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Blog Hop: 4 questions about my writing process

March 10, 2014

Thanks to Susan Holmes, author of the Waterside Kennels Series, for inviting me to be part of this blog hop. In case blog hops are new to you (they were to me) every Monday a new set of authors blog about their writing process using a set group of questions. Follow the chain to learn about a ton of authors and how they write.  Now for the questions…

What am I working on?

When I finished Let Loose, Dusty Deals 4, I went back and forth on what to do next. One thing I’ve had on the hard drive for a while is a light paranormal mystery series about a mom who goes to work for a paranormal bounty hunter. I started the series WAY back when I was with my first agent and came “this” close to selling it to a major publisher. Unfortunately, the editor who was interested did not have the support of her house and my series was not to be. Anyway, it’s a fun story and I have about 20,000 words of it written, so…

But then, instead, I decided to write something else about Lucy. A number of people have asked for more showing her relationship with Peter and that is what I’ve decided to do. It’s a Valentine themed novella with Lucy and Peter heading off for a murder mystery weekend at a cabin in Seeley Lake, Montana. I hope to make it a fun shorter piece that fits into the series after Let Loose.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My mysteries are heavily influenced by books I’ve read and loved. Joan Hess, especially her Maggody series,  was always a favorite and I think you see that in the somewhat goofy humor I use. Susan Conant is an obvious inspiration for including Kiska. I adore her books and her obvious understanding and love of the Alaskan Malamute breed.

But, mine are different, because I am different. I think they have the standard elements of many cozy mystery and amateur sleuth novels, but they are often based on my own personal experiences and that is just, well, personal. I love dogs, Montana, grew up in an antiquing world where I did meet people like the relics trader in Loose Screw and went to auctions like the one in that book too. I lived in Rimini where Lucy lives and worked at the Helena Independent Record, Helena’s daily newspaper, like the one Lucy worked at. I’ve dreamed of owning an antique store and having a crazy best friend who brought out my better side. So my books are different because I am different and because I intensely love all of the elements in each of them. Writing them is like playing a fabulous game of make-believe where I get to revisit many of the things, people and places that I have loved in the past.

Other authors do this too, I’m sure… but they love different things and have different experiences… so our work differs! LOL.

Why do I write what I do?

I kind of answered this above, but if the question is why do this in a mystery format… it’s because mysteries, especially cozy mysteries, are built for including life elements about your characters. Cozy mysteries really are as much about the characters and things they like to do as they are about the mystery. I love that. I love creating characters.

How does my writing process work?

I am a plotter. This means I decide what the general flow of the story is going to be before I start writing. With a series, like the Dusty Deals Mystery Series,  I already know a lot about the main characters. So a lot of the character work I’d do for a new book isn’t needed. But I still need to figure out what Lucy’s issue/area of growth is going to be for the book. I usually declare that in the first sentence. Then I have to know who the killer is and why he killed. Honestly, that part changes a lot as I write. Sometimes more than once.

I also like to build the books around some event. Loose Screw had the auction and the jazz festival; Cut Loose, the rodeo;  Loosey Goosey, the cattlemen meeting; and Let Loose, the sled dog race. I’m not sure how long I can keep that up, but it is fun to work in.

If you really want to know about my writing process, you can check out my writing blog: The How to Write Shop. I blog there as Lori Devoti and have a ton of information on characters and plotting, my two favorite parts of the writing process… after revision. I love revising. It’s so much easier than the actual writing.

Keep on Hopping!

Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out author Susan Holmes’ post from last week. Also posting today are George Jackson, and L. A. Remenicky, and next Monday, the 17th, check out AJ Waines and Alyssa Maxwell.

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