1) What am I working on?
Right now I’m wrapping up a historical short for a project I’m working on with Lena Hart, Kate McMurray, and Stacey Agdern. It’s still a bit of a secret, so I can’t go into it too much, but I can say that we’re exploring some facets of history and romance that haven’t received much attention.
I’m also working on book 2 in my Civil War espionage romance series I’m shopping, and book 2 in my sci-fi/dystopian series. There is a lot of research going on, ranging from whether people wore underwear during the civil war to modern astrophysics.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think my work is different because I’m kind of a weirdo. I mean that in a good way (and it’s taken about three decades to be able to mean it in a good way). I have a distinctive voice that comes through no matter what romance genre I’m writing in. Also, my work is very character driven, and I enjoy writing unconventional plots.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write what I’m interested in,and my interests run a wide gamut. So far I’ve written about the Albanian mafia, a Hindu demi-god, the dystopian near-future, and multicutural historical stories. I love doing research, so often I’ll see something that catches my attention (like human trafficking or exploitative tabloid headlines), and then I think, “Where is the love story in this?” I love obscure knowledge, and getting to pepper my romance novels with it is a benefit of the job.
4) How does your writing process work?
Well, I’m not the type of writer who has conversations with her characters, so usually a story comes to me as the hero and/or the heroine being involved in some sort of “what if” situation (e.g., “What if one of those teachers being vilified by the press was actually the victim of a vicious plot?”). Plots inspiration often stems from learning about an interesting situation in the real world, through meeting someone or reading something in the news or on a blog, and then thinking “You know what would be cool?” and starting to write. I think up story ideas ALL THE TIME, but the right combination of plot and character is necessary to get my butt in the chair and my fingers flying.
Research is a big part of my writing process. Whether I’m writing contemporary or historical, I try to make sure I know as much about a place/culture/event as possible before writing to better inform the development of character/story. I’m mostly a pantser, so research is my way of organizing. For example, in a historical, the plot has to follow a certain timeline, and knowing about the time period helps me to organize the book as a whole. Or in a contemporary, if I decide to incorporate something I’ve uncovered in my research, I can build the story out around that.
I often write a short summary (a couple of paragraphs), and then just add notes as they come to me—usually when I’m zoning out during my commute or in bed about to fall asleep.
Hopefully that made sense—it does in my head! Be sure to check out next week’s writer, the awesome Jill Sorenson!
Jill Sorenson writes sexy action/adventure romance for HQN. http://www.jillsorenson.com/blog/