I am continuing a series of interviews with writers from a Facebook group called Indie Writers Unite. The purpose of this group is to provide support and encouragement for each other and to have a chance to use other authors as sounding boards for questions or issues. This week I have the pleasure of interviewing Sue Owen, the author of “The Sword’s Journey (Chasing History, Book One)“.
Now let’s move on into the interview:
Where do you generally prefer to go when you write?
I only have one computer so I’m kinda stuck at my desk in my converted dining room. However, I have a view of the river running behind my apartments. That includes all kinds of birds and a beaver building his dam. So I consider it a pretty inspirational place to write.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I was minding my own business when I had this dream. The darn thing would not leave me alone. I had it night after night, progressing through this tale that just wouldn’t stop. I’d get bits and pieces of it. Finally I had to write it down. By the time I was done, I was 3/4 of the way through “The Sword’s Journey.”
Who is your favorite author?
Hands down Janet Evanovich. I’ve read everything she’s ever written. Her ability to add humor, above the top humor in some cases, to a story is beyond compare in my opinion. Hers are the only books I have ever wanted to read again and again.
Tell us three random things about yourself.
I have 10 grandkids ranging in age from 15 to 8.
I am a year into getting my PhD.
I live with my cat Isabelle.
What steps do you take in starting a new book?
I get ideas mostly from dreams or just random things people say. I write everything down. When I get a good idea I will start writing scenes. I’ll get three or four good scenes and begin thinking about how the rest of the book would go. What other things could happen to give interest to the book. Then I write a story line. “The Sword’s Journey” didn’t get a story line until page 200 or so. It was pretty much written before I forced myself to sit down and actually type it out. But after that, a storyline to me was invaluable. Keeps me on track and forces me to put in the elements of the story I know should be there but when I get to write that part I rethink it. I write much better if I don’t second guess myself!
Do you use a critique group or just trust your instincts?
I love everything I write so I ply my family and friends with my writings before I actually think about publishing anything. If they love it too, it moves forward. I’ve never tried asking strangers.
What is the best writing advice you ever received?
When I was struggling with a plot line and didn’t know where to go with it, I talked to my friend Amy. She said if it doesn’t further the story; if it isn’t moving the story foreword or adding value to it in some way, leave it out. She said 99% of the time when you struggle with something in the story, it’s because it simply doesn’t belong. Bury it, cry over its grave and move on. You both will be happier.
How many drafts do you usually have before deciding it’s done?
At least three. I always go full steam ahead and just write the story. Then go back and edit it myself. Then give it to someone else to edit then I edit it myself one more time. Even after I publish it sometimes I still do editing and republish.
What issues or challenges do you struggle with the most?
Time is my enemy. I work full time and I never have enough time to write. So I sneak time. I hate getting into an idea in my book only to have someone come over or the phone ring. So I’ll put it off until I know I will have some uninterrupted time to write. It’s like I need to immerse myself in their world in order to start serious writing and that takes time. Like this interview. I’ve put it off until 5am Saturday morning so I know I have time to devote to giving you honest and meaningful answers.
What is the most difficult challenge in putting your book together?
The cover. By far the cover. I’m still struggling with the cover of “The Sword’s Journey.” Look for a new one soon. I know the cover is the most important part of the book and it has to be right. However, I’m no artist so it is hard for me to tell someone who is designing it for me what I want. I just know when I see it, it’s right. It took me almost as long to find the cover as it did to write the book and I’m still not happy with it! Love the book tho!!!
© 2011, Steven R. Drennon. All rights reserved.
Filed under: Interviews