Mary Rosenblum, of The New Writer’s Interface, emailed me last week and asked if I wanted to be involved in a blog tag chain. It involves answering four questions. I thought it would be interesting and fun to participate, so here we go.
What am I working on?
I’m currently working on promoting my first novel, The Protector: A Sydney Valentine Mystery. I recently updated my book description and I’m creating a book landing page on my website. I’ve also started the second book of the series. It’s called Criminal Negligence. The Sydney Valentine Mystery series is set in and around the fictional city of Sansansolita, in southern California. Sydney Valentine is a detective in the Sansansolita Police Department. She and her partner, Bernie, trade barbs but they have each other’s back.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
When I wrote The Protector, I tried to write the type of book I liked to read, but couldn’t find very many of them. I like a good mystery and I also enjoy reading books with strong female protagonists. By strong, I mean women with personalities and a bit of sass. Attitude. Opinions. Not boring! I also wanted her to be someone readers could identify with. They may not identify with every part of her, but who identifies completely with another person? I strived to give readers someone they liked enough to at least see her point of view. I hoped they’d root for her and worried when she was in trouble. I wanted them to think about her and the book when they finished. My goal is to have them thinking about the book when they weren’t actively reading it.
Sydney Valentine is tough, but vulnerable. She cries, but she’s not a whiner. She doesn’t shy away from telling Bernie, or anyone else, what she thinks. She doesn’t have a problem giving someone a smackdown if she thinks they need it. She won’t balk if she’s on the receiving end of one, either. She gives as good as she gets. She’s a runner, a boxer, and mostly vegan with a love of donuts, cinnamon buns, and brownies. In other words, she’s human. You gotta love that!
Why do I write what I do?
There’s injustice in this world. Life isn’t fair. We all know it. When I wrote The Protector, I wrote about that. The message is there. I don’t get on soapboxes (not much, anyway), but I’d like to think that I weaved an engaging and fast-moving mystery of suspense with likable characters that will make you laugh at times. This story had been percolating in my head for a couple of years before I wrote a word. It’s a story I had to tell because it wouldn’t let go. Criminal Negligence has a bit of that too.
How does your writing process work?
When I think of something to write about, I do research. I may print out articles online or from the newspaper. My writing process involves thinking about the story while I’m driving to and from work. It really does. I don’t do it intentionally though. It just happens. Daydreaming. I also speak to experts, such as people in the medical field, if need be, or law enforcement, to get details and procedures correct so that I don’t go down a road that would be implausible in the real world.
Once I have a good idea of who dies, how they die, why they died, and who killed them, I create a plot line. It’s not detailed. It’s just a frame. I fill in some subplots. I then create something a bit more detailed and a synopsis. I try to write out a couple of sentences for scenes. I’m using Scrivener at this point. From there, I can start writing. I periodically print out the manuscript as I write. I often take it to my day job and edit previously written scenes or chapters. Sometimes, I write in a notebook, then type it up later. I’m usually writing at lunchtime at my day job, when my daughter goes to bed, or in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. Those darn characters won’t shut up! Anyway, a little time here and there eventually add up to a chapter. Before you know it, you’ve got a novel.
Mary Rosenblum did the editing for The Protector. I was in contact with three people in law enforcement who helped me throughout the book. One also read the manuscript and made suggestions. While he read it, I turned a few chapters at a time over to a co-worker who enjoys editing and he did a good job of it. I had beta readers reading too. I hired a proofreader as well. Once that was completed and all edits were in, I printed out the manuscript and read it backwards. I also loaded it onto my Kindle and read/edited a few times. When I ordered the paperback proof from CreateSpace I read it again and made additional changes. It’s amazing what you find when you read a book in different formats!
I’ll probably stick to the same method while working on Criminal Negligence. I hope to have at least the first draft finished before the end of the year. Sooner would be better. We’ll see. 🙂