When I wrote the beginning scene of Mind of Her Own (3 times, maybe 4!), I used some of the feelings from my own life. At the time, my 3 sons were living at home; they usually had friends over on a Friday night, so sometimes I had 9 boys in my house. The noise was tremendous as was the activity and mess that goes with that. I’ll admit it, there were times I wanted to be someone else. I wanted to write in a quiet place where dogs didn’t bark, kids didn’t yell and I didn’t have to cook—ever. And that’s when Jazz Sweet was born. A single writer, living the good life in a costal home in Florida. Of course she’s famous and has a cook, driver, and personal shopper. The problem occurs when she discovers she’s not really Jazz Sweet but Louisa Copeland, married, mom of three, and she doesn’t write.
I had so much fun writing this book. The researching of retrograde amnesia was fascinating to me. Imagine, waking up and thinking you are someone so different and living your life as that person? Who would you be?
While all the rewrites were fun to write they didn’t happen in a scheduled pattern. No, real life happens all around me, I’m not Jazz Sweet. Often the cats are out of food, laundry needs to be done, or I have errands to run. Being home doesn’t mean I can focus on my writing career. And that is okay. I love that God made me a wife and mom. Even though my sons no longer live with us it seems I’m required for help or a meal occasionally. Love that!
Some days I help my husband with our business. Manual labor often helps me brainstorm possibilities in the book I’m writing. So do long drives to nowhere. Yes, nowhere. We are officially Sunday Drivers, I wonder if there is a club for them? After church my husband likes to drive the back roads of Southern Illinois, and while I’m in the passenger seat my mind is free to roam, invent and wonder who lives/lived in that house with the white rabbit statue? Yes, there is a house with one in the front yard, it’s got to be 7 feet tall and it begs me to tell the story.
Tyndale has asked me to describe my normal writing day. I love this question. One of the great things about being an author is having atypical days–every day. I’m able to stay at home and work on writing, but that hasn’t translated into a 9-5 work day.
My mornings start off with working out—zumba, essentrics or power stretch. Then a phone chat with my mom. She reads me jokes and her laughter makes me laugh. It’s a good way to start my day. Next I read a devotional.
Then my writing day begins. My creative side doesn’t engage until after lunch. I use my mornings to research, comment on social media sites, and reply to e-mails. I watch the clock above my monitor so I don’t spend the entire day on line. Yes, that has happened. I will admit to that.
Then it’s lunch! Yum, gluten free bread and what I can find in the fridge. I have been known to eat at my desk while poking around pinterest.
My best ever time to write is at 3 p.m. That’s when words fly from my fingers and the keyboard sound wakes up Oliver, my cat. Then it’s tussle over who gets to write. Once he is settled, I’m back at work until time to fix dinner.
And then there are the times when I can’t sleep because I must get more of the story written. I’ve been up from midnight to five in the morning many times. That happens most often when I’m close to the end. I want to see what’s going to happen!
My first draft I write from the heart with only a small outline of what needs to happen. If I do too much plotting, I feel like I’ve already written the book and it doesn’t get written. I like to be surprised as much as readers do.
Mind of Her Own is special to me. I took a step of faith writing it. I can’t tell you what happens in the book, but if you read it and want to know more, email me and we can chat.
Thanks, Diana, for giving us a window into your Writer’s World!
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Join us here next week, Tuesday 12/11 to learn about Johnnie Alexander Donley, a historical fiction writer whose experience with workshops, writer conferences and contest has led to her upcoming ebook, Where Treasure Hides.