NS: How long have you been writing?
ED: I’ve been making up stories in my head for as long as I can remember. I wound up being a bit of an odd child. I was the youngest of four and there was a five year gap between me and the youngest of my three older sisters. It gave me the unique perspective of being part of a large family when I was little, but also gaining the insight from the flip side as the ‘only child’ since I was the last one to leave the nest. For my entire high school career it was just me and my parents. But even when I was little, probably due to the age gap, I played by myself quite a bit. That was by myself, people…not with myself. : ) But in terms of writing, technically speaking, I’ve not been doing it all that long. I’d say about ten years off and on. When I went back to school the second time I took a Creative Writing Course as one of my English electives. It was a little bit like figuring out I was gay. That writing class felt right, natural…like I finally understood what I was meant to do with my life…though it still took me years to get my dingy ass into gear. But better late than never I suppose…depending on whether or not you like my books, LOL.
NS: Do you have a daily ritual before you begin writing?
ED: I don’t get to write every day, so not really. I use movies, or music, sometimes other books in order to get me into the right mood, or the mood I need to be in for whatever I’m working on at the time. It’s weird because writing is such a solitary act, but I never get lonely doing it. It’s like having all of the characters with you, or maybe I’m getting into their head, experiencing the story that way. I’m not really sure which it is, and maybe it’s both, but considering the amount of time I spend alone it does strike me as odd sometimes that I never get lonely. *whispers* “Maybe I’m crazy.”
NS: What are your inspirations for writing?
ED: Sometimes I get inspired by a story idea. Other times I’ve built entire chapters on a line of dialogue that came to me which I thought was funny. The story I just finished, At Pipers Point, came to me from a combination of things: a submission call from Loose Id from back in the spring of 2009 and from my grandmother. It was around that time year, the anniversary from when she’d passed away and she’d been on my mind. Those two things were the seeds of that book. I think inspiration can come from anywhere. The key is keeping yourself open, always on the lookout…and in my case, writing it down so I don’t forget it. : )
NS: What is your favorite health …Brain food snack while writing?
ED: Peanut M&M’s? I’m not sure how healthy that is, but they’re perfectly pop-able. AND as you know, they melt in your mouth, not in your hand…which is good ‘cause no one wants a gooey keyboard. Gooey from the chocolate…not the other kind of gooey…not that anyone would want a keyboard that was gooey from that either. Man, that’s a lotta gooey for one paragraph. Perhaps we should just move on…before I wind up drowning in it.
NS: What type of exercises do you do to stay healthy while writing?
ED: My exercise routine is spotty at best. And hey, thanks for reminding me of that fact! LOL. I need a really mean trainer or perhaps a gym nemesis. : ) Someone I either feel the need to outperform or fear.
NS: When did you seriously sit down, and say to yourself, I’m going to write a novel?
ED: I never did that, consciously. It was something that just happened organically. I honestly can’t imagine having decided to write a novel and then sat down to do it. I think that would have seemed overwhelming to me. But that’s just my personality. A lot of people would thrive in that scenario.
NS: Have you ever thought of writing out of your comfort zone? Is there any other genre you’d love to attempt but are leery of diving in?
ED: I think it’s very important to write out of your comfort zone. I think it’s the equivalent of working-out for a writer. You never want to lose your voice, but I do believe it’s important to try stretching yourself. I’m still working on a paranormal/historical book, which is more serious in nature. It’s not as easy for me to write, which is why it takes me longer to complete. I sort of take it out and work on it in between other books. It’s scarier for me as doesn’t come as naturally, but that makes it fun and I think necessary. I have idea’s for books coming out the ying-yang, but finding the time to write them all is a whole other issue.
NS: How have your techniques for character development changed since you’ve been writing? Is it still the same, or has it developed over time, if so how?
ED: It’s certainly developed over time, but I still use the same techniques I started with. I don’t believe in exchanging techniques so much as building on them. I don’t think it’s possible to ever do too much character development. The better you know the people you’re writing about, the easier the story will come. I still use one of the books I got back in college for my creative writing class. I think it’s an excellent resource for anyone who wants to be a writer. It’s called: What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers. It really goes through and explains each element of writing fiction and then gives you exercises that can help you work on those elements. I use it when I get stuck on certain things. Sometimes the exercises help me look at something from a different perspective. But when it comes down to my characters I’ll have long lists and bio’s written out for each one. I try to think of everything that makes that character the person they are and I write it out, usually long hand in spiral notebooks.
NS: How do you hook your reader into a story?
ED: I just try to make the characters as real on the page as they are in my head. I spend a lot of time figuring out who they are before I start writing. As a reader, it’s always the character that reels me in. So that’s where I focus my energy whenever I begin a new story. Starting that story in the right place is also important, I like stories that begin right when everything is about to fall to pieces. There’s nothing more fun for me as a reader than seeing everything go to hell in a hand basket, and then witness the protagonist put themselves back together again…hopefully having grown and changed in some small way.
NS: What do you find the most difficult to write? Dialogue? Back story? Emotion?
ED: For me, it’s the setting and world-building I find the least fun. I hate doing research…with a passion. I frequently whine while sitting at my computer looking crap up. I call it crap. If I could afford to hire a ‘researcher’ I would. Unfortunately, I have to do it myself. And god help the world when the research contradicts my imagination! Many a tantrum has been thrown after discovering my perfect little plot device isn’t logical or realistic. I know, right! As if my imagination could ever be wrong! Stupid rude, research. : ) I love writing dialogue, playing around with words in order to get to the humor or emotion of a moment can be incredibly satisfying. Making myself laugh is the goal. Or cry if that’s where the scene is heading, and I have made myself cry a couple of times. But only on those really off days when I’m like tired and stuff. Otherwise I’m like a rock, man…the perfect manly-man, masculine role model. Yo! LMAO! Yeah…I have an excellent imagination.