1. 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?
An idea for a plot comes to me and the process begins. I develop characters based on the plot and how I want it to unfold. Of course this goes through some massive changes as the MS progresses. The plot dictates the education level and careers for my characters.
2. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?
I don't have a specific process. My characters can and do change in order for my plot to progress. Nothing is written in stone. I've been known to have an 'oh, wouldn't it be cool if...' moment and then I'm editing to make that idea work. When writing The Natasha Saga, an idea came to me in the fourth book that sent me back to the 3rd book to write a scene. I was fortunate that I was able to make the storyline flow. The entire saga was written before I sought out a publisher.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
The ending or at least the climax is the initial idea for the plot. I write around that. I develop character and the flow of the story around that idea. The idea for my current work in progress came to me while walking the dog. My neighbour put a chair on the path so she could sit and knit while enjoying the view. My characters won't be knitting. :- )
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
My settings are generally places I have visited. Keeghan and William's house is based on my current home. The location was inspired by the waterfront property at a bread and breakfast we stayed at while visiting British Columbia. I fell in love with the location while we were there. The cottage Natasha and Stewart live in was based on a cottage we stayed at while vacationing in Shining Tree in Northern Ontario.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
I do research on-line, just to ensure my facts are correct. To ensure I use the proper terms. Then I have my husband read the story. He's really good at catching little errors. He is also my biggest critic. If he doesn't like the story, regardless how much time I've dedicated to it, out it goes, or back to the editing table. Either way, he is the only set of eyes that sees that version if I don't get his thumbs up.