I wish I could say I am a full-time author and do nothing but write, write and write some more—wooohoo! But sorry to disappoint. Truth be told, I am many other things first before I can claim to be an author. I am a Christian mother to five, (my eldest just got married!) and have been homeschooling my children for the last eighteen years. My eldest has graduated and is working but I still have four who take up a major part of my time. I guess you can call me a stay at home and drive the kids everywhere type of mom. Oh, and I mustn’t forget our many pets... and also stray children I tend to attract!
One of the most common questions I get asked is usually not writing related. It goes something like this: when do you have the time to write?
Today I’ll lay out some questions and answers related to the writing process and how I "cope" and write my books--sort of a slice of my life.
1) What am I working on?
My friends always accuse me of having my hands in too many pots at the same time and this translates into my writing too. Prisoner of Reign, the second in the Reign Fantasy series, is now out after much editing. It’s an epic fantasy and follows the story from the first book, Keeper of Reign, which is an award winning juvenile fantasy and an Amazon best seller. I have also finished Dead Dreams, Book 2, titled Gone Missing, but have yet to read my proof. Again, this is a second in a series, this time a psychological suspense thriller meant for young adults. Dead Dreams, Book1, is available on Amazon.
I have also finished working on a set of eight full color books for girls 6-11 years of age who love princess-type books (Princesses of Chadwick Castle series). The books are available as eBooks and paperbacks.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write in three different genres—Middle Grade epic fantasy, Young Adult thriller mystery, and Children’s historical fantasy--but all my books are meant for the Juvenile fiction market. And because I believe in multi-tasking, my fiction reflects a little of what I am. I try to impart a message no matter how subtle to my young readers. I pride myself in taking young people on a thrilling ride without the swearing and the adult themes children are so quickly exposed to in this day and age. And I hope they get something of life’s lessons besides the thrill from the fiction, too.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write books to empower children and hope for them to learn some of life’s lessons in the world of fiction where they can see the consequences of actions and decisions of the main characters in the novels I write. Why make mistakes when you can learn from others—even fictional personalities? So why don’t I write a “how-to” for young people? Because growing up I would read nothing but fiction and I feel that while non-fiction coaxes the mind, fiction deals with the heart, and to me that’s more impactful.
4) How does my writing process work?
I am what some people would call a “pantser”.
Pantsers write from the seat of their pants charging ahead until they reach the end. They don’t start with a draft or an outline. So the events that surprise the characters also surprise the writer! One day, a reader disappointed with the outcome in a book hotly asked a famous author, “Why did you kill off Mrs. XYZ?” And the author responded, “I never killed her? I found her dead!”
I’ve been trying to train myself to be a “drafter”—one who would outline everything from beginning to the end and fill in the flesh of the story once they get the bones of the novel in.
I can see that a drafter would work his time more efficiently. In some ways I have become a little bit of a drafter, but still, I can only do a tiny bit of plotting because once I start pounding at the keyboard I may just find the person I like so much actually dead! Or gone away for a long trip—until the next book. These fictional characters can be so hard to control. Not unlike my children.
I find editing to be the most tedious aspect of writing. Not surprisingly. One famous author, a NY Times best seller, said he edited his work 17 times before it was published. So fiction writing is not so much a sprint but a marathon. In fact, make that a triathlon, because writing a book covers so many different aspects you’d never think was associated with fiction writing. It’s like being a juggler—and doing the triathlon.
Most days I write in my car while waiting for my kids, snatching any time I can, or on my bed late into the night—in fact nights and mornings usually blend for me. I write best when I am alone. In fact it can be quite dangerous for the person interrupting me while I am deep in a scene. Alas, these interruptions happen too many times a day. Some days I only have ten minutes, other days a couple of hours. Mostly, I write with the voices of my children in the background. Still, their voices can be music to my ears (mostly!)
Emma Right, Christian author,
Children and Young Adult Books with a purpose.
If you'd like to see the Christian alternatives to some of today's bestsellers, try this.