I’ve been tagged by Terry Odell to participate in the Sisters in Crime Blog Hop (#SinCBlogHop). The rules are simple. I’m to choose one or more questions that were posted on the SinC Website and write the answer(s) in a blog. I can then tag someone else to continue this blog hop (or not).
I joined Sisters in Crime several years ago when I realized my stories were beginning to focus more on solving a crime than on a romance. I like the purpose of SinC, which was formed to: Promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers. I’m so glad I did join. SinC has put on wonderful, educational one-day workshops prior to Bouchercon, has an on-line loop ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) offers sub-groups to help writers (those who belong to the Guppies love it), and has been supporting Writers Police Academy for years (which reduces SinC member’s registration fee). In other words, it’s a GREAT group.
Now, on to my questions. I chose three.,
* If someone said “Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men,” how would you respond?
I heard that statement from my father back when I started writing mysteries. (Of course, prior to that he used to tell people I wrote “dirty” books.) I wasn’t sure how to respond to him. In his case he was first-generation Italian who still basically believed women should be teachers, secretaries, or stay-at-home moms with the children. However, when my husband started reading mysteries and kept selecting books written by men, I decided to counter his perception by handing him some books I thought he might enjoy that were written by women.
I can’t say I’ve switched him over to reading books only written by women (I wouldn’t want to do that any more than the other way around), but he now has several favorite female authors. He is more selective by the “type” of mystery or crime novel rather than the sex of the person who wrote it.
*What’s the best part of the writing process for you? What’s the most challenging?
For me, the best part of the writing process is after the rough draft is finished and I can go back into the story and refine it. While writing the rough draft, I struggle with characterization; whether I should “show” a scene or simply “tell” what happened; and if my dialogue sounds natural, is being used to convey information that the characters should already know, and/or if it sounds like it’s being spoken in that character’s voice. I also love doing the research, learning new things.
The most challenging? Now that my husband’s retired, it’s more difficult for me to find blocks of uninterrupted time when I can completely immerse myself in my writing. He doesn’t mean to interrupt, but he does. Also, in regard to the story I’m writing, I sometimes find it challenging to create a situation that may not actually be what law officers who “go by the book” would normally do, but my character needs to do it. I have to find ways to explain why a character might act as he or she does that doesn’t sound contrived.
*If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?
I’d tell her to read as many crime fiction novels as she possibly can; to realize there are no set rules about writing, only guidelines; that to get a book published you first have to write it (not just talk about writing it), that you then have to go over it as many times as necessary to make it the best possible story you can produce (and get outside readers/edits to help with this); and then you have to start sending it out. A manuscript sitting in a drawer will never get published. Persistence is what’s necessary to get published. Don’t let rejections stop you. Listen to advice, but realize, ultimately, it’s your name that will be on the cover, so make sure, if you do make any changes, they are ones you believe will make it a better book. And finally, today’s writers have many options. Don’t simply take the easiest one. Take the one you feel will best benefit the book.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. I’ve tagged Loralee Lillibridge, a friend who grew up in Texas and brought those roots with her to Michigan. Loralee is a great writer who has a fun mystery, Bringing in the Thieves, coming out in November. This book is the first of her Joyful Noise cozies. Loralee is also blogging today at http://lora-lee.com Do stop by and say howdy to her.