My Writing Process Blog Tour

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Jennifer Jason Leigh
Got the nod from Barrett, so here’s my contribution to #Mywritingprocess Blog Tour.

1. What am I working on?

(Casey, Kelly, close your eyes. Skip to next question.) The answer is, not a damn thing. See last question for clarification.

2. How does my work differ from others in the same genre?

Great question. My work doesn’t fit snuggly into the lesfic genre because I don’t write romance. There may be a love interest in my novels, but that’s never the theme. I like to write characters that bring lesbians into the mainstream – they’re out, they don’t have angst about their lesbianism or relationships, but they have problems, life problems like everyone has, and like everyone, hopefully, at some point my characters will move past them.

Also, I write dark novels – not funny, not frothy, not sweet. If they were coffee drinks, my novels would be as a triple espresso is to a caramel mocha frappucino, with extra whipped creme. And a cherry. I want to slap you awake and encourage you to get on with your life, not put you into a sugar coma.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I think we are as limited as the things that scare us. I hate being scared or living in fear, and always want to push beyond what holds me back or keeps me from ‘daring greatly’, to borrow Brene Brown’s phrase. I don’t want to be on my death bed and realize I was to afraid to ____ (fill in the blank). It helps that I have characters I can push out ahead of me, to see how they conquer their fears and demons. They are usually my heroes, and I try to follow in their footsteps.

4. How does my writing process work?

Funny you should ask. Lately it doesn’t work at all. RG Emanuelle at Women and Words¬†wrote a great article about when a writer burns out, and while I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m burned out, it’s fair to say I’ve been on an extended break from any new projects. I’ve written ¬† nine books in 16 years, and while that’s not prodigious, it takes it’s toll when a full-time job, wife, grandkids, friends, and the rest of life are added to the mix. I’m okay with not writing right now. I could sit down and force the follow-up to #7 in the Franco series, but I think if it’s written from force that’s the way it will read. I’ve never not written this long, so it’s a little frightening, but I trust I am exactly where I need to be in my writing career. I also have faith that someday some idea, or plot line, will utterly consume me, and I will be off and writing again.

When that happens, I will write all day Tuesdays and Fridays, after swimming and walking the dogs, and I will try and take as many remote mountain cabin vacations as my wife and boss will allow. I can’t write in fragments throughout the day. I need long, extended blocks of time in which to lose myself to the writing. I just write scenes as they come up – completely disorganized, but often they lead to the next sequence hence end up creating order out of chaos. When I have feel I have enough scenes to make up at least two-thirds to three-quarters of the novel, then I start outlining and seeing how they all fit. It’s like a great big literary puzzle, fitting this scene here, moving that one there, oops, throwing that one out because it doesn’t even belong in this puzzle. Then I fill in what’s missing and add segues that bring it all together. (The glue on the finished puzzle!)

Thanks for your interest. I like this tour as it’s a great chance to get to know our favorite writer’s a little better. And the next writer up is the talented, speed-defying, brilliantly shod Sandra Moran – also a beloved Bedazzled Ink sister- and her latest release, Nudge.

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