During the last few months, I’ve enjoyed going to book signings. It’s always nice to meet readers who are interested in my historical novel Blue, Gray & Crimson: A Story of Civilian Courage at Gettysburg.
At these events, I usually answer a lot of questions about my research and writing. I realized that I’ve shared some of my research during the last year of Back to Gettysburg on Tuesday blog series, but I didn’t share much about the actual writing process. Maybe you’re interested?
So I decided to “interview myself” – I found a list of suggested questions for an author interview, and I’ll answer them in two blog posts. I hope you’ll enjoy a glimpse of how the history and story were crafted into the book that you can hold in your hands today.1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Probably around age nine. I’d been interested in writing and wrote little stories for my family and friends when I was younger, but I was nine when an older cousin suggested, “You should write a book.” Wanting to write something that highlighted the Civil War and included a cameo appearance of Abraham Lincoln, I settled on a story about Gettysburg. YEARS later I took my research and collection of new story ideas and blended it with the original draft and heart of the that first “book.”
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
(Laughs) Blue, Gray & Crimson took about two years; eight months of extensive research, three months to write the first draft, approximately a year of editing and the publishing process. I’m discovering I was fortunate to have a very smooth writing process with my first novel. My current project wasn’t plotted quite as well as it should’ve been, and it’s taking longer – also…life happens and sometimes you need time to sort through new emotions and experiences.
3. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I like to work on my fiction writing for about two hours in the afternoon. The early afternoon is often my most productive time.
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm… Being very adamant about not getting interrupted – does that count? I pace or stare out the window when I’m thinking about a scene and how to get it on paper.
5. How do your books get published?
Blue, Gray & Crimson was self-published. After a lot of business research, I decided to start my own small company. I own the ISBN number and control every aspect of the book and publishing process. I did contract with a company who did a great and professional job on the final cover design, interior formatting, and other technical skills which would’ve been big learning curves for me. Overall, I have been very happy with the process and will likely continue with this option for my historical novels. It’s a lot of work, but I love my job (mostly).
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your book?
History, mostly. I spent a lot of time studying the town, civilians, leaders, aftermath, and battle of Gettysburg before I started to write. Having a broad base of knowledge and familiarity with a setting and real historical characters makes working little historical details into the story much easier. I even had some resources sent out from Gettysburg National Military Park Library. (Yes, I have visited Gettysburg!)
I like crafting original characters and try to love the setting of the story. You might want to read about my “book of inspiration” to learn more about how I do this.
7. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Nine. (See my answer to Question 1). I wrote a lot of story drafts – some Civil War, one Regency era “novel”, and lots of short stories between ages nine and twenty. Most of those stories were not very good, but it was a positive way for me to let out “creative steam” and also get over some of the common writing problems before I got serious about writing for publication.
8. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Is there a time when I’m not writing or thinking about a novel, blog post, or article? (Laughs) Okay, okay – I like to read. Love to quilt! Enjoy being with close friends and my family. Research for more writing. 🙂 I like to cook and bake. I love to travel. That’s probably enough personal information for now…
I’ll answer eight more questions next week. Hope you’ve enjoyed a little glimpse of my “novel writing life.”
Your Historian & Authoress,
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