“A dog is just a dog. Until he looks at you. Then he’s Mr. Dog.”
Before I get to the Q&A, I will admit that my legal antennae have been glued to the Paris Hilton extravaganza all day long. Bad me. Although, I am reminded of the Swedish situation, where female prisoners have been fighting for the “human right” to get a good tan.
From Laura: How long does it take you to finish a MS from plotting to the final editing? Most of us aspiring writers have day jobs. I think you do too, right? Where do you find the time to crank out books like you do?
Actually, I quit practicing law to write full time, so fortunately for me, writing is my day job. And I count my blessings every day for that. Getting to stay home and do what I love is not something I can ever afford to take for granted.
As for time, though, it usually takes anywhere from one to three months to finish writing a book. To be honest, that’s really all the time I’ve got, so I have to make every word count—and make every day mean something.
From Nancy: What’s the best time for you to write, morning or night? How many hours per day do you write?
Morning and night are usually the best times for me to write, if only because I’m fresh in the morning—and at night as the lights go down, my brain can put away the day and focus on the storytelling. But that’s on days when I can afford not to write in the afternoon, because when a deadline looms, there is no best time. There is the only time and that time is right now. As for hours, I don’t really keep track. Time doesn’t measure progression, after all. If I need to write three thousand words in a day, I’ll do so—if it takes three hours or thirteen.
From Mrs_Blondie: How do you decide what order to write the series in? How will you decide who to write next?
I hate to say it, but my process isn’t all that complicated.
a. I write a book.
b. In the middle of writing that book, I start getting ideas for the next book.
As for who gets to play hero and heroine, that’s also random. It would have made sense, probably, to write a story about Koni after THE RED HEART OF JADE, given that he played such a large secondary role. Same with SOUL SONG, where he also shows up. But I don’t have a story for him yet, and I probably won’t for another several books. Same with Rictor, or the gargoyle brothers (although one of them is getting his own book soon). Stories just sort of …happen. For example, in the middle of writing THE RED HEART OF JADE, I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to do with Blue. In the middle of SHADOW TOUCH, Dean reared his head. And in the middle of TIGER EYE, even though I hadn’t yet sold that novel, Artur totally had me wrapped around his finger. It’s happening even now with THE LAST TWILIGHT. Scenes for the next Dirk & Steele are popping into my head, along with dialogue and location. I write down my inspiration the best I can, then store it away so it can simmer at the back of my brain. But it’s not a conscious decision. With THE LAST TWILIGHT, for example, I never said, “Amiri is next, because I have to.” It was more like, “Amiri is next, because he’s here.”
Any other questions? Feel free to ask about SOUL SONG, as well.