When Rhett DeVane asked me if I wanted to be in a blog tour in which each author talks about his/her writing process, I laughed and thought, “What writing process?” So, I had to think about it for awhile. . .
What am I working on?
After writing contemporary fantasy set in the Rocky Mountains, I’ve been having fun going back to the Florida Panhandle for short story settings. I’ve become slightly more ambitious with the novella I’m writing set near the Apalachicola River. The story involves folk magic, nasty people, tragedy and the atmosphere of the piney woods world as it as in the 1950s. I usually work magic into my stories one way or another, but having a protagonist who is a conjure woman is something new for me. And, it’s been a hoot. So has the research!
One thing you see right away when checking into old books or contemporary hoodoo sites is that hoodoo is not the same as Voodoo. Hoodoo is folk magic; Voodoo is a religion. The other thing you’ll see is that while lots of people say they believe in magic, either “The Law of Attraction” on one hand or Harry Potter and Gandalf on the other. Meanwhile, Hoodoo is written off as a cluster of ignorant superstitions. I don’t intend to treat it that way in the book. My hope is to do justice to another kind of magic while telling an exciting story.
How does my work differ from other of its genre?
I read a lot of fantasy, but that doesn’t make me a spokesman for the genre. That said, it appears to me that the fantasy most in fashion these days is (like Game of Thrones) set off-world or in our world after some catastrophe has wiped out society as we know it.
My writing focus is contemporary fantasy and paranormal. Contemporary fantasy is set in our world or in a world/universe/region close by. My work probably is probably closer to “reality as we know it” than most.
That is, I’m going to be using real settings and mentioning the differences, let’s say, between those who believe in magic and those who believe in science an technology. When I write paranormal stories, my work differs from others because there’s none of the Hollywood-style occult in it. I’m more likely to focus on ghosts and strange coincidences than vampires, demons, etc.
Why do I write what I do?
I like the interplay of people and the places where they live. Places tend to have an ambiance about them that’s not only tangled up with what’s going on there now, but is also influenced by old legends, tall tales, and the people lived there in the past. Since I believe there is much more to the world than what our scientists and our five senses are showing us, I like writing stories that the readers will see as possible. That is, I try to make the magic as close known techniques (real or imagined) as I can.
How does your writing process work?
When I start a book or a short story, I don’t know where it will end up. I become intrigued with a theme or a place or a prospective character and start fiddling with the idea. Quite often, the story will start to take shape as I look at source information about the place where it will be set, the kind of work the characters do, and the magic they’re familiar with.
The story takes shape while I write it. That means I’m just as in the dark about the outcome of the story as readers will be when they pick up the finished book.
A big thank you to Rhett DeVane (Suicide Supper Club), Southern fiction author from Tallahassee, Florida. You can find Rhett at her website: www.rhettdevane.com or on her blogs: www.writers4higher.blogspot.com and www.southernhat-tidude.blogspot.com
Rhett lives in the town where I grew up, so she gets leaned on from time to time to update me on, say, whether a restaurant is still open or if nearby attractions still have one tour or another when I write stories about the Florida Panhandle. (I haven’t been there since the 1980s and there has been a fair amount of change since then.
You may also like hearing about author Melinda Clayton’s writing process. I know I would because she writes wonderful stories including Blessed Are The Wholly Broken. I’m hoping I’ll get some tips that will speed up my “writing process.” She’s blogging over at GoodReads.
Melinda also lives in Florida, but since I haven’t yet come up with a story to set in her part of the state, she’s escaped the kinds of questions I send to Rhett.
Malcolm R. Campbell’s Florida stories include “The Land Between The Rivers,” “Emily’s Stories,” “Moonlight and Ghosts” and “Cora’s Crossing.”