Every writer I’ve ever communicated with over the past few years will tell me that they want people to like what they’ve written. I do as well, but I also want them to feel something beyond “liking” my story.
I want the reader to feel a multitude of emotions when they read my books — fear, sorrow, anger, indignation, love and happiness. In essence, I want them to feel what the main character is feeling at that time. My goal is to have them step into the story become a part of what is happening by playing it out in their minds.
I read somewhere recently that when we listen to a story various areas in our brain are stimulated. If a passage talks about how something feels or sounds, the sensory cortex becomes active. If we are reading about some type of physical activity, our brain’s motor cortex responds. As storytellers, we can affect our readers deeply.
My characters aren’t perfect, and I don’t want them to be. Real people cannot be assigned labels like “good” or “bad”. People are too complex to be deemed one thing or another. I want my readers to react to the fictional characters inhabiting my story’s world. Whether it’s a negative or positive emotion, I want them to feel something.
Clare Thibodeaux is the main character in my suspense series. Clare can be distant, stubborn, and can make some very bad decisions. She can also be a loyal friend; and at times, she cares about people many readers dislike. Clare resists being told what to do, being overprotected or treated like she’s weak. Throughout the series, she struggles with letting someone else help her. Some of the other characters are overbearing and too protective to the point of being dismissive at times.
Because of these unflattering character traits, some of my readers won’t care for my books. That’s okay, I don’t like every book I read. No matter what, I have elicited an emotion, and that is what art is all about!
I never thought of myself as being particularly fond of winter, but I have noticed as I’ve gotten older I do like many aspects of this frosty season.
I’m not really a snow bunny; although, I was born with large ears to my sincere regret. My favorite Lab isn’t really bunny material, either. Except, I seem to remember watching him hop, hop, hop through the deep snow from time to time.
During the winter, his nose turns from black to pink, a condition aptly called “snow nose”, because he is always sniffing the ground and coming up with a coating of snow on his nose. He loves winter!
I liked cross-country skiing when I was younger, but recently, I discovered I really enjoyed snowshoeing. It is a great workout and gets me outside. Unfortunately, we have snow but the temps are in the double-digit negatives, so being outdoors for extended periods isn’t necessarily a good thing.
This leaves me no other alternative except to turn to another favorite activity — writing. Winter days are perfect for sitting down with my laptop and pounding the keys as I peel back the layers of my characters and create something worth reading. By my side is a piping hot cup of coffee, tea or cocoa assisting in the efforts to keep me warm.
Most of my writing over the past three years has occurred during the winter and springtime and have published most of my work during the summer or fall time frame. Could that be why the winter season figures prominently in the books? The second book in the Clare Thibodeaux Series is aptly named Winter’s Icy Caress.
What impact does environment have on a writer’s creativity? Princeton English Professor Diana Fuss explored the habitats where her favorite writers penned their literary works in her study, “The Sense of an Interior: Four Writers and the Rooms that Shaped Them.”
Professor Fuss researched for eight years and visited the very rooms where the subjects of her study wrote their books. It seems each environment was as different as the subject from Freud’s antiquity-filled Victorian office to the surprise of finding Emily Dickinson’s light and airy cupola with views over the countryside. Dickinson’s writing space was unexpected, because she was widely portrayed as being a helpless agoraphobic, and many envisioned her shut up in a tiny, dark room in her father’s home.
I like to write in my library surrounded by hundreds of books and mementos from past travels. Three large multipaned windows allow the space to be flooded with the morning light, and I can look out and see the snow swirl down or watch the birds play in the fountain outside.
I know my environment plays a fundamental role in my writing. I’m happier on sunny days, morose on rainy ones, and energized by the cold snap of fall and winter weather. I get my best ideas after periods of physical activity particularly those activities that occur outdoors. My mood and my muse tend to go to the dark side after too many days when I’m stuck inside.
Unfortunately, I’m not a snow bunny, but the winter weather does influence my mood and my writing. I like to think I’m attuned to the changing environment around me whether that involves the change of the seasons or a swing in the mood of a room full of people. I strive to put my observations down on paper using them to create the imaginary worlds my characters inhabit.
What influences your writing, your art, and your moods? Does it matter what desk you write on? Do you like to shut out sensory stimuli like Professor Fuss found during her research on Proust? Or doesn’t it matter to you?
It is an interesting subject and I’d love to hear whether your environment affects your creativity.
I’m happy to be a member of this fast growing group, and wanted to introduce to the organization and one of its founders, Hannah Howe.
Hannah Howe writes psychological and historical mysteries. Her books can be found at over 300 outlets worldwide. Her novels have reached number one numerous times on the Amazon charts and her book, Saving Grace, a Victorian mystery was a bestseller in Australia this summer. With all of this activity, Howe found time to co-found the new magazine — Mom’s Favorite Reads.
What is Mom’s Favorite Reads? It’s a community of book lovers which produces a quarterly book catalogue, featuring over 400 books, and a monthly magazine. The magazines, available as eBooks, in print and audiobooks, have topped the Amazon Contemporary Women charts, the Seasonal charts and the Graphic Novel charts in America, Australia, Britain and Canada. Alongside leading independent authors our magazines also feature contributions from high profile mainstream authors. For example, in the new year the magazine will feature exclusive interviews with a Dr Who screenwriter, an expert on Sherlock Holmes and Terry Deary, author of Horrible Histories, one of the most popular series in the history of publishing.
Also, in 2019, the plan is to develop the community to support literacy amongst adults and children. One of the ways we will do this is by offering schools, societies and literacy projects bundles of free books.
If you are an author, you are welcome to join Mom’s Favorite Reads. If you are a reader, please visit our website and check out our video, book catalogue and magazines https://moms-favorite-reads.com
If you would like us to support a literacy project, please email Hannah Howe at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will explore the possibility of supporting your project.
It is those quirky differences which make humans so interesting. Jane Austen had a knack at finding the humorous in her interactions with her neighbors and acquaintances that she later immortalized in print. The outrageous, bizarre and laugh-out-loud hilarious moments are the stuff of writers’ dreams.
I’m an odd duck. Always a bit nerdy, I loved school, reading and history. In elementary school, I read every biography of the founding fathers of the United States. They were my heroes. I loved playing “Landslide” — a board game about U.S. Presidential Elections where you collected Electoral College votes to win the Presidency. How many ten to eleven-year-old girls today would find that game captivating?
I asked for a globe for Christmas one year and on my bedroom wall, I had a poster of the universe. I would force my younger sisters to sit through my rendition of the Catholic mass or would drill them as their teacher using old school books of my mother’s from her youth. (I wonder what happened to them?)
I had a rock collection when I was young and kept it in an empty cardboard egg carton. Way before Indiana Jones had youngsters wanting to be an archeologist, I wanted to explore ancient ruins for artifacts. I also wanted to be a pop singer, Peace Corps volunteer and a nun. I ended up being a nurse, an Army Reserve officer, a bed & breakfast owner, and an indie writer, go figure.
We all have our stories about our youthful fascinations and dreams. They are the very things which mold us into the individuals we are today. What were yours? Did you follow through on your dreams?
OMG! Will this woman ever stay on a topic — like writing? Or living in a small town?
Nope. Sorry to disappoint you, but I am a flitter. I flit from one topic to another in conversation, linking thoughts in my head which no one else sees as being at all related to the discussion at hand. It is also not so out of the norm for me to write about inanimate equipment that I love (remember my love affair with my kitchen faucet or my romance with my commercial-grade floor buffer?) That being said, it does make sense for me to write about my Fitbit, because it has become a part of my daily routine which includes writing tales of mystery, suspense and on occasion — romance.
So, what do I love about my Fitbit? Well, the first thing is that it wakes me up every morning at 6:30 am with its vibrating buzz on my arm. Without it, I would sleep too long and wake up grumpy because I overslept. It gets my butt up out of the chair while I’m writing, so I can take a stroll outside or around the house to keep my blood flowing.
Some of my best story ideas come to me while I’m exercising. It’s a form of meditation for me, and my Fitbit helps keep me on target each day. When I find writing to be difficult, the band on my wrist provides me with the solace of knowing I have accomplished something today, even if it’s only a specific number of steps and active minutes.
It is strange to think how a watch has become such an essential part of my day. In fact, I resisted purchasing one while others were singing praises about theirs. I thought I didn’t really need to count steps because I was already using an application on my phone to track my workouts. Strange to think that something I felt I didn’t need has become such a part of who I am in the past year.
What I love most about this little black band is that it has kept me goal-oriented throughout the year. Exercise helps to keep my mood light so I can smile in all those selfies I post online. LOL! It has helped me drop another size in clothing, and boy, do I love that!
So to celebrate I have ordered some different colored wristbands for my little motivator. I’ve stuck with basic utilitarian black since I got it Christmas of 2017. In 2019, we are going to be styling.
There’s only ONE genre in fiction…
This blog expresses how I feel about my books. I don’t seem to fit the standard definition of a genre. Reviews sometimes refer to my work as cross-genre. What do you think about this blog?
I know, I know. It has been a year and a half since Winter’s Icy Caress was published, but the good news is (Drum Roll, followed by Pregnant Pause)… Never Show Your Hand (Clare Thibodeaux Series, Book 3) is available to purchase on Amazon!!!!
I also updated the covers of all three books to celebrate!! Exodus is a variation on the original cover which was done in a watercolor painting effect. For Winter’s Icy Caress, I wanted a dramatic cover which reflected the eerie suspense of the story.
I hope you like the new covers!
Stay tuned for special pricing on all three books in the coming weeks!
Interesting Fun Fact! The Jeep pictured on the new cover of Exodus is actually MY Jeep!
I am honored to be able to assist the One Million Project in uploading blogs to their website. We have a talented group of writers who contribute to the blog and October was a prime example of why so many readers are following it.
The blog offers a unique mix featuring the charities we support with our short story anthologies (Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS Homeless Programs) and blogs concerning writing, the creative process, marketing and a host of other related topics.
If you haven’t read this month’s offerings, I have provided the links below:
and this week’s blog – “Deep Waters” by Melissa Volker
November’s blogs will feature the writings of Raymond St. Elmo, Moinak Das, Nera Hart, and Michele Potter.
A Wrinkle In Time is my local book club’s selection for November. I love this book, and I read it, for the first time, when I was in third or fourth grade. It is a “YA” or Young Adult book but I would recommend it as an inspirational read for all ages.
The winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, this book is a mix of science fiction, fantasy and the drama of coming of age for a young girl who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere but finds the courage to battle for those she loves.