We all know there are six elements of fiction. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is plot. What's your take on this?
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
My characters start off in my head, but they’re like chess pieces I move around to make the plot work. Once I have that, I think about the people. What do they like? What do they dislike? Why are they attracted to each other? One of the pins on my Pinterest board of writing tips is a questionnaire about your characters. I find it helps sharpen up my ideas about them. After all that, when I start writing, they take on a life of their own. Maybe I wanted one to be uptight, but she shows me her slutty side. It’s an amalgam of methods that seems to work.
2. Do your characters come before the plot?
I’m a big believer in plot first. That said, if the characters are wooden, my writing wouldn’t sell.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
A general way, with a happy-ever-after guaranteed. I know my hero and heroine will fall in love, and I know some of the obstacles they’ll face along the way. They never have an easy ride.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
For my Scattered Siblings series, my husband drew me a map based on what I told him about my otherworld. I know which species lives where and the home territory of each werewolf pack. For my Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge Trilogy, I needed a coastal town in North Carolina. I’m a Brit who for health reasons doesn’t do long haul flights. Since my town was imaginary, I used the British sea side resort of Whitby as my base but Americanised it. (And yes, that is where Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, but I left the vampires behind.)
Westhorpe Ridge straddles a gorge with cliffs either side. Devlin’s hotel sits on the cliff top. Montgomery Hall replaces Whitby Abbey on the other.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Mostly on line, but anything’s research. I recently went to a talk by a Farrier. I went out of interest, but afterward, l realized I knew my next hero’s profession. My Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge series features former military men. I looked at USA service websites so much a recruiter came on line and wanted to chat with me. They’re also into BDSM and I visited one that opened its doors for writers to chat with the Doms. I learned about flogging, people visiting in their lunch break, and breath control. It was quite a day.
6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?
A bit of both. I write until I’m stuck, then revise the chapters I’ve written. By the time I’ve done that, I generally know what happens next. Once my first draft’s finished, I revise and revise until my head hurts. I’m dyslexic and don’t see the errors every time, but with the help of my husband, I get there in the end.
7. Where can we find you on the net?