The First Questions

I asked for writerly questions over on my livejournal and I got one that I wanted to answer immediately. How’s that for service? The question(s), from Syrenslure:

How did you conceive of Squire’s Isle? Why are most of your stories set there? – I’ve answered the origin question before, in the post “Why Squire’s Isle?” (, but as for why most of my stories are set there… I really loved the idea of a universe where my stories would all take place. It would create a connection between the fictional people that would, in turn, help readers feel comfortable there. When you read one novel and hear mention of a “female DJ,” you know it’s Nadine. Or if the characters stop into Coffee Table Books, even if Amy’s not mentioned, you might feel like you’re returning to an old favorite place. At least, I feel that way when I write about it. <g>

Who is your favorite character to date? Who was the first character to “come to life” in your head? Who do you relate the most to? Who would you most want to date? – The first character to be born is still the one who is unpublished: Neil Miser. Squire’s Isle was created for him, to give his stories a world to occupy. He makes a cameo in Gemini (due in September). Who do I relate to most… I don’t think I’m anywhere near as likeable as some of the people I have created. But I think Nadine would be close to me. Quiet, friendly, maybe willing to put up with a bad situation rather than say something and cause a scene. Who would I date? Geez. I put a lot of qualities I like in a woman into Nadine from On the Air (dark hair, glasses, etc), so I would definitely be attracted to her if I met her in real life. Either Nadine or Jill Colby.

I know you can knock out a new novel in less than two weeks, but what do you do in between? How long do you spend each day on writing? Where do your ideas come from? – I quote Martin Lloyd from Stargate: “Never ask a writer where we get our ideas. The truth is… we don’t know.” But I get ideas from songs, books, TV… My latest novel, The Following Sea, was inspired by a Great Big Sea song. On the Air was inspired with an email conversation with a friend, and Gemini came about because I read The Thirteenth Tale, which was about twins. So it’s a myriad of things that go into my brain, gestate and then explode.

The time I spend per day writing varies. I’m generally on the computer between 1pm and 11pm, but I’m never writing the entire time (even when writing a novel). I would say, grand total throughout the day, I would say maybe six or seven hours are spent actually putting words on paper/screen.

To clarify, I can write a first draft in two weeks. Revising takes another week, but I like to take a break between the drafts. So say a month between starting it and having it ready for submission. It’s a small difference, but it is a difference. 😀 In between, I write short stories, I let ideas for other novels stew (I have two battling it out right now trying to be the next one) and I basically just build up the steam for the next novel. I firmly believe that I write so quickly because I take such long breaks in between in which I do nothing. It evens out, I think. <g>

Hope this answers your questions! And anyone else who has any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!