Sunday, March 30, 2014

BLOG TOUR - The Writing Process

Welcome to a Blog Tour where authors answer questions about their writing. I've been tagged by Casey Hays the author of Breeder, a fantastic new dystopian series!

What am I currently working on?

I am currentyly chipping away at the fourth and final book in The Woodlands Series. It's an interesting predicament to be in. As I don't write with any outline, I now find myself trying to pull it all together. I don't doubt I can do it but it is complicated, particularly because I refuse to start writing with an outline now. The final book may be really long but that's cool since I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to the characters and the world I've created.

How does my work differ from others of it genre?

I'll let you in on a little secret, The Woodlands was under consideration at a very pretigious literary agency that had signed some of the major YA novels of the past five years (think vampire saga). I was super excited. However, the agent wanted me to revise my manuscript so that my main character was 'sufficiently brainwashed'. Therefore when she met the male protagonsist she would have a 'sudden' change of heart about buying into the whole Woodlands philosophy. I couldn't do it. My MC is a rebel right from the start and that's one thing that sets her apart from some of the mainstream dystopians. She is also of mixed race, non-white background which seems to be a rarity amongst the currently popular dystopians.

Why do I write what I write?

I write how I feel or felt or how I might have felt if I were held captive by a controlling govermment hell bent on creating a 'raceless' race. I don't necessarily have a passion for dystopians or any other genre, I just had an idea and ran with it, incorporating as many real life situations into my dystopian future to bring it back down to earth. The scope of any book is endless.

How does my individual writing process work?

I write all over the place. Usually, I might start at the beginning but quickly find myself dwelling on scenes I feel will happen in the middle or towards the end of the book. Because I can't get them out of my system, I write them down first. I then spend my time writing all the events that lead up to those pivotal scenes. I write very fast and end up with a manuscript that I would call 'bonesy'. I go over the whole thing from start to finish, adding in extra descriptions, correcting story inconsistencies and making sure the baby doesn't disappear from someone's arms midway through a scene (it's happened a lot).

Thanks for reading about my writing process. Now it's someone else's turn. Jon Messenger and Erica Kiefer, tag, you're it! Look out for their posts in the week of starting the 7th April.

Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps.  Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq and a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti.  Jon wrote the "Brink of Distinction" trilogy, of which "Burden of Sisyphus" is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.

Erica Kiefer was born on Christmas Eve in Southern California to an American father whose ancestors arrived from Europe during colonial times and a Thai mother who moved to the US during high school. Adding to her rich and varied heritage, Erica grew up living abroad in Asia, including Taiwan, Fiji, Thailand and Indonesia. She gained a great respect for the beautiful mosaic of cultures found in various parts of the world. After graduating from International School Bangkok, she attended Brigham Young University in Utah, where she earned a degree in Recreation Therapy. Her career as a Recreation Therapist has allowed her to work with at-risk youth since 2007.
Erica made the best decision of her life by marrying her husband in 2005 and is currently a mother of three, one of whom awaits her in heaven. Erica also loves singing, reading, writing, and satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies. Playing collegiate rugby was one of the most memorable experiences of her life, thus far.
Erica’s first book is titled Lingering Echoes, which was published by Clean Teen Publishing in November, 2013. Her newest release titled Rumors, was released in late December 2013 and is a prequel novella to Lingering Echoes. Borrowed Angel is Erica’s first nonfiction work about her experiences with grief and healing over losing her infant son.

Monday, March 3, 2014

You are a super woman, but you can't do it all.

You are Superwoman. Whatever needs doing, you can do it. Someone's tugging on your sleeve asking for you to help with colouring, yes of course you can do that. Dinner needs to be cooked, yeah you've got that handled. Someone rings because a bill is over due, let me just rearrange some funds and get back to you. Oh and work, you can squeeze that in too. You have it all... you can do it all, right?

Hang on, there's still someone hanging off your sleeve asking for help. Damn it. You forgot, but you're Superwoman. You can do this, it's easy.

And anyway... you've got no one else to blame but yourself. You chose this life. You should be able to manage it. And if you can't you have priotitise and cut something loose right? You can do that. You make the hard decisions everyday. You're Superwoman, save the the baby rolling across the road in a pram or save the old lady about to fall into a manhole. What am I talking about? You have superspeed. You can do both!

If you get in the car and it's on empty, just hold your breath and you'll get to school. And when you get there you'll workout a way to turn lunchbox leftovers into petrol. Because you're Superwoman.

Feeling tired? Just drink coffee. Stay away from kryptonite It'll be ok. You slept a few nights ago, you can get by. People need you. You save people. You get things done in record time. You don't need help, no one's offering anyway. You can do this on... your... own.

Where were you? At the shops, harried, with a screaming toddler hanging off one arm and a useless list, you haven't even glanced at, in your other hand. You can't remember what you came to get, only that now your trolley is full of ten jars of peanut butter and a frying pan. But you're Superwoman, you can cram it all in your brain. Don't let the cracks show. And if you forget something you'll just have to go back and embarrassingly pay with a handful of five cent coins you 'borrowed' from your kids moneybox.

And don't forget to take care of your body. You need to look good. You need a flat stomach, long legs, and toned arms. You're Superwoman, you have an image to protect. You can just fit that in while you're on the toilet or shoving leftover toast crusts in your mouth on the way out the door in the morning. You've got it covered.

The big one wants attention, the little one is hungry, tired and screamy all at once. The middle one is shouting at you because her hearing is bad and damn it, did you remember to call the specialist? Did you remember to call the dentist about the sore tooth that the big one complained about a month ago? Yes you did, but then you had to cancel. And somewhere in there, don't you have a partner? A relationship to maintain? You need to remember these things, you're Superwoman, Superwoman doesn't forget things.

Maybe if you could fly you could get it all done. Maybe you could fly away... But no that makes you a bad person, doesn't it? Wanting to escape, even if it's just for a few minutes.

You're Superwoman.


Suddenly you've shrunk to one tenth your size because there are ten little yous running around trying to be everything to everybody and if one more person asks you for something you might actually be stretched so thin that you disappear into a puff of smoke.

Superwoman, this is what I want you to do. This is what I need you to do: Take a step back. Give yourself permission to snap, scream into a pillow and cry your eyes out. It's ok. It's not the end of the world. And the people who love you will understand. Hell, hopefully they'll hold the punching bag while you get it out of your system. They're super too. They can hold that bag with their super strength while you super punch that bitch til' it bursts.

The idea of protecting yourself can be seen as selfish but if you can't, you can't. You're not a bad person. You're human and you need to give yourself a break.