Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fun Stroll Down Memory Lane

Erica Here:

For years I had a personal blog where I faithfully posted five days a week. It's fun sometimes for me to go back through past posts and remember my journey from fledgling writer to now. As I was perusing the archives, I came across this post from the summer of 2008, a series of questions about my writing life. I thought it might be fun to compare the answers from then and now. (You can find) my blog at )

My 2008 answer will be in BLUE and my 2016 answer will be in RED

The Writer’s Meme -

What’s the last thing you wrote?
A furball of a fight between my hero and heroine. :)
A scene where my hero brings an abandoned baby to the house of the woman he once loved and left behind.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have? 
I wrote a story when I was 15 called Circus pencil, in loopy cursive, in a blue spiral notebook.
Yep, I still have that story, just in case Scholastic comes calling, looking for the next JK Rowling. :D

Favorite genre of writing? 
Historical Romance.
Still the one! 

Most fun character you ever wrote? 
Annie Fairfax, in the story I just finished and sent to my agent. She was a lot of fun.
My new favorite characters come from my book The Cactus Creek Challenge. Ben and Cassie and the schoolkids were hilarious to write.

Most annoying character you ever wrote? 
The Lighthouse Board Inspector, Jasper Dillon, who was henpecked at home and took it out on his employees, sucked air through his teeth and mauled toothpicks, and was an overall vindictive little man.
Jasper still ranks right up there. 

Best plot you ever wrote? 
I don't know if anyone else would think it was my best, but I loved the plot of Drums of the North Star. Most of it was taken from historical events, but the epiphany the heroine goes through is something dear to my heart.
I still love the plot of Drums of the North Star, and I hope it finds a home somewhere, someday, but I also love the plot of The Cactus Creek Challenge and my upcoming release His Prairie well as whatever story I am currently working on.

Coolest plot twist you ever wrote?
In my second novel, Before the Dawn, that the hero realizes how stupid he's been when he discovers his wife is going to have his baby (and she kept it hidden from him for a long time.)
Strangely enough, I had to change that plot twist when I submitted the story to my editor. I still love it, but it didn't work for the story. Now my favorite plot twist a story I'm currently writing, so I can't tell you about it yet. :D 

How often do you get writer’s block? 
Not often. More often I suffer from either writer's doubt where fear keeps me from writing, or writer's laziness. I know what I'm supposed to do, and yet I don't do it.
I think I recognize more now when I have writer's fatigue rather than writer's block. Writing and creating can be draining, and I need to remember to recharge the creative batteries before they run flat out.

How do you fix it? 
Plunk my patoot in my chair and write. I let the story brew, think about it all the time, talk about it to my daughter, hash out the implausible parts, occasionally brainstorm on the phone with a crit partner, or via email. Whatever it takes to break through and get it done.
The same fixes work, retell the story to my daughter, let the story brew, then make myself sit down and get it done.

Write fan fiction? 
I have. Enjoyed it too for awhile.
I wrote Big Valley fan fiction for a couple of years. It was a fun training ground.

Do you type or write by hand? 
Type. I have horrible penmanship. And I can't keep up with my thoughts when using a pen.
Still can't write out my fiction. I have a special relationship with my laptop. Together we write. :)

Do you save everything you write? 
Not everything. Some stuff is tooooo bad to keep.
Nope. I've never been so in love with my own words that I can't ax them. Just today I culled a nine page opening scene to a 1.5 page prologue. 

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it? 
I haven't yet, but you never know.
Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I have. And one of those will release in January of 2017. :)

What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written? 
Recently, it would be the scene in Marriage Masquerade where Annie Fairfax absolutely massacres breakfast, but tries to pretend nothing went wrong. 
The scene in The Cactus Creek Challenge where the twins blow up the outhouse.

What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
Fantasy/Allegory/Sci-fi. Blech.
Yep, this is still the stuff I wouldn't write by choice.

How many writing projects are you working on right now? 
One. I am a linear writer, one project at a time, write straight through the book, then start the next project. Right after the conference last year I tried working on several things at once. All that did for me was stall my writing on anything at all. Through one thing and another, I lost about 4 months of writing time dithering over too many projects and suffering through some terrific writer's doubt. Not going to let that happen again.
I no longer have the luxury of working on only one project at a time. At the moment, I'm revising a proposal, creating a first draft, and plotting another series. 

What are your five favorite words? 
If you ask my crit partners, I have a different one for each book. I've clung to the following words: Leather, Sighed, Swirled, Bale, and the phrase 'bit her lip.'
It's so hard to narrow down because I have a love affair with words. For my writing life, I think my five favorites are: Contract, Reader, Starred Review, and The End. (I know, that's six, but I like those six a lot!)

What character that you’ve written most resembles you? 
I think many of my characters have some of me in them, but the one that has the most is probably Pam from Pam on Rye, a 'sandwich lit' I started (and that is a finalist in the Genesis contest this year.)
FYI, Pam on Rye went on to win the Genesis that year.
The characters I have written recently that most resemble me are the twins in The Cactus Creek Challenge. :)
Do you ever write based on your dreams? 
Maybe. I tend to plot and meditate on my story in that twilight time just before I fall asleep, so...kinda, sorta.
My dreams are too weird to write.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write? 
Yes, though you wouldn't know it if you saw some of the edits I get back. 
I tend to turn in fairly clean copy these days, though sometimes I want to do a facepalm when I catch something silly I've done.

Does music help you write? 
NO! I can't have music on while I write. Too distracting.
How times change. I now listen to movie soundtracks while I write. I love The Last of the Mohicans, and the Lord of the Rings movies to write to. Sometimes I write to the soundtrack of Silverado or Open Range when I want to get my 'cowboy' on for a story.

How do people react when they find out you write? They want to know when my book is going to be published...their guess is as good as mine
Turns out that I was offered a contract about three months or so after I wrote this blog post!
Nowadays folks react by saying 'that's cool' or sometimes asking how much money I make. And they still want to know when the next book comes out.

Have you ever wanted to ask an author something? Ask away! :)


  1. Love reading these and thinking about the progress you've made, and where I see myself. It's great to know we all make progress!

    1. That's the beautiful thing about writing. There's always a change just around the corner, and there's always something new to learn. :) Progress!

  2. Thanks for this interesting post,Erica! Fun to see how things change.Although I must say you're stories have always been good!

  3. Fun to see the changes in your perspective! :)


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