1. Do you write a single genre or do your fingers flow over the keys creating tales in many forms? My fingers shift between mystery, suspense and mainstream stories. I’ve also dabbled with magic realism in short stories.
Do your reading choices reflect your writing choices? My reading choices shift between the same genres I write. While I sometimes enjoy reading fantasy, science fiction and paranormal stories, I tend toward realism in both my reading and writing. I often read historical fiction and would like to write it some day, but feel daunted by the research required and my story ideas tend toward the contemporary scene. I’m tempted to try time travel, since it would combine both historical and contemporary.
Are there genres you wouldn’t attempt? I would attempt most genres in a short story. For a novel, which requires more sustained knowledge and writing skills, I would stay away from genres I’m less familiar with in my reading, like science fiction. While my writing is mostly realistic, I have the germ of an idea for a combination mystery/ghost story.
2. Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which are your favorite to write? Villains. I find them so much fun to write. One reason is that I don’t have to worry about making them acceptable to readers. They can say and do anything, however outrageous or cruel. And if they turn out to be likeable anyway, that can work too. Even reader indifference wouldn’t be as serious a problem for a villain as it would be for the hero or heroine. My villains also tend to be selfish and single-minded in their goals. This makes their motives in every scene clear – “What’s best for me?” Heroes and heroines usually have concern for people other than themselves, which can make their motives more complicated to understand and portray.
3. Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story? Aside from occasional minor characters, I don’t use pictures or real people to inspire characters. The basics of a person spring from my imagination; his traits come from a blend of people I’ve known or read about or seen in a film, as well as from myself. I start with an idea for a character and a plot, then both develop in the course of writing the story. I get to know my hero by how he responds to situations, and his actions trigger plot developments.
4. Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story? My process for creating heroines is the same as it is for heroes. I start my novels with a few basics for my protagonist—gender, age, some physical and emotional traits, career, plus a story problem, setting, and perhaps some plot developments to occur later in the story. I can’t write character sketches before starting the book. I have to come to know the character through the story. After a couple of drafts, I look for pictures of people on the internet to help solidify my concept of the character. But I never find someone who looks exactly likely the character I’ve envisioned in the story.
5. Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human? I make every secondary character opposed to the protagonist’s goal at some point in the story, even if that person is generally supportive. Isolating the heroine or hero increases the pressure on him or her, and helps maintain tension and conflict. I like the complexity of good people who mean well, but disagree with the protagonist’s approach to the story problem. Actions usually aren’t completely and obviously right or wrong. My process of making these ‘antagonists’ human is the same as it is for any character. Even villains should be well-rounded, with good and bad qualities and desires we can understand, even if we think they’re wrong or evil.
6. What is your latest release? Who is the hero, heroine and or the villain? My novel, To Catch a Fox, is currently being released. The heroine, Julie Fox, is a Calgary engineer recovering from a psychotic breakdown. She travels to California to search for answers. The novel has no hero in the usual sense, but Julie’s estranged husband, Eric, comes closest to that role. He’s a decent man, who loves her, supports her quest and is spurred to help when he learns she has landed at a cult-like retreat that could mean trouble. The villain, Sebastiano, is a co-leader at the retreat. His plans for Julie threaten her mental health and best interests. But as the story develops the reader might come to see another story character as a greater villain.
7. What are you working on now? I’ve returned to my Paula Savard mysteries and have started book three in the series. But my experience with writing multiple narrators in To Catch a Fox has prompted me to try this form in my new mystery book. Rather than write the story entirely from Paula’s perspective, as I did the first two times, I’m adding two secondary narrators.
8. How can people find you?
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