"Chain Style" Author Interview
by Donia Lawson on 09/24/14
My talented friend and fellow author Tod Langley has invited me to take part in a community of authors who are sharing answers to four interview questions. It's a great way for writers to connect with one another and to connect with our readers. Thanks, Tod, for the opportunity!
1. What are you working on?
Very recently I completed "Letting Go," my first short story. (I had no idea how difficult limiting my word count could be!) The fictional story deals with the struggles Dana endures when she discovers, quite by accident, that her husband of more than twenty years has been having an "emotional affair" with a female coworker. In case you're not familiar with the concept of emotional affairs, I'll explain a bit of what's involved. (Yes, like any thorough author, I did a substantial amount of research on the subject!) Emotional affairs rarely involve physical adultery, giving those involved in the relationships a sense that they "aren't doing anything wrong." As seen in Dana's story, that truly is not the case. Emotional betrayal can have as much, perhaps even more, of an impact than a short-lived physical affair. Technology has made emotional affairs more prevalent. Social media platforms, email, and texting allow individuals to maintain a physical distance while giving opportunities to share thoughts, ideas, and feelings that often would not be expressed by the individuals in a face-to-face situation. That creates an emotional connection between those involved. Once "Letting Go" has been critiqued by my writing group, I hope to submit it for magazine publication and/or enter it in writing contests.
Besides the short story, I'm working on another suspenseful novel that deals with the love lives of four individuals, two veterinarians, a commuter airline pilot, and a department manager of a bank. The title is True Love Waits. The story deals with unrequited love, jealousy, forbidden feelings, vengeance, and, of course, true love. Like my first two novels, True Love Waits is set primarily in my hometown. I hope to have it released sometime mid-2015.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Part of what makes my writing different is that it can fit into several different genres. My work could easily be considered general fiction. Most of my work fits into Christian, mystery/suspense, and romance genres. While my stories always have a spiritual element, I strive very hard to keep them from being "churchy." I include enough intrigue to satisfy mystery lovers, but that hasn't been the focus of my stories thus far. Most importantly, my work is far from the typical romance novel. What I tell are LOVE STORIES. (Yes, there is a difference!) My books are clean without being sophomoric. I'd rate my first two novels, Always and Of Dreams and Tragedies, PG-13, but the stories appeal to a wide age range. I'd bump the age limit up a bit for "Letting Go" and True Love Waits.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I write the kinds of stories I enjoy reading. They are fast-paced and character-driven. (I absolutely love developing characters and setting up plot details!) My plots are not so intricate nor are my character lists so long that it requires note taking to keep up with everything. On the other hand, the story-lines are not so simple that your brain turns to mush upon reading them. I always give readers something to think about.
4. How does your writing process work?
So far, my process (if you can even call it that) has been different for each story I've written. When I began my writing career, I was homeschooling my two children. Much of my writing and self-editing was done during gymnastics classes and tennis practices, with the bulk of it being done after everyone else had gone to bed. If I get a strong creative vein going, I might write through the night. I'm not a stickler for outlines, although I do find them useful at times. I am a stickler for details and make calendars and timelines and lists of traits for each character to keep all the events in my stories accurate. I often write backward from a particular plot point or from two plot points to a point between the two. The bulk of my stories are usually worked out in my head before I even open my word processing program on my laptop, but it takes time for me to fill in all the details to form a complete story. That's the fun part!
Thanks again, Tod, for inviting me to be part of the interview chain.