Mary Rosenblum passed on this blog meme to me. Check out her answers, too.
What am I working on? I’m working on two novels, drafting one and revising another. The first is for a project I can’t announce yet (stay tuned!) but I am enjoying the special delight of beginning a new novel. I began the second about a year ago, purely for my own pleasure, and it provided a precious personal sanctuary while I was taking care of a dying friend. Its working title is Penumbra, and here’s the skinny:
What happens when a science geek falls in love with a vampire? High school senior Esther Goldberg has smarts and a no-nonsense approach to life, a lesbian science geek determined to pursue her dream career as an astronomer. Esther’s family – her widowed, overworked mother, phonograph-playing aunt, and her great-uncle, a gentle soul still wounded from surviving a concentration camp – doesn’t have a lot of money, but they do have a lot of love, even when they don’t entirely understand her. When a mysterious and beautiful girl joins Esther’s AP Physics, the entire class falls for her, Esther included. Messages in Marielle’s handwriting appear in Esther’s notebook and as quickly disappear, and Marielle herself utters cryptic references to “we are both creatures of the night.” That’s only the beginning of Esther’s adventure...
It’s so interesting to move back and forth between stories in such different places in the creative process. In my editing work, I’m putting together a series of author interviews for Stars of Darkover and preparing to edit the next Darkover anthology, Gifts of Darkover (2015).
How does my work differ from others of its genre? I’m not sure that it does; there are so many talented and accomplished writers in the field of fantasy and science fiction, some of them with imaginations so wild, I feel downright conventional and definitely in distinguished company. However, if I were to look at the recurring themes, the “hallmarks” of my work, they would include heroes with compassion and brains, the many ways we heal individually and in community, very cool animals, very cool love stories, and a deep sense of romanticism.
Why do I write what I do? I write fantasy and science fiction because I love to read it. I get to make my living by indulging in my not-so- guilty pleasures. A distant second reason is that this is an amazing community, contentious and loving and sometimes life-saving.
How does your writing process work? I sort through the packets the Idea Fairy has left under my pillow, looking for the shiniest. Of those, I pick a few with potential to actually become stories. Sometimes, I have to shuffle them around and mix-and-match. Eventually I reach an ignition point… Okay, seriously: Right now in my career, with the exception of the on-spec novel I mentioned above, I sell on contract, which means I hand my agent a detailed outline (and sometimes sample chapters) and when we have a contract and advance in hand, I get to work. I more or less follow the outline, drafting quickly – 1200 to 2500 words a day, six days a week. Then I print the mess out, attack it with a red pen, rinse and repeat. At some point, it goes to a trusted reader, rinse and repeat, and then to my agent. At some point, I gird myself up to cope with editorial revisions, reviewing copy edits, and proofreading. I love revising a book because I see patterns and connections I had no idea were there. It’s like discovering a new solar system in your garden.
The drawing is by Ernst Keil, 1871.