Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Do you know who you are as a writer?

Tour de Blog


Thanks to Calgary Mystery Author, Susan Calder, for tagging me in this round of blogs. The following questions are asked often. Writers are in many ways a fickle bunch swayed by their current plot, characters and writers' life situation.  Answering these questions and others (see list at the bottom) helps us solidify what the marketers out there call our brand. 

Long Walk Home - Photo: M. Hudgins


1) What am I working on right now?

My current writing project is the third book in the Caleb Cove Mysteries. The working title is Emily Martin Can't Go Home. I wrote the first 35,000 words (give or take) during 2014-July's NaNoRiMo Summer Camp. I am continuing writing encouraged my “Challenge Group” consisting of two other writers. My projected release date is December 2014. I have that goal, but the book will dictate when it is ready. My readers are mystery lovers who also may like Canadian content.


2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I'm not sure I differ hugely from others in the genre, which by the way is a mix of cozy, malice domestic and suspense. My setting is uniquely mine as I created it. However, it is an island off an eastern coast line which I'm sure someone else has used at some time in the past. Even with the same plot, no two writers will produce exactly the same book. Our unique experiences influence our characters and our personal voice flavors our stories.  In that we all differ one from the other.

3) Why do I write what I do?

My core theme is personal identity.  Finding out who I am is a life long search. I blame it on wishing that I was not the daughter of a small town Presbyterian minister. My characters suffer the same fate. However, they get to find out, at least in part, who they really are inside and out.
Mysteries have fascinated and entertained me. I’m drawn to complicated back stories that require uncovering the story behind the story. My reading included Nancy Drew, Mary Stewart, Agatha Christie and Dana Stabenow. On TV I like Bones or Castle. The bottom line: I enjoy  puzzles, relationships and satisfactory endings. So, that’s what I write.

4) How does my writing process work?

A news event, a scene out a bus window or a story someone tells me triggers an idea. I write a premise and collect the maybes and the what-ifs. My brain roars with ideas, some of which are actually useful. The ideas might sound crazy or impossible or mundane. It doesn't matter. At this stage, everything that pops into my head is recorded.

Later I review, compile and create a skeleton for the story. I flesh out the skeleton as I go, using either scene cards or a rough first draft. Although the back story is complex and recorded, the plot for the book is a loose plan. What I’m going to write is suggested, not written in stone, and changes as I layer my way through the book. Finally, I do a line edit, listen to it in Natural Soft Reader and present the (hopefully) final copy to my Beta Readers.

Are you a writer? Who are you, what do you write, when did you start, where is your writing haven, why do you write what you do and how do you survive the writer's life? 


  1. I think the more people discover the rich Canadian history the more interested they become in our lives. I am impressed by your ability to get so many words in such a short time. I love your mysteries.

    1. Canada is for some folks an exotic destination. Japanese, Germans, Austrians and Swiss are impressed with our wide, wide spaces. When I post my location information, I get a lot of hits from outside North America.

  2. Hi Mahrie, I'm also triggered by everyday events and "what if" situations. When that happens, the idea simply won't leave it. Exciting time! And like you, I also like to base my work in Canada. Thanks for another excellent post. Joanne :)

  3. Hi Joanne- thanks for stopping by. We'll get Canada on the writing map - one book at a time.

  4. Hi Mahrie, best of luck with your WIP and your publication goals. I agree with you that even if two writers have similar ideas for a book, the two finished books will look nothing alike since each author will color their tale with their own experiences and perspectives. That's why I never let a "similar book" stop me from writing a story.