Saturday, March 3, 2007

Getting to Know You...

1) When did you start writing? Or if you've been writing all your life, then when and how did you decide to pursue publication?

I had been writing stories and poems and plays since I was very young, but I was so much in awe of real authors who wrote real books, I didn't aspire to be published. It wasn't until I was working as a lawyer that I set out to write a full-length novel and even then I didn't think it would sell. I took the advice to write what you love and wrote a Regency romance. Not much romance is published in Australia, where I live, so I didn't think about selling it, I just wrote it for pleasure. Later, I found there was a market for Regencies in the United States but the more I learned about romance writing, the more I realized my first novel was absolutely awful! Once I knew there was a market for Regency-set historicals I was determined to learn the craft and get published.

2) What books/authors have influenced you?

I'd have to say my first influence was Georgette Heyer, but since then I've moved away from the mannered, traditional style of romance and I'd say my influences now are more authors like Mary Balogh, Laura Kinsale and Loretta Chase. Not that I would ever pretend to write as well as they do!

3) Describe your writing process.

Oh, dear. It's a muddle. I'm a pantser, so I don't plan a novel, beyond the premise and certain milestones I know I have to hit on the way, or great scenes that keep playing like a movie in my head. That's a very fluid thing and I try not to tie myself down because when the time comes, the wonderful scene I visualized might not work any more. Character interviews and profiles and so forth are wasted on me. I never know who the character is until he or she walks onto the page and starts talking. My characters aren't a composite of characteristics and likes and dislikes. They just are. I seem to know things about them when I need to, and often a throw-away line in chapter one will become very significant to the plot later on. I love it when that happens! I do write in a linear fashion, though. I have to go from start to finish because everything in the story builds on what went before it. So, if you can call it a process, that's mine.

4) Tell us about your current Work In Progress and what is next for you?

My next book is about Alistair Brooke, who appears in my first novel, SCANDAL'S DAUGHTER. I'll talk about it more as the book takes shape, but for the moment I'll just say it's VERY sexy and there's a suspense plot woven around the romance, which has been fun to write.

5) Any advice for others or personal observations?

Oh, boy, where do I start? I think the most important thing is to get the words on the page and let most other things take care of themselves. I have a coffee mug that says: 'Writers write. Everyone else makes excuses.' I look at it whenever I'm procrastinating. Don't put off writing while you search for that magical advice that will get you published. The best thing you can do to improve your chances of publication is to write. Write a lot, write from the heart. Never think your experience or view of the world won't resonate with others. If you dig deep enough, you will strike a chord.


Trish Milburn said...

I love the quote on your coffee mug. It's the truth!

Aunty Cindy said...

Yay, Christine!
So glad to see you on the blog-wagon, and DITTO what Trish said.

no riding crop for you,
Aunty C

Cassondra said...

I want one of those mugs. Tell me where to get one. Writers write. Thinkers think. I'm a born thinker. Sigh.

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, I love your post. Strange how similar our processes are - no wonder we get along so well. Packers, I've said it before but I LOVE Scandals Daughter. It just sparkles yet it has a real emotional depth that touches your heart too. Can't wait till September.

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Trish, Aunty C, Cassondra and Foanna, thanks for commenting! The mug is one that was in a goodie bag at my first Romance Writers of Australia conference. I don't know if they're still making them but I'll find out.

And Foanna, thanks for the compliment on Scandal's Daughter. You are lovely!