Interview With F. Stone: Conversations with my characters.

  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Fifteen years ago, I experienced an out of body event. Not my first, but that one shook me to my core. I started to write about it hoping the effort would quiet the recurring memory. It didn’t. Ten pages soon became fifty. Then two hundred. Then it occurred to me that I was writing a novel.

  1. How long does it take you to write a book?

Until it’s perfect. That could mean a week, or years.

  1. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

What? There’s supposed to be a schedule. No one told me about that. The fact is, I can skip meals, sleep, even dental appointments when my creative gene is fired up and on a roll. However, I never miss dress shopping or having lunch with friends.

  1. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have conversations with my characters – and they answer. When I’m deep in the writing zone, I can feel their presence. Yes, it is odd. I still have control over the story, but it flows so much more smoother if I allow their voice, their passion to blend in with developing the structure of the story. Symbiosis comes to mind.

  1. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I’ve spent a lot time wondering the same thing. Sometimes I wonder if God has inspired me to write. Or, maybe the characters are real entities in another dimension who beckon me to tell their story. The one thing I do know. It’s magical.

  1. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

You’d have to swear to secrecy. Too old, LOL.

  1. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

It would be easier to list what I don’t do. I love adventure, to be challenged physically, mentally and spiritually. I study Shamanism. I’ve won awards for my needlework. Watercolor painting has become my latest challenge. I’ve raced snowmobiles and have many trophies. My husband and I travelled the world and rafted down the Shotover River in New Zealand. I’m most at peace when sitting in silence in my Rocky Mountains, Jasper, Alberta

  1. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I learned that I write better if I shut off my ego and let the characters tell the story.

  1. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I started writing my first, The Guardian’s Wildchild, in 2000. It was not my intent to publish it. Then my dear husband, and very critical reader, said it was good. I took a couple of years off to learn how to write. In 2011, Omnific Publishing bought the rights. I still love that novel. I thought I could get my life back after that. Within two months after TGW was on Amazon, Forbidden became an obsession. It’s my finest work, so far.

  1. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

There is no simple answer unless you were born under the ‘writer’s gift’ star. Write as much as possible, even if it’s just to please yourself. It’s like a muscle. The more you use it, then inspirations, visions, wording and phrases will begin to follow you throughout the day and in your dreams. You’ll begin to recognize what pieces add to the story and what is just useless fluff. You may love the fluff, but if it doesn’t move the story forward, it’s garbage.

Be prepared to receive criticism. Take classes in a group setting (it’s amazing how much you learn from each other). Join a writer’s group (on line and in the flesh). The writer’s group I highly recommend is IWSG – Insecure Writers Support Group.

Writing a novel is the hardest work I’ve done. I’ve worked as a paramedic which required me to be brave, strong, controlled, resourceful, intelligent, compassionate, and know when to tell a biker to “F off.” But writing has been ten times harder.

The best advice I can give is this. “Never friggin give up!”

  1. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

One of the best reviews I received for The Guardian’s Wildchild stated, “You took me to a place I’ve never been before.” I floated about for days. The reviews for Forbidden have been ‘over the moon’ amazing. I’m so thrilled when a reader loves my books. Here is the most recent review of Forbidden.

ByVicki Goodwinon June 8, 2017

Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase

What a thrill a minute ride this book takes you on. The characters are futuristic and totally awesome. I loved that times had allowed for more freedom for women. I kept following the story and each time I would think it was getting to the conclusion I drew, it would slam-bang me into another direction.

The love story part was really well told and I was happy with the relationship of these two different people. I found this to be a creative and unique storyline that kept me intrigued and on pins and needles.

  1. What do you think makes a good story?
Omega, Forbidden

Fascinating characters are a must – all of them. Even unforgettable. You must learn what makes a character breathe down a reader’s neck. They can carry a bad plot, even poor editing. If the reader falls in love with the hero / heroine, you’re half way to a best seller. My advice is to following instructions from Writers Helping Writers.

  1. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to escape the farm. My father worked from sun up to past sun down 365 days a year. He loved it. I didn’t. It’s quite amusing to realize that as an author I work 365 days a year, all hours day and night. Fate has an odd sense of humor.

  1. What would you like my readers to know?

I want you to know that there is a story that hasn’t yet been written – but you must write it. Every one of you. The story? The characters are unique. The plot is full of twists and turns, ranging from glorious moments to struggles that defy belief. And the title on the cover is YOUR NAME.

Yes, it’s your autobiography. And the best part is there will be no muse directing the story and no editor telling you to delete, delete, delete. You are free from any writing rules or expectations.

Let me explain. Many years ago I began to study my ancestor’s history. Thanks to the internet I had access to records dating back hundreds of years. I became a voracious hunter of even the most minute details. Tracking my lineage was relatively easy. Dates of birth, marriage, death, and sometimes addresses and occupations helped define the lives and struggles of my distant relations. But, like an addict, I wanted more.

Then a wedding photograph of my Great Great Great Aunt in England flipped up on my screen. The thrill sent me on an all-consuming search for their story. I found a few letters.

Tears of rapture filled my eyes. My history began to take shape. My lineage, all that brought me to have my amazing life, formed a map outlining my DNA and probably more than I can conceive.

And yet, I wanted more. I wanted to know about their dreams, failures, defeats, passions. What mattered to each of them? Did they have regrets? What were their darkest thoughts? What brought them to their knees?

I suppose, at the time of managing their daily chores, they would not have thought of their life as not interesting. They wouldn’t have known that if their autobiography had surfaced, I would have fallen to my knees and blessed their bones. I would have cried their name and asked God to give them eternal peace. I would have wept.

This is why, my dear readers, you must write your story. Someone in the future will grasp your manuscript and know he/she has a treasure. If you are an author, write your autobiography. If you have not written anything, write your autobiography. Put it in safe keeping.

One more thing. After writing your autobiography you may awaken a passion that has, so far, remained silent. You may become a best-selling author.

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#IWSG: Standing in the Storm

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: My favorite group of authors.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!
Co-Hosts:

JH Moncrieff
Madeline Mora-Summonte
Jen Chandler
Megan Morgan
Heather Gardner 

Since the death of my dear husband exactly three months ago, I have been standing in an unrelenting storm. To bank managers, government officials, lawyers, I create a facsimile of strength and tolerance for change. Day by day, meeting after meeting, legal documents and sympathy cards, have driven home the message that I will have to change or the storm will wear me down to become a fragile and incompetent old woman.

In some respects, the storm is still raging. My center is gone. Making decisions has been terrifying. Sometimes, I can’t decide on anything. I wonder, how can I write again. Do I want to write?

Then miracles, those ‘oh my god’ events, gave me hope. Last month I asked for help in getting one hundred reviews for Forbidden. Many of you requested a copy of Forbidden and then posted incredible reviews. Thank you so very much. You made my heart sing.

Recently, Cheryl Masciarelli (CMash Reads), because she loved Forbidden so much, asked if I would agree to being the Author of the Month on her blog. Forbidden will be front and center, avec interviews and guest posts each June 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and June 29th.

And, she encouraged me to feature Forbidden on the Partners in Crime blog starting June 19th to July 7th. Watch this blog for dates and location of interviews, guest posts, giveaways. Doing the happy chicken dance.

 

I think the main challenge for me is to accept I am going to be different in the months ahead. It is frightening. Most days, I feel like I’m still standing in the storm. And yet, there’s a hint of exhilaration.  There may be damage and turmoil, but also a possibility of resurgence of energy and freshness.

Blessings, everyone.

 

IWSG: My Anal Brain #IWSG

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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

 

The awesome co-hosts for the February 1 posting of the IWSG are

 

February 1 Question: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

 

My experience is mixed. Reading isn’t as much fun as it used to be.

Prior to my life as a writer, I read mostly non-fiction – adventures of explorers, saturated my brain with new age stuff like books on meditation, philosophy, Buddhism, etc. On trips to exotic beaches, I’d read a few titillating romance novels, hoping no one would catch me blushing.

Now, while expanding the range of my preferred reading genres, there are so many novels that I can’t read to the last page. Errors in novels stand out like a glowing neon sign. It interrupts my focus on the plot and characters. If there are too many errors, or poor construction of the plot, or shallow characters, it spoils the reading experience. My critiquing brain does not turn off. Even while reading a very well written novel, part of my brain is on the hunt for spelling errors or a misplaced comma. Yep. Pretty anal!

The good side of having an over-achieving critique brain is I discover what works, and what kills a story. And I’m ever so grateful for my editor.

PS: Thank you to all you wonderful people who participated in my Thunderclap event. I was blessed with 154 supports, with a combined reach of 411,732.

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#IWSG: MasterClass by James Patterson

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/
http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

What is IWSG?  Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the September 7 posting of the IWSG will be  C. Lee McKenzie,Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata!

#IWSG: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?  My day is divided up into four time frames. Morning is writing and marketing. Afternoon, I take care of chores, all the while thinking about tag lines, book covers, dialogue. Evenings, I read and review novels, all the while comparing another author’s technique and style with mine. Night time, hoping to be overtaken by exhaustion and sleep, my thoughts churn out more tag line possibilities and mentally edit paragraphs or entire chapters.

How do I find time to write? Often I wish I could turn it off. Where’s that friggin off switch.

jamespatterson-creditsuesoliepattersonMASTERCLASS – James Patterson’s Writing Class

A few weeks ago I signed up for the MasterClass – James Patterson Teaches Writing. Paid my $90 USD and began to download the lesson pdf’s and watch videos of James Patterson’s tip on writing. On the plus side, he was entertaining and shared a lot of his techniques and tips from the idea concept all the way through to marketing.  He clearly states that his way is not the only way. It’s the way that works for him.

In other words, we each need to find our own way.

He stresses the need for practice. Write every day. He’s missed only one day – attended his son’s graduation. Read and write. Practice, practice, practice. He also emphasized doing research on everything. And, when you think a chapter is done, cut out everything that doesn’t need to be there, adds no value, doesn’t move the plot or characters along. Be ruthless.

One point that he stressed as a ‘no option’ for authors’ is the importance of writing out an outline, edit and rewrite until the outline ‘feels’ complete. Even so, his final manuscript is often different from what had been planned in the outline, including the ending.

One of the features that encouraged me to pay for this class was I could ask a question and receive a response via his OFFICE HOURS page. I did ask one question and got a reply that he was too busy to respond to all questions. One of his staff would email a response. I never got that email. Perhaps because I don’t  have a webcam or smartphone, my written query was not noticed.

I’m not sorry that I took the course. It was entertaining. Much of what he suggests, I already do or know. I did get to join the facebook CLOSED James Patterson MasterClass Group.  Perhaps there’ll be members who will become my favorite mentors. Stay positive.

JAMES PATTERSON TEACHES WRITING 2

WEBCAM OR SMARTPHONE

Feather Stone – more stone today than feather.

Record and upload questions and comments for James to his Office Hours page here (link).

Now I feel pretty stupid for  thinking that Mr. Patterson would actually respond to my inquiry – a question about limiting a novel’s word count (< 90,000) to suit the criteria of most publishers.

WEP: Gardens – A Flower Bed of Characters

 

WEP

WRITE, EDIT, PUBLISH

Denise and Yolanda:  Welcome to Write…Edit…Publish (WEP), the home of the permanent bloghop. You are welcome to submit any of the following – flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction or playscripts to a designated word count– artwork and photographs welcome. Open to all genres! Fiction – Adult, YA, MG.

The Gardens prompt is all about creativity. What picture comes to mind when you hear the word ‘garden’ – the spectacular beauty of carefully landscaped tiers – the fresh delights of a new snowfall on frozen branches – or the haunting beauty of shadows and wilted plants at dusk on a fall night.

gardens olga

 

 Feather Stone:  “Welcome to my garden characters.”

Gardens invite more than simply quiet contemplation. Being a writer, I have discovered that I’m very conscious of the ‘character’ of each plant, where it should be placed, ensuring its special qualities add beauty to its companions – and vice versa.

I’ve noted that any plant, even small non-blooming shrubs look spectacular when accompanied by contrasting foliage, bird bath, or interesting rockery – the key is contrast in color, texture, shape, and/or ‘mood.’ The secondary characters in my writing play a vital role in making the main characters glow with unforgettable brilliance. It stands to reason that even ‘also ran’ characters in a scene require special attention to shaping their personality, stature, reputation, etc.

Thank you for visiting my garden. It would be so special if we could physically pop into everyone’s garden for a chat today, and share each other’s wisdom and experiences. Even so, these virtual friendship are wonderful, meeting so many amazing people from places I could never visit. Blessings to all.

 

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 Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.
–  Alfred Austin

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Gardening is medicine that does not need
a prescription … And with no limit on dosage.
–  Author unknown

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A garden always gives back more than it receives.
–   Mara Beamish

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The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic,
always enterprising, and never satisfied.  They always look forward to doing
something better than they have ever done before.
– Vita Sackville-West, 1892 – 1962

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He who cultivates a garden, and brings to perfection flowers and fruits
cultivates and advances at the same time his own nature.
–  Ezra Weston, 1845

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Gardens are not created or made, they unfold, spiraling open
like the silk petals of an evening primrose flower to reveal the
ground plot of the mind and heart of the gardener
and the good earth.
–  Wendy Johnson, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, 2000

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A garden is the mirror of a mind.  It is a place of life, a mystery of green
moving to the pulse of the year, and pressing on and pausing the whole
to its own inherent rhythms.
–   Henry Beston, 1935, Herbs and the Earth

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One of the most delightful things about a garden
is the anticipation it provides.
–   W. E. Johns

 

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When gardeners garden, it is not just plants that grow,
but the gardeners themselves.
–   Ken Druse

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

You’ll enjoy meeting the many other great gardeners participating in this WEP blog hop.

http://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.ca/2016/08/wepff-wep-flash-fiction-gardens.html

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