Writers blog hop, or something like that.

You can blame Jackie King, author of The Corpse who Walked in the Door.

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I’ve been tagged so here goes:

What am I working on?

I’m often criticized over the length of time it takes me to complete a novel. I’m certainly not the only writer with a full-time day job – make that a stressful and demanding day job – but when you throw a rather complicated personal life into the mix… Well you get the idea.

I’ve just begun writing the fourth novel – the title of which I’m withholding for now – in the Detective Elliot series. I haven’t been idle. I’ve been busy attempting to organize the dynamic thoughts that run through my head into a workable outline, an arduous task to say the least. Two schools of thought exist on whether or not one should outline their work: Those who claim there is no other way to write properly, and those who shrug and just sit down and let the words flow. I’ve done it both ways. With the first Elliot novel, Twisted Perception, I composed the words as they came to me, working with no outline. With Beneath a Buried House, the second, and Footprints of a Dancer, the third, I created scenes then strung them together. And now, with the fourth Elliot novel boiling inside me, I actually created an outline of scenes along with a sort of what-happened-when-and-to-who roadmap. I’m still experimenting. Who knows, perhaps I’ve stumbled on to what works for me. In my opinion, that’s what matters in the end. Find what works for you and go for it.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

That’s easy: Just pick up one of my novels and read it. I’m just kidding, sort of. Actually – even though I’ve heard this should not be the case – my books are difficult to pin down to a particular genre. They are mysteries with a hero who works as a police detective, comes across as hardboiled until you get to know him, has an uncanny intuition, and always works his cases, which border on the paranormal, alone.

Why do I write what I do?

I just sort of stumbled into it. I fell in love with reading with my first exposure, but I believe the writing bug bit me after my sister gave me a copy of A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’engle. After that, nothing would satisfy me unless it dealt with the unusual. However, I didn’t actually put words on paper until a few years later. With a ten-minute free-time at the end of junior high typing class, which was a required subject, I began writing short stories that featured a bungling super hero. From there, my work morphed into a sort of Twilight Zone type thing. When I got married, my writing took a long hiatus, but when it re-bloomed a few years back, I found myself in a rather conservative writers critique group. The members of that group encouraged me to write a novel, and to choose a more serious genre. I chose Mystery and created Detective Elliot.

How does my writing process work?

That’s a tough one, but the characters and ideas just sort of rattle around in my subconscious until they break through to the surface. Once I have a storyline and some characters, I act out, in my mind, the characters roles.