So now, I'll try to answer the questions to the best of my ability, though describing my writing process isn't any more organized than my mind, and trust me, that's scary.
What am I working on?
Well, actually, I'm working on few. One from scratch, love, mystery and trying to make sense of the unexpected and painful. Yeah, well, I never claimed to write normally. I am also working on the third of the series I started that includes Something Taken and Something Returned. Due to a surprise ending of Something Returned, further explanation was needed, so I am writing the final story, Something Broken. I needed a bit of diversion, so though it is mostly done, I had to take a step back. And lastly, I am working on an edit on a historic fiction series, set in the medieval period, and the first Plantagenet Kings of England.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Okay, that's funny. I don't even know if I have genre. If I do, I haven't identified it yet. Which unfortunately, puts me in an awkward position, since writing on a wide variety of topics, from different angles is outside the bounds of acceptability. Authors, these days are supposed to be categorized and since I don't fall into one category, I am probably consigned to the scrap heap. Unfortunately, I've been a square peg in a round hole world all my life and its probably too late to change now. I have thought of starting my own genre, heck maybe my own publishing company, for writers of Fictional Non-fiction, or Non-Fiction Novels? Some of my work is historic, some contemporary, some in the not so distant past. But one thing that remains constant, it is all based on reality and facts. When I write historic fiction, though the main character might be fictionalized, the surrounding events and characters, are not. I spend a great deal of time and effort researching whatever I write. Perhaps that's what it makes it different, or possibly unique, in that I write on broad range of topics, people and time periods, but its always about real life, since I find that fascinating enough for an unlimited supply of ideas.
Why Do I Write?
Because I always have. I don't know that I contemplated publishing very often, but I always thought about the current and the next story I was writing. I have dozens of completed novels, I even have a few hand written in notebooks. It was one thing that offered me unlimited challenges. Some quirk of mind left me with an insatiable need to learn, and writing was one way to use that oddity to keep me from going crazier. I will never perfect my writing because I can always improve it. Some day I would like to believe I have mastered the art of writing, but I may never have that answer. Only my readers could tell me, since I remain a little uncertain. My life has never gone smoothly, but mostly its because I've spent a bit of time making mistakes and I can't claim to be normal by a long shot. So writing offers me an escape, a place I could feel comfortable and, perhaps, make some sense of life.
How does my writing process work?
Again, I'm a little fuzzy as to the answer. I don't know that I have a process. I think of a story I'd like to write, and then I write it. Some require a lot of research, which means it is a slow process, since I try to be as accurate as possible. Most of my stories are already written, I am just the story teller. People I meet, things that have happened to me, tidbits I have discovered, all these things are what I draw on to write a story. My idea of a romance is the story of a person I know, who faced misfortune too often. Losing a child, and a few year later, his wife, leaving him with a bevy of little children to raise on his own. Why is it a love story? Because in spite of life handing him the worse, he recalled the love they shared and drew strength from it. He didn't become embittered, nor bewail the unfairness of life, he just continued the love story by giving his best to his children. To me, its a story of heroics, of recognizing life's blessing, and learning what it means to truly give -- not money, but of yourself. Maybe some of my stories will inspire someone, to take the time to make one person's life a little better or a moment to reflect on the past or another perspective, to understand how we arrived at our place in the world today. So my process is to capture the essence of humanity, in all its frailty, folly, and foolishness, all its glory, goodness and grandeur, and pass it on, in the hope that it might touch another person and give them inspiration to find the best in each other.
So there you have it, the work of an abnormal mind. If nothing else, all of the novels I have written may be discovered and analyzed, and they will create a new mental illness in my honor. In the meantime, live long, laugh often, kiss passionately, love forever. We only get one chance at life, its not permanent, so don't take it too seriously.
And now, to enjoy the writing process of a couple of other great writers. Next week, on Monday August 4, they will share their writing process.
Hop over next Monday and discover Terry Wilson. Like me, he likes to write about real life. His work might now qualify is historic fiction, but I prefer to believe it is just contemporary of short time ago. http://terrywilsonsite.com
In her creative life, Karen Stockwell has been a visual artist, a journalist, a poet, a singer-songwriter, a jewelry designer, a fiber artist, and now, finally, a novelist. She's made a living by working for advertising agencies and an educational publisher. She holds a B.A. in Art Education and a M.A. in Art History and has taken many classes and workshops in the arts. Her craft work and articles have been published in Belle Armoire magazine. With her husband Clinton Stockwell, she divides her time between Chicago and Galena, Illinois.