Complimenting my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the thirty-seventh, is of paranormal / humour romance suspense / thriller author Chris Redding.
Chris lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids and various animals. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for her local hospital. Her books include ‘A View to a Kilt’, a humorous romantic suspense and the explosive thriller ‘Blonde Demolition’.
And now from the author herself and her crazy, wonderful writing life (her words :)):
When I set out to write this post, you’d think it would be easy. I’m a writer so just write.
The problem lies in the fact that this post will require more introspection than I’m used to. I’m just not that deep. I like Austin Powers movies and puns. Really.
And I write genre fiction, not literature. I wish I could even say I was a writer living in a garret on coffee and cigarettes.
Nope. Not that exciting. I’m just a mom and wife who writes when she can and is trying to balance it all.
I do love to write. I don’t plot. I’m fascinated by people who do. How can you write the story when you already know the ending? For me, the adventure is in getting there, even though I’m not always sure where “there” is when I begin a story. I feel it leaves me more creative.
Now anyone who knows me would think I plot. I’m uber-organized. I’m often given tasks my organizations because I am so organized. I have a spreadsheet for Christmas presents. I mark them in red when they are bought. Yeah, I know. A little OCD.
No plotting my novels.
I grew up in a chaotic household. The hyper organization is a result of trying to control my world. Wow, that was kind of deep. Sorry, but it’s true. The not plotting is my last nod to the chaos that was my childhood. In the beginning of my adulthood and in my teen years, I embraced the chaos. It was all I knew. Then as I matured, I realized how great being organized was. The creative part of me didn’t cotton onto this. It stayed unorganized.
So there it is.
I liken watching me write, or what’s going on in my head when I’m writing, with watching Bode Miller ski. He skis without finesse, as fast as he can, and is one nanosecond away from a fall, but he manages to reach the bottom of the hill. Same with me. I careen here and there, but manage to put together a cohesive book.
At least several publishers have thought so.
That’s what second drafts are for. I was recently on a forum and someone mentioned they were going to try to be a plotter. Now, I think you can no more change how you write than you can change your basic personality. It may be that the writer wasn’t really a pantser in the first place. I advised them to remember that second drafts are for cleaning up things in the manuscript. I’d be lost without a second draft.
That comes to another point. I write more than one draft. I could not be one of those people who are writing right up to the deadline for a manuscript. Nope. The story needs to be done ahead of time and I have to let it sit for a month before I can realistically look at its flaws and where I need to fix them. This might make it harder, but I don’t trust my writing enough to do it any other way.
People often ask me what I am working on now. Sometimes I can tell them. Sometimes the project is too fragile in my mind for me to reveal it. I’m honest with them, that I am not ready to talk about it yet.
Right now I am writing lectures for a workshop I’m am unveiling next year. Yes, writers do many things.
I like to keep the money flowing in and since I don’t know what the magic bullet is to see my books on the NY Times list, I do other things.
I’ve been a CPR instructor for close to 18 years. I like to teach. My inaugural workshop was Show Up Naked: Writing the Male POV. I had written an article for my local RWA chapter’s newsletter. The article was then picked up by other newsletters. The subject came to the attention of the owners of www.writersonlineclasses.com who had worked with me a few years before at another RWA chapter. They asked me to expand it into a workshop. So I did.
Why I never thought about teaching before is beyond me. Since then I’ve developed Layering: Not Just for Cakes and Lights! Camera! Bestseller!
I’ve had fun doing it and the checks you get at the end of the workshop are the best.
I also think it keeps my writing brain limber. I learn something each time I teach a workshop so I benefit also.
At this point, I have 6 books published. Four of them are available in print. I don’t have anything else in the pipeline and that scares me. My goal is to write these workshops, write the curriculum for the two offline courses I’ll be teaching in the Spring then come January I will finish one of my works in progress.
I think I’ve decided on which one. It will be another thriller like Blonde Demolition. I enjoy writing them because they are fun and interesting. I know if I get bored during the writing process, it means the reader will get bored also. Then I need the plot to twist around and I have renewed energy to finish the book.
At the beginning of they year, I dabbled in a middle grade novel. I haven’t given up on it; just put it on the back burner. I’ve had 3 books released this year by traditional publishers, A View to a Kilt, Incendiary, and Blonde Demolition. I’ve been a little busy between editing and promoting.
Not that I am complaining. This is what I’ve wanted to be doing since I was ten years old.
What will 2012 bring? New workshops. I hope new contacts. I’d like to get at least one more book out next year. I’m teaching several places online including www.savvyauthors.com. I’m teaching a Jointure for Adult Education Class and a continuing education class for the local community college.
Wow, I’m tired just thinking about it all.
Morgen: I have a spreadsheet for pretty much anything but you’re a step ahead of me with Christmas presents! 🙂 Thank you Chris.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with contemporary novelist Trisha Ashley – the one hundred and seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords.