. . .Welcome to my wee slice of Romance Weekly. Here are my responses to this week's jackpot questions:
How do you find the appropriate setting for the story or does it find you?
Most of my paranormals are set in Scotland, so I suppose you could say the setting finds me. I'm a nut for all things Scottish and Celtic myth, so I tend to look for different Scottish locales in which to set the books. Other settings also come into play. The Queen of Swords, for example, is set in a fictitious village in County Essex, England, called Wickenham. The hero's castle is on the Black Isle and there are flashbacks to Ireland, London, Paris, and Singapore. In The Knight of Wands, the story starts out in Caithness, the northernmost part of Scotland, then shifts to New Orleans. In book two, which I'm writing now, the story starts out in Nairn and moves to the fantasy world. I've got another work-in-progress set in the Hebrides. The only book so far not set in Scotland is The Tin Man, my political thriller, which is scheduled for release by CHBB on August 30. The hero is an ex-pat Scot, so he has memories of growing up in Edinburgh, but the book is about American liberties, so I set it in landmark places here: New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. To me, the setting is almost a character in the story and I therefore try to immerse the reader in the location. I've read several books set in Scotland that could have been set anywhere except for the clans and the castle keeps. I really try to give readers a feel for where they are in my books.
What is your system of support for writing? Family, friends, other writers?
My family is supportive of my writing, but doesn't want to hear the minutia of my day to day struggles with putting words on the page, so I'd have to say other writers. For a while, I used a writing coach to help me hone my craft, but now I've got a wonderful critique partner who reads my stuff and tells where when it's going off the rails. I also have beta readers who react to stuff and a street team to cheer me up when I feel discouraged on the promoting end of things.
What is the worst writing advice you ever received and how did you deal with it?
I had to give this one some thought. I got a load of bad advice from one well-meaning editor: dumb down my writing to appeal to a wider audience, stop writing the book I was working on because nobody would want to read it, write to trends, consider self-publishing. In hopes of getting a contract with that particular publisher, I did simplify my next book and shelve my WIP, but it still wasn't right for them. Sigh. I'm planning to resurrect that abandoned WIP as soon as I finish the book I'm writing now.
Time to move on to the next writer in the circle to see what she has to say in response to this week's questions. So, I give you another lover of Scotland, Amy Jarecki.