Lori Lyn loves to help other writers in any way she can. She gives workshops on the craft of writing, has been a founder and presiding member of several non-profit writing organization chapters, and has organized book festivals and conferences. Her debut novel, The Archery Contest, is getting great reviews, and she's just signed a contract for her next work. Check out Lori Lyn's blog as she tells us about her writing process.
Thank you so much, Clare, for the kind invitation to chat here. I really love talking with other writers and sharing thoughts.
1) What are you working on?
I'm currently working the third book for my historical romances. Book one, THE ARCHERY CONTEST, is out now and I just signed a contract for the second book, THE COUNTRY BUTLER, with my publisher. So I really need to get on revising! I'm also working hard at promotion since my first book just came out a couple weeks ago. It's the un-fun part of being an author. Another project is learning how to format as I want to indie publish my thriller series.
Writers are always working on another book but once you get close to or are published, you really have to work on the business side of it. These days, promotion and marketing are a significant part of being an author - and if you do it well, a successful author. And thankfully I had several books done when I signed the first one with my publisher. It's given me lots more time to work on the promo side without also frantically trying to write an entire new book.
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
While my books are Regency-set historical romances, they hardly follow the rules of the traditional Regency. My heroines, like Willy in THE ARCHERY CONTEST, do not use fans to convey meaning - they tend to just say it directly. Willy even lures the hero into a challenge of archery skills. I really love humor and smart, strong heroines. My books are definitely character driven stories. I think my work mostly differs in that I have a unique voice, like most writers. I see characters and situations in my own light.
3) Why do you write what you do?
I write romance because I believe in the Happily-Ever-Afters. I come to care for my characters and want to see them happy and I so enjoy telling their stories. Romance is really all about what any book is about - relationships, people triumphing over adversity of some kind. It's an internal and external struggle but with romances, you know the ending will be and H-E-A or at least a happily-for-now end.
I guess I write, over all, because I simply have to. I have written stories, poems, lyrics since I was in elementary school! When the characters start forming in your mind, you kind of have to let them out on the page. It just doesn't feel like a choice. Even if everyone told me I would never be published, I would still have to write, if only just for myself. It's my form of art, my form of expression and, at times, my form of therapy!
4)How does your writing process work?
First off, I'm a pantser, which means I write by the seat of my pants. Plotting is not my forte! First, a situation or incident or occurrence comes to mind. I happen upon a news story or read an article and something mentioned in there intrigues me, starts tickling my imagination. Then I hear some bit of dialogue in my head or an opening scene fills my mind's eye. i just start wondering about it from there. But until I have the protagonists firmly set in mind, I can't write the story. I have to really "know" my two main characters (and my antagonist, if there is one) before I can start. It's their story, after all. I have to have a clear understand of who they are and how they would react to any given situation. I have to know what their childhood was like, what are their fears, their hopes, etc. I also need the appropriate music. I once tried to write a historical while listening to Alt Rock and it was not pretty. Too much headbanging at the ball. Then I just start writing, sometimes with hours of staring at the screen between typing! The midpoint of the book is always a bit of a struggle and sometimes that can stump me for a few days or even a week or more. But I push through (sometimes writing just that) and continue. Once "the end" is written, then comes all the revision work.
This is my entry in a tour blog of diverse writers answering 4 questions about their writing processes. First off, if you arrived here following Ellen Vance, you may notice this is Clare McKay's website and blog. I write under the name Clare McKay. She's my alter-ego.
I was invited to join the blog tour by my good friend, author and activist Michael Barrett Miller. Michael is a teacher and the co-founder and director of Let Kids Be Kids, an advocacy organization dedicated to giving a voice to those who need it most. He's traveled widely, observing and working with people often living under extremely difficult conditions, and his books come directly from his travels, adventures, and experiences helping others. You can find out more about Michael, his books, and his work at http://lifeintheshadowsblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/a-blog-tour/ and http://wealldeservebetter.blogspot.com/p/link-to.html.
Thank you, Michael, for giving me this opportunity to tell my writing story.
1. What am I currently working on?
I'm currently working on a contemporary romantic suspense novel. It's a bit of a departure for me as my books generally have paranormal elements, but the idea for this book came to me almost complete and I had to run with it.
The working title is Austin Bound, and it's the story of a straight up "protect and serve" type of cop who stops an assault on a young woman and then sees his life changing as his feelings for her deepen and he learns she's not exactly who he thought. There's some soul-searching, some suspense, and a bit of kink.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
That's a hard question. Every book is unique, and the romance genre is pretty broad. It's no longer the days of the old Harlequin romances with the fainting princesses waiting to be saved by the handsome heroes. I still love a handsome hero, but today most heroines are pretty self-confident and capable. The romance part comes in each of the partners learning about themselves and the other and sharing their strengths to work together to overcome the obstacles in their path.
I think one of the differences in my books is that they are very location oriented. It's the character of the place that calls to me and suggests the characters and the plot. Blue Mountain Magick is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina which are infused with a tradition of mystery and magick. Laramie Moon, Wind River Moon, and Missoula Moon, a paranormal series, came from visits out West where I often saw anti-wolf bumper stickers on trucks. I was intrigued with the question "What would you do if you were a wolf – a werewolf – in ranching country?" Finally, Austin Bound comes out of the flavor of Austin, a mixture of contemporary hipness and true Texas. You can read more about my passion for setting in my previous blog.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I've always written stories and poetry, and for years I tried to write literary fiction. I thought that was what I was supposed to write. I think I had some good ideas, but I never finished the books. I would lose interest in the characters, or the plot would become convoluted and unwieldy.
About 10 years ago my daughter, a voracious reader, began reading fantasy and paranormal romances, and I picked up some of her books and became enthralled with the characters and their stories. As a young adult, I had read romantic adventures – the Angelique novels by Anne and Serge Golon and the wonderful books of Daphne Du Maurier and Rosemary Sutcliff – and I'd moved on to sci-fi and fantasy. When I re-engaged with my romantic roots, something just clicked. I sat down and wrote my first novel, a 400 page romantic suspense laced with magical realism, in just 3 months. I realized that the old saying "Write what you love," is true.
4. How does your writing process work?
I usually have a pretty good idea of where I'm going before I begin writing, and then I'll dive right into it, but before I get too far into the story, I'll plot pretty extensively. I chart out the scenes, whose point of view I'm in for each scene, and how that scene forwards the plot. I use OneNote to keep character sketches, plotting charts, and research notes.
I prefer to write in long stretches, usually at night. I've found that it takes me a long time to warm up and get back into the scene where I left off, so if I can stay with the story for a good stretch, I get more accomplished. I've been known to write for 12 hours when I'm on a roll, but usually I write for 3-6 hours at a session.
I edit and revise as I go, so the books are usually in pretty good shape by the time I finish, but then I run them through my critique partner (invaluable) and some beta readers and make further revisions.
I hope you'll check out the book blurbs here on my website. If you have any questions or comments, I hope you'll post them or contact me on my contact page. I can also be found at https://www.facebook.com/ClareMcKayAuthor and @Clare_McKay. I will get back to you.
I also invite you to check out the blogs of my friend and fellow authors who will jump on this tour with their own blogs next week:
Shannon Kennedy is one of the busiest authors I know. She's published at least 8 novels and 1 novella with 3 different publishers in just the past 4 years while also owning/managing a horse farm and running riding camps for kids and teens. Whew! She writes 2 wonderful young adult series that focus on the strength of teens dealing with neglectful parents, foster care, relationship and substance abuse, and just growing up. Under the pen name Josie Malone, she also writes an adult paranormal series that ranges between the Old West and the Pacific Northwest today. You can read her blog post at http://www.josiemalone.com/writingtherangeblog.php
Lori Lyn loves to help other writers in any way she can. She gives workshops on the craft of writing, has been a founder and presiding member of several non-profit writing organization chapters, and has organized book festivals and conferences. Her debut novel, The Archery Contest, has just been released and is getting great reviews. Check out Lori Lyn's blog post at http://www.lorilyn.net/ .
I write fantasy and paranormal romance. I love having the ability to create new worlds and new histories. My first book LARAMIE MOON will be coming out soon, so stay tuned.