the whining and crying?
At this point in my career, I have more experience writing short stories than novels. But a novel seems to require more structure and organization than a short story. I was pleasantly surprised to learn I would be able to use my skills as a former math teacher in such a creative endeavor. Writing a novel is like piecing together a puzzle, and my math brain loves that.
As such, I take many notes and use an outline. I know some people don’t like the outline, but I find it helpful. It’s not written in stone, so if I find myself being pulled in an unexpected direction by a character or scene, I go with it and re-write the outline.
When I’m writing a particular scene for the novel, however, I do find my process to be similar to my short story process. And for me that means it’s all about the dialogue.
In my head, I often hear one character yammering on about something, or two characters having a compelling conversation. And they won’t shut up until I write it down–usually at 11 pm, right as my head hits the pillow. After some grumbling, I convince myself that, no, I will not remember any of it in the morning, so I get up and basically transcribe what I’m hearing.
I love listening to what characters have to say to one another. Dialogue also helps me to develop voice and characterization. Later on, I go back and add the narrative and information about setting.
The three people I have asked to do this blog tour are Tracie Orsi, Chris Irvin, and Marianne Halbert. You can read their answers in about a week.
Tracie is the owner of the restaurant Ragin Cajun, as well as a great writer. We also met at Borderlands Boot Camp in 2012 and have been friends ever since. She’s recently had two stories accepted (“Salvation in Salvo” in We are Dust & Shadow and “Waiting for Jordan” in Behind the Yellow Wallpaper) and is working on many more. Check out more about her here.
Chris Irivn and I met at Anthocon…or was it NEcon…oh god, I don’t remember, but both are awesome. And so is Chris. He’s a great writer who can set a story’s atmosphere like nobody’s business. He recently released Federales, a fast-paced novella, and he is currently working on Expatriate, a comic miniseries about an American fugitive living in Rio de Janeiro. Learn more about Chris here.
Marianne and I also met at Anthocon. Not only is Marianne a wonderful writer, she is super kind and a lot of fun. I fell in love with her storytelling after reading “When Betsy Whispers” in Anthology Year One. She is the author numerous other works, as well as Wake Up and Smell the Creepy, a collection of her short stories. Check her out here.