Thank you for hosting me today on my blog tour for my newest novella, As Big As the Sky, my second book from MLR Press.
Today, I thought Iíd give you all a little peek into my writing process.
What part of a new story comes to you first? Characters? Plot? A scene? A theme? Or does it vary from book to book?
Itís usually a combination of the characters and plot, as well as the first three or four scenes. Iím a pantser, not a plotter, so beyond those first few scenes, I donít have a clue where my characters will lead me, but I do have a sense of the overall theme and direction. Itís just the journey to getting there thatís a mystery when I start writing a book.
Do you have a character in your head that you have yet to write a story for?
MANY! I have MANY characters that I have yet to write a story for. I have the first draft written in a planned trilogy set in Oregon, but I havenít written the second or third books yet, so those characters constantly rattle around in my head. Some of the secondary characters in this trilogy are also begging for a story.
Iíve recently been playing with the idea of an MC who owns a special needs animal farm. His name is Kit and heís a pretty feisty character who wonít leave me alone, so I imagine that will get written soon.
In As Big As the Sky, there are multiple references to Boís favorite web comic, Scythe and Swords. The concept for Scythe and Swords, believe it or not, came to me in a dream (no, Iím not kidding, and yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds). Scythe and Swords, as youíll find out in As Big As the Sky, is about a married demon-fighting duo: Elliot and James. I have been dying to write their story, but this would be a paranormal, probably a series of two or three books, and waaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone, so thereís much research and planning and at least some outlining to be done before I tackle it.
Do you take a break from a first draft to get distance from it, or dive right into editing, or edit heavily as you write?
I take a break. I give it at least a week, maybe more, and try not to think about it in the meantime. In fact, after I finish a first draft, I donít even go back and re-read the manuscript in full. I just call the first draft done, wipe my hands of it, put it out of my mind for a bit, and then come back to it for a deep self-edit.
However, I do edit as I write. Sometimes Iíll think of some concept or theme or character quirk or story plotline that I want to include, but it doesnít occur to me until Iíve already started writing. When that happens, I usually go back and edit where I need to while the idea is fresh in my mind instead of waiting until the editing phase.
Also, whenever I start my writing day, I always re-read the previous scene that I wrote, mostly to get myself in the right mindset, but also to look at the scene with fresh eyes to see what works and what doesnít and to, hopefully, spot any missed typos.
How do you choose names? If you decide to change a name, do you feel that it alters your perception of the character?
My charactersí names almost always come to me right away. A name that fits with their personality just pops up in my head (which is really nice, I must admit). I never look up what a particular name means, because thatís not as important to me as whether or not the name fits the character. If I ever did decide to change a characterís name (so far I havenít, barring secondary side characters), then yes, I imagine it would change my perception of their character.
What are you working on? What is next?
I have a 47,000-word novella contracted by MLR Press called Picture Winter. Itís probably my favorite of my books with MLR simply because I love the characters so much. Thereís no release date yet, but keep an eye on my website for updates.
That first draft of the trilogy I mentioned in question #2 needs a major revision, so Iíll be starting work on that before the end of the year.
I have a 15,000-word Christmas novella that was recently picked up by NineStar Press. Ballerina Dad will be released on December 11, 2017! Itís about a pro hockey player and a ballet teacher.
And in July I completed the first draft of an m/m sports romance featuring a flirty college hockey player who meets his match in a demisexual pro hockey player. Iím working on edits on this one right now since Iíve just received feedback from my alpha reader. Iím sort of in love with this story and these characters (is that bad to say about your own work?), and I really hope this story will see the light of day within the next year.
Sam wants nothing to do with his irresponsible, sarcastic neighbor…or does he?
Sam McAuley is having a rough start to the summer: Not only is he being sued, but the new guy running the animal rehabilitation center next door has no idea what heís doing and his runaway chickens constantly end up in Samís pristine yard.
Everything is temporary for Bo Novak. For as long as he can remember, itís been one town to the next, one school to the next, one job to the next. Even his current jobórunning his sisterís animal rehab center while sheís away on a four-month leaveóis temporary. And he does know what heís doing, thank you very much. Sure, things donít always run smoothly, but the stick-in-the-mud next door could be a little nicer about it.
August 4 – Xtreme Delusions
August 7 – The Geekery Book Review
August 8 – Bayou Book Junkie
August 9 – Millsy Loves Books, Cupcakes and Bookshelves
August 10 – MM Good Book Reviews
August 11 – Au Boudior Ecarlate, Sarandipity, Making It Happen
August 14 – Diverse Reader, Books Lovers 4Ever, Bayou Book Junkie, Nicole’s Book Musings, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews, Jessie G Books
August 15 – Love Bytes
August 18 – My Fiction Nook
Amy started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in the suburbs of Toronto, Amy is a marketer at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, Amy’s interests are many and varied, including travelling, astronomy, ecology, and baking.
Amy loves connecting with readers! You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter or sign up for her infrequent newsletter at www.amyaislin.com/signup