Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Writer's Life

I’m often asked, what is your writing routine, when and where do you write, and what’s your ideal writing conditions.

Over the years, this answer has changed with the genre I’m writing. When I wrote historical romances, I always listened to movie soundtracks, and surrounded myself with plenty of photos from magazines as inspiration. Making the switch to contemporary romance, I nixed the music. Probably because I couldn’t find anything modern without lyrics that wouldn’t be distracting. I still kept some photos of actors/actresses handy to describe my hero and heroine, but as for settings, I was living in modern times.
My current work in progress is set in the 1950s to the present day. I’ve written up to the early 1960s. I’ve bought a lot of books that have really great pictures for references, I’ve read a lot of journals and biographies, too. I also am a member of several Facebook sites on historical Los Angeles, and the San Fernando Valley. They’re great with posting photos from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Since I’m now describing the 1950s and 1960s, I will listen to that era music on my XM stations and draw some “mood” from it. I had one scene where it was pivotal to have just the right song playing. I found a Johnny Mathis ballad and played it over and over as I wrote the scene. The lyrics helped make the literary image I was conveying have more meaning.
I’ve always preferred to write in the evenings. I think because when my daughters were born, I spent my days with them and could only work after I put them to bed at night. As they grew up, I still ended up having more motivation at night to write. I never write at night now because I prefer to spend my evenings with my husband. It’s been difficult retraining myself to be more time-disciplined during the day. But once I get that first sentence down, I’m fine to dig in for a while.

I take frequent breaks to walk around or do some household task. I think the longest I’ve sat continuously has been two hours. I never drink tea, just coffee. Never worked in my pajamas. Always dress and put shoes on, fix my hair and make up—treat the home office like a normal office. I wouldn’t dream of eating at my desk.

I’m ridiculously organized. I keep a big binder with every character study, research note, photo, and map sectioned in tabs and ready for easy access. I edit with a mechanical pencil and never a pen. Never work on my book unless it’s on my desktop. Don’t use a pad of paper for longhand. I always buy my research books so I can have them. Two years after I purchased it, I still haven’t fully figure out Word for Mac on my “new” computer.

My dog keeps me company in her little pink bed.
I don’t ever put a fall or winter scene on my computer as a desktop background. I like the summer heat! Speaking of which, my series To Protect and Serve, Heroes in Uniform have two very hot men on the covers! An Igniting Attraction and An Arresting Attraction are available in ebook format for your favorite eReader. Since these covers are smokin’ hot—and it’s too cold in Boise right now, let’s warm winter up!
If you “Like” my Facebook page in the next three days, I’ll randomly draw a name to receive a free downloadable copy of An Igniting Attraction and An Igniting Attraction. Good luck! 


Laurie G said...

Thanks for sharing a little bit about your life, writing style and idiosyncrasies. I visited your Facebook page. Glad your Boise Broncos won. Based on a close friend's recommendation, my husband and I took a scenic drive through a lot of Idaho on a trip to Olympic National Park in Washington. We especially loved the fields filled with daisies near Coeur d'alene.

Liz Flaherty said...

I am overwhelmed by your neatness. I envy your organization, too, though I wouldn't know where to put it if I had it! I loved your historicals and look forward to transitioning to your contemporary work.

dstoutholcomb said...

your office is very neat and organized! liked the FB page.

Stef Ann said...

Laurie G. Thanks for the kind words. We were able to go to the BSU vs. ASU game in Glendale and it was great!
Liz F. I am my own worse enemy when it comes to being obsessively neat. :-) Ask my husband. He'll get a drink of milk, leave his cup on the counter, go back to pour another glass and I've already put his dirty up in the dishwasher.
Denise Thanks for the LIKE. Good luck on the contest!