Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Process

Thanks to Betty Cotter for inviting me to take part in the My Writing Process Blog Tour! Betty is the author of two novels ROBERTA'S WOODS and THE WINTERS. ROBERTA'S WOODS is set in Rhode Island - in the near future. It's a prophetic take on what may happen quite soon in America; in fact, some of what's predicted in the novel is already happening. THE WINTERS draws us into the recent past, and provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of a Rhode Island clan. You can read Betty's blog at

As part of this blog tour, I’ve been asked to answer the following questions:
1) What are you working on?
At the moment, I'm in an ADD mode - working on several different projects: 2 novels for grown-ups, 2 novels for young adults,  and a middle-grade (or younger) fantasy. I usually work this way for a while, waiting for a "voice" to grip me and possess me. At that point, I go from ADD to schizophrenic - I listen as well as I can to the voice, and at some point characters take me over and I feel like I can see a movie in my head, and that's when I know I'm in the writing "zone" and moving toward completion.
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I think one thread that has, thus far, run through my work, is that at some level, the protagonists of my three novels (A TIME TO DANCE, CLIMBING THE STAIRS and ISLAND'S END) all seek to understand their spirituality. In my debut novel (CLIMBING THE STAIRS), this is subtle; in A TIME TO DANCE, it is one of the central themes - after she loses a limb, the protagonist's understanding of life, love, compassion, and faith are deepened, through the power of her art.  
3) Why do you write what you do?
I had a childhood I wouldn't wish on anyone - and parts of my adult life have been rather awful as well. Books were my saving grace. So was writing. I write because I have to. I'd probably go insane if we were forbidden to write. I fell in love with words early on, and although I wandered off into the world of mathematics and science for a while, I'm at last doing what I truly love to do. Writing is my form of meditation, it's catharsis, it is me. 
4) How does your writing process work?
Given that I have a little one, I don't get large chunks of writing time. In summer I get no writing time at all, in fact. My family - my husband and my child -  the family I have chosen to have - is  my top priority. That said, I use whatever time I can to write. I keep a notebook with me at all times - even by my bed at night - to jot down sentences, phrases, paragraphs any time they come to me. I don't chase after stories - I wait for characters to appear. When they do, I open my mind to them, so they can haunt me, and, as I get to the final stages of a novel, they possess me utterly. That's the point at which my family sometimes has to drag me back to this world by literally shaking me. 
Now for the three wonderful writers who'll be following me as part of the My Writing Process Blog Tour:  

Kashmira Sheth, like me, is an Asian American author. She is the author of several critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for young adults (such as KEEPING CORNER) and middle-graders (such as BLUE JASMINE). This versatile woman also writes delightful picture books (such as TIGER IN MY SOUP). Kashmira blogs at
Jody Lisberger's prize-winning fiction has appeared in Confrontation, Fugue, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Lousiville Review and Thema. She is the author of Remember Love, a collection of "ten perfect tales" (the Louisville Courier) that are "first-rate" (the Boston Globe). She is on the faculty of the low-res MFA writing program at Spalding University and blogs at

Rachel May blogs at She is the author of QUILITING WITH A MODERN SLANT, which has been hailed as "an encyclopedia of modern quilting" (Publishers Weekly). I'm not good - at all - at any kind of craft, but, May's book (which received a starred review from the Library Journal) is one that "nonquilters...will enjoy" (the Chicago Tribune), for sure!
And, if you'd like to know more about me and my process, here below are a few bloggers who were, recently, kind enough to do wonderful interviews about A TIME TO DANCE: