This week’s guest is author Linda Bradley. She gives us some insight into her writing process and inspiration.
Please enjoy this week’s edition of A Perfect 10
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing doesn’t exhaust me. I find the act of writing similar to the act of exercising. Some days I may have to fight my way through the process, but when I’ve reached my goal it feels great. The sense of accomplishment aides in getting on with the day’s tasks and a good night’s sleep.
Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?
No, I don’t. I have considered it, but decided to write under my given name. I’m not sure why, but I do have a pseudonym tucked away should I want to write in another genre someday.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?
To be honest, I never really thought about it before. I suspect that one’s ego can temper the quality of the writing. There’s a fine line between ego and instinct. I think a writer needs to listen to their instincts when it comes to applying the blanket of editing after listening to critique. I believe creativity is fed by ego. There’s a need for self expression and visibility. Perhaps, ego is the secret ingredient in respects to completing the writing process successfully.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Books written by successful writers that note their journeys and offer writing advice to fellow authors. Two of my favorites are Stephen King’s, On Writing and Alan Watt’s, the 90-day novel.
What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?
Teaching elementary school full time consumes most of my days, so writing comes later and sometimes in the wee hours of the night. Writing has called to me for much of my life and now that my own boys are grown, I can devote more of myself to the process. I have several manuscripts on the shelf and who knows if they’ll ever turn into printed pieces, but the fact that I wrote and published my Montana Bound Series in a three-year time frame encourages me to strive for new goals. With retirement on the horizon, it excites me to know that I’ll be able to give more to this dream that has become tangible. With the gift of time, positive reviews, and support from the people who matter most, I believe I’ve been successful thus far.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?
Before beginning a new book, the story line in question has been seeded in my brain for quite some time. I tend to mull over ideas and plots that continue to pop up. The research that helps me the most is actually going to the place where the story is set. I find that talking to people and experiencing the surroundings foster my understanding for lifestyles I don’t necessarily share with the characters I create. I usually have an image in my mind of the main character’s appearance. At this stage of planning, I utilize the internet to find photos that fit the descriptions of all my characters. From there I print out images of people, animals, and places to help me construct character bibliographies. Depending on the nature of the book, I’ll pull articles or books to research details and history.
How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?
Names usually pop into my head before I begin a storyline. I’m not sure where they come from. If a name doesn’t resonate with me, I don’t use it. At this point, there are no names I’ve regretted using.
What is the hardest type of scene to write?
The hardest scene to write is the scene where key events need to be connected, but I don’t want to give away too much detail because it’s needed later in the book. Balancing information within the read is crucial to keeping the reader hooked.
If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?
I’ve always been fascinated with Hemingway so I think I’d invite him. He roomed across the street from my grandparents and my mother, so I’d invite them, too. I’d ask them all about the time period that they coincided in the same neighborhood and how they viewed the world. I’d want to know what Hemingway was working on at that time and hear about his travels. For some reason, I think my mother would lead conversation as she was excellent at conversation. She was a natural born historian and the fact that we could all share the same table and share stories of Michigan fascinate me.
What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?
My first book came out in June 2015 and I’m not sure which platform has been most successful. Most of the time, I feel as if I’m still learning. I believe that appearing on blogs, posting to social media regularly, and traveling to places where readers show interest in my work along with attending luncheons and book clubs are all necessary parts of marketing. Readers like to meet authors and are curious about the process. They usually ask me how much of my work stems from personal experiences. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s to never underestimate word of mouth.
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