Monday, November 1, 2010
Q &A with Jodi Thomas
Jodi's new book, Somewhere Along the Way, is the second in the Harmony series. It's the perfect book for curling up on a chilly fall evening with a cup of hot tea. But before you get to comfy, let's get some writing tips from Jodi.
#1. During a workshop I attended in 2007, you said 'losing grip on reality is the best talent writers have'. Would you elaborate, please.
I've always felt like a loss grip on reality is an advantage to being a writer. Some writers complain about being able to step into the world of fiction. Give me three minutes of boredom and I'm off and running with a story in my head. I tell my kids that when I'm old and go to the home just set me by the window. I don't need a TV. I'm my own home entertainment center. Sometimes people come up to me and want to tell me their story so I can use it in a book. I smile and listen but in truth I've got more stories already waiting in my mind than I'll have time to write. When they finish, I always tell them to write their own stories.
#2. I've been reading - Writing the West (By Dusty Richards with help from his friends). You talk about the difference between 'knowing' why a character does something, and how we 'think' they'd react based on our 'research'. Writers are notorious for over-researching. How do we find a balance and dig into what we really know?
I love researching. In fact, if I could, I'd research 90% of the time and write 10%. If I did that I'd probably get a book finished about every ten years. I want to tell stories so I write. I do research before. I like to go to the location and read up all I can on the time period. Sometimes my research in with people who lived near that time. Once I interviewed a 100 year old man who was a pilot in WWI. Once I talked to an old woman who was born and lived all her life on the same ranch. She'd gone from walking behind a plow to flying her own plane. I love the places and the facts about history, but it's the people who draw me the most.
#3. In the book you give 7 steps for writers starting the historical journey. Why 7? And looking back, are there any you would have added?
I think I would add that if you want to write you need to love, not only reading, but also writing. Some nights I hate writing, but the next morning when I'm reading over my work I think, 'I love to have written'.
#4. A 2-part question. Tip #7 says 'write a series'. Do you find this more important for Historical than any other sub-genre of romance? I've also heard it's hard for new writers to sell a series. Do you believe this to be true? And any advice for all writers in approaching this option.
I found it harder to write a series in present day than in history. Don't know why. But after writing several over the years I'd advise anyone starting to make a bible of all facts so you don't have to keep going back and looking up eye color or age.
#5. NanoWrimo's (www.nanowrimo.org) catch phrase is 'No Plot- No Problem'. Tell us a little about why this concept was so successful for Two Texas Hearts.
I think in TWO TEXAS HEARTS I had characters that the readers loved. There was no great plot driving the story, just two people trying to figure out how to love one another. I think if you have the greatest plot in the world and the reader doesn't care about the characters the book will stay on the nightstand.
Thank you for letting me drop in and visit with you all. I wish you many happy hours of reading and for those of you who want to write a book, my advise to you is to go for it. Set down tonight and start page one. Remember if you write just one page a day in a year you will have written a book. When you finish, send it out and start another. I usually start the next book the day I send the last one off otherwise I think I get a vacation and a month later I'm still on vacation. Writers don't just write for a living. Writers are writers. All day, every day, even on those days they don't pick up a pen.