First, I want to thank Robert DeBurgh for inviting me to join the My Writing Process Blog Tour. Bob learned to fly at the age of fifteen and has over twenty thousand hours of flight time. He has been a flight instructor, cargo pilot, mail pilot, bush pilot, mercenary fighter pilot and has served as captain for three airlines. As an author, he has written aviation articles and stories for various publications and has written many science fiction and fantasy short stories, was a columnist for two newspapers and associate editor for “American Roadracing Magazine.”
He is the author of the widely acclaimed novels, Riders of the Wind and Winds of Fate. In each of these novels DeBurgh has woven a tale of high adventure set against an accurate background of actual historical events. His new novel, The Winds of Kunlun Shan, is the third book in the Riders of the Wind series. Read more about him at www.robertdeburgh.weebly.com
1. What am I working on?
I am new to full-time writing so I’m still in the “paying one’s dues” mode. With two novels on the closet shelf and a stalled one resting in the cloud, my current work in progress is a novel without a good working title. It is about a young woman who fled Denver because of an abusive boss and whose circumstances have landed her on the ranch of a widowed horse breeder/ostrich farmer. When the boss is found murdered, she is the primary suspect. Could someone else have killed the rich and powerful oil man? The rancher risks everything to help clear her name. Will she betray his trust?
I’m taking a closer look at revising some short stories I’ve submitted to periodicals and they have been rejected. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with the stories. I just haven’t found the right outlet for them.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I consider myself a mystery writer but the element of romance is playing a larger part in my current novel. It’s one part solving the murder and two parts resolving the relationship between the main characters in the face of stumbling blocks. As for the mystery part, I’m not at the point of inserting graphic images of how death occurred. My victim was shot and the reader has to imagine the volume of blood and the size of the bullet hole.
Two of my rejected short stories are not mysteries at all, just a couple of fun pieces I did. They are stories about everyday life with an interesting twist.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I’ve always enjoyed reading mysteries and rarely figure out the culprit before he or she is revealed at the end of a novel. That makes mystery writing a natural genre for me. However, I also take something I’ve read, or seen on television, or an event from real life, and play with it. The project may go nowhere or it turns out to be a good mystery or mainstream fiction.
4. How does my writing process work?
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one from Facebook sums up my writing process. We have three cats and a dog allowing us to live in their home. When I sit down to write, one by one, the cats take turns creeping across my work, whether it’s on paper or computer.
I used to be a strictly morning person for anything that needed thought but as I’ve aged, my mornings are spent with the internet, reading e-mails, working sudokus, and too much time with Facebook. I usually don’t get to my desk before noon and will work until 3 or 4 p.m. There are days when I have to make myself stick with a project or a scene because the writing is tough. For that reason, I keep a supply of chocolate at my desk because I read somewhere that chocolate enhances creativity.
I’ve played with forms for character sketches and I think I finally have one that works for me. The same goes for beat sheets/scene summaries. Doing a scene summary at the end of the first draft is more helpful to me than trying to keep one going as I write. Going back through the work to summarize helps me find inconsistencies and holes that I may not find otherwise.
Who’s up next?
Nancy Sartor is a Nashville-born writer with twenty years’ experience. She is a charter member and current president of Word Spinners Ink, a member of Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. She is an enthusiastic graduate of Donald Maass’s Breakout Novel Intensive Workshop, Don Maass’s workshop on micro tension, and the Writers Police Academy. She is a member of the prestigious Quill and Dagger writing group in Nashville. Because her favorite books always do, Nancy believes a novel should enlarge understanding, raise awareness, plead for the less fortunate, define a better way of life, give provide a personal story so poignant it brings tears to every eye or in some way contribute something of substance to the reader. She has web published one novel, a paranormal romance that is no longer available, a suspense novel making the rounds of agents and editors, and another paranormal underway. Nancy can be found at www.nancysartor.com.
Barbara Tubbs Hill can be described as a writer, counselor, and perennial student. She is currently working on her first novel with two more planned for the future. Her first book Let’s Talk, What You Don’t Know About Credit Can Hurt You, was written after fifteen years in a career that spanned collections, credit, and mortgage lending. She and her husband, Johnnie, live in Florence, Alabama with their two precious rescue dogs, Snookies and Daisy. The Shoals area has been her home for most of her life.