Panster or Plotter
1. Are you a pantser or a plotter or perhaps a bit of both?
I’m a big-time pantser. I have no idea where I’m going beyond a vague idea of the overall motive or conflict. With a mystery, as I’m writing now, I know that it must be solved, and I may have that part worked out. Most, however, evolves as I write. This, of course, can lead to some frustration or “dead ends.” I just wrote one scene in my current work-in-progress three times before I thought I got it right. At the same time, the characters or events surprise me in ways I wouldn’t have considered had I plotted it out. I admire plotters who have a strong idea where they are going. They probably don’t experience most of the frustrations I have.
2. Which comes first - characters or plot for you?
In my current series with a young Sherlock Holmes, the characters had to come first. I knew he had a family (country squires), a brother, and a grandmother who was the sister of the French portraitist Vernet. I also had a good idea of Sherlock’s personality. Given that Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t provide more than what I’ve just listed, I had a pretty free reign to make up more about his family. Letting them run the story is just part of pantsing—as far as I’m concerned.
3. What are you working on now? Is this a book in a current series or something totally new?
I’m in the final production stages of Case Two: The Adventure of the Murdered Gypsy. It will be available for pre-order in May and will be published in late July/early August. I’m finishing Case Three: The Adventure of the Deceased Scholar with pre-orders scheduled for June and publishing in August/September. After that, I will be releasing my third volume of essays: The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes: Essays on Victorian England for October/November. In between all this, I have plans for one or two short stories—also related to Sherlock Holmes.
4. Do you have some kind of object or place that figures in most of your books? I use gems a lot, hospitals and caves.
I can’t recall a particular object or place, but in this current series—because it occurs in the mid-1800s—I throw in a lot about the medical and scientific discoveries of the time. Sherlock’s mother is a brilliant woman who had been hindered by Victorian standards for women. She would have become a medical doctor had she’d been allowed. She did study some in France and keeps up her knowledge by reading the latest scientific journals. All this she imparts to Sherlock. It’s interesting to see when certain practices (such as the idea of sterilizing hands or instruments before touching a patient) where recognized (if not widely used or accepted).
5. Do you write everyday or just when the spirit hits?
I retired in October and set a deadline for myself for finishing the third book in my series by this summer. I have truly disciplined myself to write everyday. A deadline helps a lot.
6. Where can we find you?
My books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple. I also provide links to each book on my Website: www.liesesherwoodfabre.com
7. Who are your favorite authors? What about a book you’ve enjoyed?
Oh dear, there are too many to list. I just finished Emma by Jane Austen. I have enjoyed Sherry Thomas’ Charlotte Holmes series as well. It’s fun to see how someone imagined Sherlock as a woman.