Recently, I was invited to join a touring group. No, we’re not singing and playing music. But we are sharing a bit about ourselves as writers and then shamelessly promoting our writing. Our answering the four questions below will give you some idea who we are as writers and why we pound these silly keys over and over again. Hang on. Here we go.
What am I working on?
Currently, I have just published Book One: Where It Began, of the Accidents of Birth trilogy and am now putting the finishing touches on Book Two: Where It Went and Book Three, Where It Ended. The trilogy deals with the conundrum that though our biological lives take shape in the womb, the major influence determining our fate is the happenstance of where and to whom we’re born. It follows the relationship of Imogene Ware, an unschooled, quirky black housekeeper from a freed slave enclave called Small Town, and Katie Gayle Sutton, a child prodigy in Mrs. Imogene’s charge who lives in an abusive household, white and well-to-do, in the rural Mississippi town of Ellensburg amid the politically and racially charged last half of the 20th century. It was my first experience of writing in dialectic and across racial lines.
How does my work differ from others in my genre?
Placing my work in a genre has always been a challenge for me. Since one’s choices are limited to what are provided by the publisher, you have to fit into their view of the world. Where I finally placed myself is in Literary fiction, not because of my skill as a writer but because that genre allows for a greater variation of themes and stories. Thus since this group represents a rather electric range of topics and approaches, difference from each other is more by degree of ability and cleverness of theme. Where I might stand apart is in preferring first person point of view rather than the more popular third person and wrapping my stories specifically around some aspect of the human condition. My first novel, Suffer the Little Children, examined the question: What is it we do that drives our children from us? My second, Dying to Know, attempts a new answer to the question: Is there another way to understand health and well-being? And what I explored in the trilogy is what unconditional love looks and acts like.
Why do I write what I write?
I have spent my entire adult life exploring the human condition. As a young person, I saw something strange going on, which I just couldn't leave alone. What I saw was that we live our lives saying one thing and acting out the exact opposite with no awareness that is what we are doing. Thus began a lifelong interest in the human condition and the “big questions:” who are we, what are we and why are we here. So naturally my novels reflect, through the characters and stories, some aspect of the human condition I want to explore further. I would like my work to hold the reader in the story by what they can come to understand about themselves through the struggles and triumphs of the characters.
How does my writing process work?
It differs based on what I am writing. The historical novel I’m I've been working on takes a more organized outline because of having to stay true to dates, times and what was going on then. But in most of my books, I have a sense of the story arc, where the character starts out and where they need to end up. I have a title that catches the essence of the work. Then I just let it flow the way the story would naturally unfold were the character a real live person living out this set of circumstances. I can’t stand outlines.
Thanks for touring along with me. Now you will have the opportunity to see how other writers I know create the works they do:
David Atkinson was born in Sunderland UK and now lives in Yorkshire with a love for the Japanese culture and especially haiku. He has six self-published novels and one volume of poetry, and also cooks delicious sounding recipes. If you visit him ever, make sure it’s around supper time!
Bert Carson is an Alabama boy whom I love to pieces. And bless him, he offered to be one of my “tags” for this tour. He has five published novels across several genres but all with the underlying theme of doing the right thing. Thus his characters become people the reader would love to emulate. A Vietnam vet, his stories are usually touched by that experience directly or flavored by it indirectly. He has much wisdom to share on war and life which his novels reflect.
Jim Ainsworth is a Texan through and through. He’s contemplative about life and thoroughly enamored of the land and history of Texas. An award-winning author, he’s written non-fiction, a memoir, and six works of fiction. In his words, “I try to figure out where we are going by connecting the past to the present and future through writing novels.”
All are fine writers and interesting people. Check them out.