1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
I have heard so many ways to create characters, but what I find works best for me is a visual reference. I like to pick a picture of a woman or man and build a story around them. In some cases, I also do a basic character interview to learn about their pasts and the events that have come together to shape them.
2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?
In the case of Christmas Wishes, I knew the plot line I wanted to develop before I had sketched the characters. This story was perpetuated by a close friend’s death in a tragic car accident. After the accident, I witnessed his mother’s life as she moved through the cycle of grief. Christmas Wishes takes place at the last step of that cycle, the moment of change.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
I usually do know how the story will end, but I have found in other projects that things don’t always work out as I have planned.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
Christmas Wishes is based in Montana (where I live). Several of my other books are also set in Montana, but I find I enjoy learning about other locations. I just published another book Winter Swans that takes place in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Las Vegas. It was fun research!
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
I am an active researcher. For my book Montana Mustangs, I had to learn about horses so I went out into the wilds of Montana on a horseback trip to high-mountain lakes. It was an amazing experience that I look forward to doing again. For that same book, I also went on a police ride-along to learn about police procedures and terminology.
When I need a quick answer, I do use trusted internet sources.
6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?
I write the first draft and then go back and rework the story. I find it is easier to fix problems when I know the full story.
Thank you, Janet, for having me on your blog. This was a fun interview!
*Readers, if you have any questions I look forward to hearing them! I also have a question for you. When you read a book do you “see” a character based off the cover (i.e. the cover model is the main character) or do you find that your vision of the character is different?
Look forward to reading your great answers!