Readers often ask me about my daily routine as an author. Do I write every day? How many hours per day do I write? And, did I write when I was younger? The last question is easy and straight forward. Yes, I wrote in high school and college. However, the answer to the first two questions has changed over the years. Now, the answer to those depends on where I am in a manuscript, whether it’s plotting out the outline, writing the actual storyline, doing the final edits, or gearing up for a release.
A good example of a typical day for me is that I am in the office by eight. With my second cup of Java in hand, I check emails and respond to any and all inquiries. Then, I move on to social media and marketing. Since my assistant does all of the advertisements on Facebook, I spend a little time there just trying to keep up on the buzz feed from around the industry.
Next, I turn my attention to Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, Ibooks, Smashword and a whole host of other sites were my books are sold to see what’s happening there. All of these sites require a daily check-in to ensure there aren’t any problems with my information. Since I have paid advertising on some of these platforms, I also have to check the sales and data trends. All of this activity usually takes a couple of hours.
By late morning, with the ‘up-keep’ of being a writer completed, I finally get to work on actually writing. Right now, I am working on the edits for my next novel, Escaping Camp Roosevelt. First round edits amount to almost a complete make over of the original draft. This is where holes in the plot are discovered and my characters begin to shine. I call this stage in a manuscript, the “frosting on the cake”. The cake has been baked, but it is just a cake. Now, it is time to make it pretty. As I “frost the cake”, I am layering depth in my characters and further developing the subplots to keep the reader engaged and the story line moving forward.
The process of creating a riveting book is so much fun and is very exciting for me. I believe this stage of the process is also one of the most challenging and important steps to having a wonderful, well-crafted finished product. At this point in the manuscript, I’ve already had an Alpha reader go through the manuscript and provide feedback on the story, the plot line and the characters. This is where I smooth out any problems in the story line.
I spend hours working on teasing out why a character responded or thought about something, re-crafting a pivotal section or event, or slowing down a romantic scene. This is my opportunity to engage you in further understanding the main characters and getting you to relate to them and develop feelings about them and their interaction with one another. The characters have to be relatable in some form or fashion. A good example of this, is in the case of Tobias and Ben in Come to the Oaks. In this novel, I was writing about two different worlds, vastly different points of view, and merging them onto one common ground, the Plantation. I had to get the two different extremes of their lives to resonate with you. Just like the actual frosting of a cake, I am trying to ensure the pace of the book is even and the character growth is smooth and consistent. I want you, the reader, to be able to immerse yourself in their world. If I get it wrong, the critics fry me!
By four o’clock in the afternoon, whether I am working on edits, or writing out a first draft, my brain is pretty shot, but I'm not done for the day. I’ll take the last hour in the work day to review emails, marketing data for the day, and all the loose ends that I pushed off to the side during the day in order to stay in the creativity mode.
When the day is done, I try my best to leave my work behind in my office. For the most part I am able to do this with the exception of dealing with characters who don’t know how or when to shut up! I say this kind of tongue and cheek, because it really is a blessing when they are talking to me. Most times when this occurs, it becomes one of the jewels in the book. I love it when this happens, even at two-thirty in the morning!
There is something about being a writer that is magical. I love everything about it. I enjoyed my career in law enforcement most of the time, but being a writer is down-right fun. The rewards come when my readers tell me how they connected with one of my character’s or how the loved the ending. It is truly emotionally fulfilling. I think about you, my readers, every day. Because you love my books, I get to keep doing what I love best in the world. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.