By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner
My blog has been too quiet lately and I’m making it a goal to blog more frequently. With that in mind, I thought I’d write about some of the most common questions I am asked when someone learns I am an author.
Where do you get your ideas?
I love listening to people tell stories and about their view of the world. With that in mind, I am always storing away ideas or nuggets for future use. Many times, someone will tell me a story, and I think to myself, “Wow, that would make a great novel.” I then spend a few minutes envisioning how I’d weave the tale before reminding myself I won’t have time for years!
I also scour research books for interesting events that occurred during the time my novels occur and that will often lead to a scene or a chapter. Sometimes all it takes is a line in a book and I will extrapolate from there.
I also read a wonderful article by one of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon, recommending that as an author, I should envision the worst thing that could happen to my character (other than death, although that’s always an option for some of them), and then do it. I remembered that advice as I was writing Reclaimed Love, and I’ve been tormenting my characters a bit more each book since then.
What is your writing schedule like?
I write when I can. I write when I’m at a coffee shop waiting for a friend. I jot down notes on my phone when ideas come. I get up at 5 am to write a few hours before work or when I get home from work. The bulk of my writing occurs on the weekends, which has turned me into a bit of a hermit. I don’t write every day, but I am thinking about writing every day.
Do you plot or use an outline?
I used to take great pride in saying I didn’t plot or outline, and I don’t. However, I now wish I had a more systematic approach to my writing. The problem is that every time I make an outline and try to write to it or use it as a guide, my muse takes a nap. She believes that if it’s already plotted, it’s not all that interesting and thus she’d rather be in Fiji. Thus, I now make a detailed list of characters who’ll be in the book, ideas of things that might happen, what I need to research, etc, and then write whatever comes to me. It means a lot of wasted words, and I have to do a lot of editing to make sure there is good continuity, but it’s the only way I am able to write.
How do you come up with your character’s names?
Sometimes I’ll hear a really beautiful name and then envision a character. For most of my characters, I’ve used a “Victorian Era Names” webpage to help me determine names that would have been popular when my characters were born. The name most are curious about is Sophronia, although I think there’s another great name in store for you in Undaunted Love.
Do you really like to conduct research?
I love research. I will often preface a comment to my friends, “You know I’m a nerd…” and they know I’ll talk about something I learned in my research. I can’t wait to go to museums, read the stack of non-fiction research books by my bed for the next novel, or watch PBS specials. I have to restrict the number of research books I’ll buy because I’ve run out of bookshelf space numerous times!
Bonus: How long until the next book is out?
My goal for Undaunted Love, Banished Saga Book Three is May! I’m busy working with my cover designer, writing back cover copy and doing all the pre-publication things while it is with my proofreader. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Do you have any questions you’d like answered? Let me know and I’ll answer them in a future blog post!
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