Sounds like an easy enough question, but I suppose every author has a different answer. For me, I get asked it often enough, I thought I would answer it here. My response may surprise you.
What is it like to write a book?
Let me re-word that. What is it like to finish a book…many authors start projects and never finish them. And it’s just like anything else in life; you have a great idea in mind, but it just doesn’t pan out. There are a couple of unfinished manuscripts on my hard drive, I’ll admit. But for the other twenty two, I can easily say that they were all wonderful experiences.
Instead of using cliches like ‘writing, to me, is like breathing‘, I’ll say that for me, to start and finish a book is setting a goal and meeting it. Everything in between is just working towards that goal and achieving it. After the first two or three, when I felt I had the hang of it, writing books became a part of me.
Where do you get your ideas?
Strangely enough, book ideas come to me during odd times. Like when I’m taking a shower or exercising, or sometimes as I’m drifting off to sleep or waking up.
How do you avoid leaving your current work when a new book idea arises?
That was a tough one in the beginning. Because, as a new writer, I found that new ideas were like diarrhea (pardon the image); they would shoot out of me all the time. But to harness that, I simply wrote the book ideas down in as much detail as possible, clearing them from my mind. After a while, I started recording book ideas in the notes app on my phone, and then when I had time, I would transfer them onto a Word document for later.
Have you ever worked on two books at the same time?
Yes, on two separate occasions. When I wrote ‘Don’t Mess with Daddy’s Girl‘ and ‘21 Days for Liza‘, they were done together. While I was writing Daddy’s Girl, it was during the time when I read Fifty Shades of Grey for the first time, and I desperately wanted to take a stab at erotic romance. Enter Liza.
The second instance was when I wrote ‘The Wheels of Change‘ and ‘She Only Speaks to Butterflies‘. Both novels have nothing in common. Wheels is a tightly-wound thriller, with lots of twists and surprises, and at that time when I was right in the middle of it, it was Halloween. We had taken our girls to our local Fire Station, which was made into a makeshift haunted house. I’ll never forget that day. There was this little girl who was so terrified to go into the haunted house, but this huge, burly fireman squatted down to her level, and spoke so tenderly to her that it almost brought tears to my eyes. Suddenly, a book idea spilled into my mind like it was being fed to me from some higher, spiritual place, and I just had to write that book.
Have you finished a book recently?
Yes! Just a week ago I finished a book that took about eight months to write. It was an idea I had years ago in my back pocket, but I had to do some research and finish off some other projects before starting it. This book is the longest, deepest, most heartfelt story I’ve ever written. And I love it. It’s called ‘The Man with the Black Belt‘, and I’ll tell you more about it in a later post.
What will you work on next?
It’s time to take a short break from writing fiction. The next will be a self-help book for other writers who have an idea in mind for a book, but just can’t seem to find the time or discipline themselves enough to write it. The title isn’t finalized yet, so stay tuned!
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