The second book in The Brassbright Chronicles, "Down The Tubes" is being edited. It's a challenging task as it's a tricky plot involving four different pairs of main characters, plus a few other troublemakers. My job is to make sure the reader can understand and enjoy the four interweaving plotlines without becoming confused. Time (and the readers!) will tell if I've done my job well.
I hope to have everything untangled in time to write the third book, "The Hidden Doors" during the annual Nanowrimo challenge in November, 2014. I love Nanowrimo! I can't wait to dive into the madness! If you aren't sure what that is, visit http://nanowrimo.org/
What is your writing process?
Not sure I'd recommend my process, but it goes a little like this: A concept occurs to me, and before I can talk myself out of it, I dash off a few thousand words, starting directly at the beginning. At that point sanity takes over and I pause to see what I've done, and where it might go. That's when I outline what I think will be the scenes needed to take the story through an ending. Then I start writing again and my headstrong characters do whatever they like, sheesh. When I'm done, I take the story through multiple re-writes to tame the loose ends and smooth the flow.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I read an article online about secret doors in New York City. Seems its a trendy thing to have hidden restaurants and stores with secret ways of entering them. I can understand the appeal, and it would make a visit to these places feel extra-special. As I thought about these doors, a story idea came to mind, set in Brassbright City, which is the largest city in my contrived universe. I really wanted a network of hidden doors. That part was easy. Scheming up a story that would utilize them was the challenge, but a fun one! I hope the readers enjoy my idea, too.
Who are your favorite authors?
This has to be the hardest question in the universe. So much depends on my mood and attention span. One author that's stood the test of time for me is Tom Robbins. After reading Jitterbug Perfume, I was so enthralled by his style, imagination and sense of the surreal that I immersed in everything he'd written, ignoring all other authors until I had finished his books. Mr. Robbins has had a huge impact on my way of thinking, writing... everything. I also adore the work of other steampunk adventure writers Gail Carriger, Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, Cherie Priest and Shelley Adina. Oh, and of course, Douglas Adams. He's a very hoopy frood.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The fact that there's only 24 hours in each day and I just spent 8 of them sleeping! There's so much that interests me, and I want to do everything, so there's no time to waste. Can't we make the days longer?
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Let me count on my fingers...28 agent queries sent. 25 rejections, 2 interested but then later declined, and 1 never replied. Queried 6 publishers, and received 4 declines. One of those declinations was a mass email rejection sent to 30 authors! Not even blind copied, we could all see who each other was. That was awful. I'd always heard 'you have to have an agent', but as the rejections trickled in, I studied the market, read everything I could get my hands on about indie publishing, and decided it was a path that has matured and refined itself. It's much improved from the early days. I also quite like the idea of being in control of my own works.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I live on a large plot of land in the country, so there's always plenty to do. I grow lots of herbs and veggies, make my own teas and can my own sauces. I bake bread, crochet, craft, and put together costumes for local steampunk gatherings. I also spend a good amount of quality time with my hyper-intelligent and rather brawny Russian Blue cat, named Chives. Oh, and I have a day job at a university. Whew!
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I listen closely to my friends when they recommend books. I'm also part of a reading group that discusses a book every other month, so we choose a book together. I browse online bookstores, and pay attention to some very good book pages at Facebook.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I learned to read in school, using the old Dick and Jane primers, so they'd be the first stories I ever read. I do recall enjoying them, but I think I also complained about the repetition. I learned to read quickly and couldn't wait to move on to more challenging books. Ray Bradbury's "Dandelion Wine" was a favorite, and still gives me goosebumps. I was still in grade school when I read that, and other science fiction books.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm terrible at graphics, so I beg my artistic friends to please take my money and give me something wonderful. I am happy to pay an artist a respectable fee for artwork! I usually have a scene in my mind, so I do my best to describe it for their use, and quote passages from the book that highlight what I'm thinking of.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I loved my Palm back when Palms were cool. Eventually I moved up to a Kindle Paperwhite, and just this year got a Kindle Fire, too. I use both the Kindles equally. The Paperwhite can't be beat for outdoor reading, and the Fire is very nice for slouching on the couch - though it can be distracting knowing I can check Facebook and other time-suckers during my reading time.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a poem, and yes I remember it well. I was in third grade. Do you want to hear it? Too bad, I'll recite it anyway.
There was a little kitten In my back yard one day
He looked just like a mitten That was a very light gray
I wanted him to live in my house But he ran all over looking for a mouse
He came back the next day with a very big rat! The rat was as big as the kitten, Now what do you think of that?
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