Monday, 28 July 2014

Blog in the Round - 4 Questions and Pass It On

I’m honored that bestselling, multi-genre author, Novel Spaces blog team member, and one of the most gracious and generous people I know, Marissa Monteilh (Marissa's blog link), has asked me to participate in Blog in the Round - 4 Questions and Pass It On. She was asked by award winning author Karla K.L. Brady (Karla's blog link). In the Blog in the Round, one author invites two authors, and so on, with each answering the following four questions about their writing life. It’s a great way for readers, and other authors, to get to know us better, and it demonstrates the amazing author camaraderie and support that we have for each other. I have chosen to invite mystery writer and acquisitions editor Sunny Frazier (Sunny's blog link), and award-winning author Stefanie Worth (Stefanie's blog link). You can check out their interview answers when they post on August 04, 2014.

So here goes:

What am I working on/writing?
I have several partly written short stories and novellas that I'm working on completing and getting out of the way before I begin my August task of editing a memoir and completing the first draft of my mystery novel.

How is my writing/work different from others in its genre?
I write in several genres, and I think that my Caribbean perspective is what makes my work different from other romance, mystery and lit fic stories. Even when the stories (such as Give Me the Night) are set outside of the Caribbean, the Caribbean vibe is there. As far as literary fiction goes, while a number of writers from the Caribbean have made significant contributions to the genre, each brings a different personal ethos to the work. The islands/territories are different in terms of language and culture, even though the history is similar, and each writer's experience is unique. I don't burden myself with an agenda, a "message", unlike other writers in the arena. What I do is tell stories of lives lived, and I leave it to the readers to take from them what they will. For me, story trumps all, regardless of the genre.

Why do I write what I do?
I've been an obsessive reader from childhood, and I write the kind of stories that I like to read. I write to escape the realities of the world and create a place where I have some measure of control over outcomes. I write because I love language. While I will read pretty much any story in any genre, my main interests lie in literary fiction, relationship fiction, mystery, and memoir--and this is what I write. I also enjoy humor and satire and I strive to incorporate these in some of my writing.

How does my writing process work?
First there's the idea, which can come while I'm sleeping, washing dishes, bathing, reading... When a story comes it feels like a flash out of the blue, but I think it really evolves out of the meanderings of my subconscious. Sometimes I have to stop whatever I'm doing and write the story immediately, as happened with "Miss Annie Cooks Fish" which ended up being shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. I was editing another story for a class I was taking and this one just jumped on me: Zap! Write me! I don't have a strict writing regimen; I write whenever I can. I get the most done when I'm on vacation and can maintain an interior focus, or stare into space indefinitely without freaking people out. I write the first draft then send the manuscript to my beta reader. When I get it back I start editing. This takes several passes until I tell myself to leave the darned thing alone or I'd never be done.

Thanks again, Marissa, for including me. I can't wait to read each author's blog as they travel in the round, a unique and inspiring circle of writer love!