John Hornor Jacobs’ first novel, Southern Gods, was published by Night Shade Books and shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Award. His second novel, This Dark Earth, was published in J2012 by Simon & Schuster. His young adult series, The Incarcerado Trilogy comprised of The Twelve Fingered Boy, The Shibboleth, and The Conformity, is published by Lerner Books. His first fantasy series, The Incorruptibles will be published in Spring 2014 by Gollancz in the UK. John is the co-founder of Needle: A Magazine of Noir and was the active creative director until fall 2012. He has a quartet of horror stories, Fierce As The Grave, available through Amazon.com on the Kindle platform. He’s represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. You can learn more about John Hornor Jacobs on his website, johnhornorjacobs.com, or follow his lively conversation on Twitter @johnhornor and Facebook www.facebook.com/John.Hornor
So, you’ve heard the old saying that there are no new stories, just ten we keep rehashing over and over? I’ve always had problems with that, for some reason. It always irked me a little that someone could render all of human storytelling down to ten (or seven, or five, or three) stories.
And then, one day, a realization smacked me with a wet hand right across the chops – those who say there are only ten stories and we’re doomed to retell them over and over, well… they’re only talking about PLOT.
Character changes everything.
Okay, I’ll grant you that it’s possible that most stories, novels, and movies travel down well-worn paths – ruts in a muddy road. I don’t know how much of that has to do with the fact that much of what we read through-out life has been vetted by publishing houses and all their baggage of sales figures and ROI follows like a comet’s trail behind and consequently we, the reading public, tend to get more and more stories geared toward those tropes that look to be “hot” sellers. I don’t know why much of publishing remains opaque, even to me who’s entrenched in traditional publishing. It’s just one of those things I’ve got to deal with.
I do know that there’s been, for at least a century, an effort to codify human storytelling. (Check out this Periodic Table of Storytelling – http://designthroughstorytelling.net/periodic/)
Joseph Campbell did so with his “unified theory” or monomyth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth) of the Hero’s Journey in A Hero With A Thousand Faces. Some of you are rolling your eyes at this – it’s lit 101 stuff – but Campbell is important. He’s a major keystone to the idea that humanity has got narrative earworms stuck in our collective brains. Campbell was a big fan of Jungian psychological theory – the collective unconscious and all that.
Jung, baby. You can’t use the word “collective” without accidentally brushing his ass with your hand (which is surprisingly taut, for a psychologist – and dead guy).
The Hero’s Journey went something like this – SEPARATION, INITIATION, RETURN.
A hero is called to a journey or quest and leaves his community (separation). Once away from his community of origin, he becomes an initiate into a higher power through a series of trials (think Arthur gaining Excalibur; Bilbo not finding the One Ring but finding his ability to wield Sting and his own courage; think Luke Skywalker learning the force and becoming a Jedi Knight), and then the hero RETURNS to his community to grant it a boon. Campbell’s theories have spawned at least 15.283 million essays in colleges all over the world. Of those, I probably contributed, uh, 15 or 16. I don’t know my percentage of the whole because dammit I’m an English major for crying out loud. Leave math for the frickin’ math majors, willya?
But even before Campbell’s theory of the hero’s journey (I did not say “specious theory” though I thought it) Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson attempted to classify much of human oral folklore tradition into a system. Here’s a fancy sentence for you: ““the identification of folk narratives through motif and/or tale type numbers has become an international sine qua non among bona fide folklorists.”
Those two spent a lot of time collating and categorizing all of the oral myths and lore of the world into one database. The Aarne-Thompson classification system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aarne%E2%80%93Thompson_classification_system). It was comprehensive as they could make it at the time – all cultural myths, recorded tales, folklore were classified into the system. The story database. Each story-type had a number.
Dragon-slayer myth? Number 300.*
Okay, all that aside. Thing is, people want to put stuff in tidy little boxes. To stack them in Tupperware in the freezer, right next to the severed head. And I’ll state here for the record that one of the reasons why humans are the top predator (and ridiculously unchallenged at that) is that we are fucking masters at codifying and organizing our existence.
Why do we do it?
Because we want to dominate. Sad but true. Understanding is power. Power wears jackboots. Jackboots stomp necks.
So, let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start.
What makes a coming of age novel, or revenge drama, or epic quest fantasy different from the next?
The people – or characters – that populate its pages.
Westlake’s Parker novels (revenge and heist story forms) wouldn’t be the same without the raw, brutal presence of the main character. The Lord of the Rings would be a milquetoast quest without the down-to-earth pragmatism of Bilbo and Frodo and Sam, or the mercurial wisdom of Gandalf. Die Hard would be boring without the self-deprecating humor of John McClain.
It’s characters that make stories unique, not plot.
In that sense, there are as many new stories as there are new characters.
So, here’s the hard part. How do you write compelling characters?
I think that for everyone, writing is a different process and we all strive to find our way to discovering our own. I can say, “The best way to write a character is to make them flawed,” or “real characters come to be known through adversity” and I believe both of those things. But they might not be true for you. Or you may interpret their purpose differently for me.
My personal creed regarding writing characters (your mileage may vary) is that any character must have (1) his or her own internal voice that is compelling to me as the narrator of their tale; (2) they must be real enough, full of compelling parts of guilt, shame, kindness, aggression, love, history, etc. that they will be, if not empathetic, then interesting to read about; (3) they should be possessed with enough desires, lusts, drives that will make them careen and cavort across the literary stage of my design, i.e. have motivations.
Look! I just codified the shit out of characters! That makes me feel good.
You might notice that there are some implied requirements of me as an author. I am their God. Yes, their God – I have created them, dredged them from my subconscious, conjured them from my imagination – but I have certain duties to them as well. Some responsibilities as their parent. We have a covenant, Moses and I. They are my people and I am their God.
What could those responsibilities be?
My responsibilities to my characters are (1) I should be fearless in the depiction of their character. This has very little to do with appearance, garb, physical description. I doubt any reader has one whit of interest as to the exact shade of red lipstick some ingénue wears – they care about her capacity for emotion and action. For love or betrayal. That is the essence of her character and consequently, the essence of that part of my own subconscious from which I conjured her.
Pretty neat trick, that.
I am a pretty, pretty woman. But I’ll cut you.
(2) I should follow them down whatever path they lead me because only then am I truly discovering my own identity as a human and a writer.
Now, you might be scratching your head thinking this is some new age bullshit – and maybe it is – but I tell you, writing is a form of self-psychoanalysis and you’re dealing with the raw energies of your psyche. You should have a little fucking respect for the energy you’re playing with. Because, truly, that energy comes from YOU and is a part of you.
(3) Try to give each character the fate he or she deserves. Because these characters are my (or your) creation, I should try to work out a story arc for each that is suitable to their promise. Each character has a fitting end – it’s my job to try to find it. Or, rather, each character has an end and an emotional resonance appropriate to said end that is necessary.
(4) Find their voices and let them speak. On a macro-level, each character has a wavelength in your brain as their creator that vibrates – thrumming in the ether – and you have to listen hard enough to convey that as best you can. On the micro-level, this might comes through dialogue and action and description and tone, but on the whole, it’s a matter of listening (considering, thinking upon, pondering) to that character and allowing giving them voice. In a way, it’s like an actor finding his character.
That’s about it. I’ve done what I said I hated, codified writing characters. Boom, taking the bus to Hypocrite Town (real place in Texas). There’s a bunch of minutiae – the style, tone, diction, and the line-by-line manner in which you deal with characters (think Homer’s constant refrain of “grey-eyed Athena”) – but on the whole, you have to be brave, dig down deep, and plumb the depths of your soul** to find new characters, and then, you’ll have written a new story.
I hope this helps.
Please direct all comments and complaints to the manager of this blog.
*Supposedly, the dragon-slayer myth occurs in almost every culture. True fact. Really. I’m not making this stuff up. Well. Not all of it. 72% of it is real. I think. Maybe.
**Or you can just pull it out of your ass. Hey, your uncle Jerry would make a great model for this pedantic village alderman! Your sister is the perfect inspiration for this crabby shopkeeper! Your mom has villain written all over her.
R.B. Chesterton *is* Carolyn Haines
Walking Between Worlds
While world walking is often thought to be an art of fantasy characters, sometimes writers have to do it to. March 6, my gothic chiller, THE SEEKER, published by Pegasus Books, will drop. This is my second “dark” novel written under the R.B. Chesterton pseudonym. I also write a humorous mystery series under my real name, and the 14th Sarah Booth Delaney mystery will be published by St. Martin’s Minotaur in May.
Writing two books a year (and teaching and running an animal rescue) keeps me a busy person, but a strange thing has happened since I’ve added a “dark” book to my schedule of writing. I find that I write more, and my imagination is much more active.
Horror was my first love. I grew up reading Poe, thrilled by his masterful hand at painting the details of a word governed by shadow more than sunlight. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles” was a thrill ride of dark moors and the potential of a killing beast driven made by one bloodline. As I grew up, I discovered King and McCammon. These writers gave me the key to a door in a haunted house. Fabulous!
My journey as a writer took me many different places before I returned to a story that plagued me for years. The story of a young woman hired to homeschool the children of a wealthy family in Coden, Alabama. A privileged family that buys an old estate and renovates it—and also adopts an amnesiac young girl who brings darkness with her. THE DARKLING was a story I had to tell, and last year it was published by Pegasus.
I’ve always believed that the story is a gift. For those of us who are practitioners of the art of story-telling, the most incredible thing is the gift of a story that demands to be told. I’ve put a lot of thought into what this means. And the best way I can describe it is that our job as writers is to honor the gift of the story. Genre, point of view, length—these are things that we, as writers, can sometimes manipulate but often can’t. The story is what it is, and we serve it.
I’ve written in a lot of genres. Part of it is that I read everything. I don’t care what package the story comes in, if it’s well-written and skillfully told, I’ll read it and love it. But this means I get a lot of ideas for stories that don’t “fit” in the markets I normally write in. Such was the case with THE DARKLING. But I did my best to honor the story, and in doing so, I found that all of my writing was invigorated. Allowing yourself the luxury of simply listening to the story and telling it to the best of your ability is something every author should do whenever possible. It’s a little unnerving, because it’s stepping out into the darkness. But when I now turn my hand to write a Sarah Booth mystery, it’s like a rush into the sunlight to return to those characters and the warm embrace of Zinnia, Mississippi.
For those feeling low on energy, rev your engines up with a different kind of story. Just for fun. Remember, we became writers because we love writing. Honor yourselves and the story with some experimentation.
Carolyn Haines is the author of 65 books in a number of genres and under several pseudonyms. She was awarded the Harper Lee Distinguished Writer Award in 2010 and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence in 2009. She teaches fiction writing at a Mobile university and runs Good Fortune Farm Refuge, an animal rescue. You can learn more about her at www.carolynhaines.com or her writing conference at www.daddysgirlsweekend.com
Reminder from Faith!
Coming in March, we will introduce Carolyn Haines to MW. Carolyn is the busiest person I know, and she has agreed to share with us on the first two Saturdays in March, and then again for 2 days in May. She’s not only a successful writer (see bio below) but a successful writing teacher. Put it on your calendars to drop in to read her posts and visit with her. (She’s very approachable.)
Carolyn Haines is the author of 65 books in a number of genres and under several pseudonyms. She was awarded the Harper Lee Distinguished Writer Award in 2010 and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence in 2009. She teaches fiction writing at a Mobile university and runs Good Fortune Farm Refuge, an animal rescue. You can learn more about her at www.carolynhaines.com or her writing conference atwww.daddysgirlsweekend.com
We hope you’ve been enjoying all the marvelous guests we’ve brought you so far in 2014. Trust me, we have even more writers and their books to introduce to you as the months move along, so you’re not allowed to be mad at us when your to-be-read stack climbs higher than your bedside table. *laughs*
Today everyone’s taking a break, so I thought I’d drop over to mention that Faith Hunter, David B Coe and I (Misty Massey) are very excited about the upcoming Magical Words Writing Workshop, which is taking place during Congregate in July. It’s an intensive two-day seminar offering detailed, specific feedback on the first 2500 words of your manuscript from all three of us. Not only that, but members of the class will be able to offer feedback to each other as well. And since we’re teamed with Congregate 2014, you have the chance to writing, editing and publishing during the weekend, too.
The workshop is $25. You must be registered to attend the con before joining the workshop. The deadline for registering and sending in manuscripts is April 11, 2014. Don’t wait too long – space is very limited!
If you’re interested in joining the fun, email us at email@example.com for registration details.
Continuing the con chat we started a couple of weeks ago, our guests are back to answer some more questions about cons. Remember, if you want to throw in your two cents about cons, how they run, what you’d like to see or whatever, don’t be afraid to chime in on the comments!
A) What is one thing you wish you’d known before you attended your first con?
B) This one time at con… (tell us something funny or weird or bizarre that happened at con.)
A) Pack some essentials in a tote for an all-day con experience: water, snacks, hand lotion, and hand sanitizer.
B) I went a little fangirl on some of the authors with whom I appeared at a panel. And then I was in the green room at C2E2 on year pre-panel, and Sean Astin happened in. I was torn between yelling out “Samwise!” and “Goonies!”. I ended up saying nothing.
Want to see Chloe in person?Willy-Con 2014 (Guest of Honor)
April 4-6, 2014
April 25-27, 2014
RT Booklovers 2014
May 14-18, 2014
New Orleans, Louisiana
Delilah S Dawson
A) I wish I’d known that being outspoken and assertive would go farther than being sweet and taking guff. My first con was a small, local steampunk convention, and
they rejected me as a guest because no one had heard of me and my first book wasn’t going to be on shelves for three months. I didn’t know anyone, so I volunteered, and they put me in the green room. The first author I met was an old-school scifi guy, and when I told him what I wrote, he told me (in front of an audience), that people like me were ruining scifi and I wasn’t worth the sh*t on his shoe. And because I was new and didn’t want to make waves, I just smiled and served him breakfast.
B) I was waiting in the hallway of the Westin at Dragoncon for a late-night panel on Sexy Steampunk. I was wearing a nice, professional dress with cute heels and a handmade corset over it. This guy walked up, and we had the following conversation:
guy: So, what do you do?
me: I’m an author.
guy: *looks me up and down* Yeah, but… what do you DO?
me: I WRITE BOOKS.
guy: But what else do you do?
me: Um, I’m a mom.
guy: But if you did OTHER THINGS, how much would that be?
Yeah, he thought I was a prostitute and tried to get a price list out of me while I waited to speak on a panel. Sigh.
Want to see Delilah in person?
My Events list is here: http://www.delilahpaints.blogspot.com/p/events.html
Chris Marie Green
A) One thing I wish I’d known before I attended my first con is that I should be as relaxed as possible. Whether I’m on a panel with Joe Hill or Charlaine Harris, they’re people, too, and I shouldn’t be shy around them.
B) Okay, this isn’t too weird, but it surprised me. My second Vampire Babylon book had just come out, and the first reader at my signing station was, like, twelve years old. She was my first young reader, and she was jumping up and down and so very excited. All I could think about was how bloody and violent my vamps were and I wanted to ask her if her mom knew she was buying the book, LOL.
Want to see Chris in person?
Saturday, March 15, starting at 2:30pm – Tucson Festival of Books
Saturday, May 10, starting at 10am – Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego’s, birthday bash
May 14 – 17 – Romantic Times Convention, New Orleans
July 24 – 27 – Comic-Con, San Diego
A) I can’t do it in just one, so I have three:
Be prepared for the smell; some people don’t wash.
Be prepared to miss meals; carry snacks.
Be prepared for rooms that are overheated to sweat-temps and air-conditioned to chill-bump temps; wear layers.
B) I remember the time a big-shot writer literally looked down her nose at me when I tried to introduce myself. Her mouth pursed, her eyebrows rose, and her eyes started at the top of my head and traveled (slowly) down my body to my toes and (slowly) back up. Then she stared at me and didn’t reply. So I laughed and said, (loudly) “Hi! I’m Faith Hunter! Good to meet you!” And held out my hand where everyone could see it. She was forced to acknowledge me because of the other people around me. Good thing I’m thick skinned. And no. I’d never do that to someone else.
Want to see Faith in person?
A) Honestly? Nothing. My bookstore manager dragged me to my first convention: Dragon Con, 1996. I had just graduated college. I was equally awestruck and inspired. I wouldn’t change a thing.
B) I was having the best weekend of my life when I slipped and fell into a Giant Pool of Vomit. I was in full costume, and I had only one hour before I was to appear on my very last panel–with Jim Butcher–to a standing room only audience. Thanks to the valiant efforts of the Fairy Godboyfriend, Sir John Hartness, and my unflagging princessly optimism, we made an Epic Tale out of what might otherwise have been an Epic Disaster.
Want to see Alethea in person?
I seem to be shifting toward more Festival appearances and fewer Conventions lately…and they are either booked 9 months in advance, or at the last minute. My most current appearance schedule can always be found here: http://aletheakontis.com/events/2014-book-tour/
Chloe Neill ( Photo credit: Dana Damewood)
Let’s get the disclaimer out there and up front: I have absolutely no clue how to find balance in a writing life. But I’m trying to learn.
I have a full time (plus) dayjob, and a very full writing life. I’ve written a YA series (Dark Elite), a PNR/UF series (Chicagoland Vampires), and I’m hoping to announce my next project within the next couple of weeks. That one will intersect with CV, so I’ll be writing two projects at a time. Not unusual for a genre author, but not the easiest course for someone with a dayjob.
So, yeah. Professionally, I lead a pretty full life.
I try to compartmentalize the professions as much as possible. Daylight hours during the week are for the dayjob. Evenings and weekends are for writing. Obviously, the divisions aren’t always that clean: my editor may need to discuss a project during business hours, and a dayjob emergency may bleed through to the weekend. There’s fluidity to both jobs, which means I spend a lot of time at both of them.
My very well-intentioned husband calls me a “workaholic.” Undoubtedly, I devote a lot of my time to one job or the other. And although I’m flattered by what he clearly believes is my solid worth ethic, I don’t really care for the word. It suggests one works solely because one is addicted to it, maybe because addict fears stepping aside from the job(s) and engaging in other portions of his life, maybe because the addict’s self worth is derived primarily from the job.
I work hard—and often—because both jobs, by their nature, require it. If there was a way to build a novel, a series, a fandom, with three hours a week of effort, I’d be exercising a hell of a lot more in my newfound free time. J But it hasn’t worked that way for me, and I doubt it works that way for many.
Writing success is, in large part, measured by the effort you put into it. Not just writing a marketable novel, which obviously requires a good chunk of time (and luck), but continuing to writ, edit, and tweak a manuscript when you don’t want to look at it anymore. Blogging when you’d rather be walking the dogs on a gorgeous spring day. Engaging with readers even if you’re an introvert. Putting together a marketing plan when you’d rather dive into the book you preordered online, which is still boxed and waiting on the counter.
I’m definitely a believer that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing all the way. I try not to halfass either job. In addition to not being a good strategy for long-term success, halfassery is insulting both to colleagues and readers.
That said, as I’m editing my thirteenth novel, I’m also learning to let myself breathe. I’m learning that a few hours of rest—and maybe even a nap!—on a Saturday afternoon isn’t going to be the death of a manuscript. Chances are slim I’ll ever look back at a project and think, “Wow, the result would have been entirely different if only I’d not spent two hours that Saturday in February resting and reading.” In those thirteen novels, I don’t even remember the times I decided to rest instead of work.
Books and careers are built in slow slogs of time, built layer upon layer like fine sediment. Life still has to be lived in the meantime, and that’s fine.
This year, I won’t be visiting as many conferences as I’d like to. But my husband and I will be able to take a vacation together. I write/edit two books a year, and I could probably push it to three. But that’s only going to burn me out, negatively affect my health, and certainly not be positive for any of my relationships – or my dayjob.
Working “all the way”, I’m learning, doesn’t mean working to the exclusion of everything else. It means that every hour of the day presents a choice: to advance a project, to plan a new one, or to give yourself a chance to breathe, to be present in the world. And it means that all those options are valid and important.
How do you balance your work, personal, and/or writing responsibilities?
BIO: Chloe Neill is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Chicagoland Vampires and Dark Elite series. She was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest–just close enough to Cadogan House and St. Sophia’s to keep an eye on things. When not transcribing Merit’s and Lily’s adventures, she bakes, works, and scours the Internet for good recipes and great graphic design. Chloe also maintains her sanity by spending time with her boys–her favorite landscape photographer/husband and their dogs, Baxter and Scout. (Both she and the photographer understand the dogs are in charge.)
Diana Pharaoh Francis
The truth is that living as a writer is a dream come true. This is the thing I would choose to do above all others. It has its challenges, however. I went full time about six months ago, though it looks like I’ll take on part-time teaching work in a dream teaching job next year (I’ll be teaching in an MFA program specializing in genre literature, but that’s another story). Before that, I was teaching full time at a undergraduate university and writing part time (as part time as you can be while producing two books a year). I had two young kids as well. I had to be incredibly organized and focused to be able to get things done. Often I was keeping ahold of sanity by just fingernails.
We moved to Oregon from Montana in July of last year and I started in September to write full time. At first it was easy–I took the kids to school and hit the writing trail for about five or six hours, then I got the kids and either wrote a bit more, or did errands and other things. For about four months, it worked out really well. Then . . . my son got sick. He’s been home since December 8. He vomits every day (yes, every day) and we have no diagnosis as of yet, though we’ve had tons of tests and ruled out tons of problems. This blew my concentration and focus, and also hogged up a bunch of my time in terms of appointments and phone calls, and his need for me. Luckily I had finished my deadline book early (a first! because I could write full time) and so I’m not yet behind.
I am, however, struggling to the focus and the writing. It’s very easy to let the writing go and get to it later because you need to get Other Stuff done.
obligatory and updated author photo
One of the things that is true for me is that I need to write every day, or pretty close to it. If I do, I stay in the groove. I think of it like this: when I’ve been writing, every time I come back, it’s like diving into a river. I slide in like a knife and I’m in the current and the words pour out. When I don’t write every day, it’s like diving into a frozen river. I bounce off painfully and have to smash my way down to the current. Every time I’m away for too long, it freezes up again. I know this, and yet it’s hard to push myself back to the writing with all this going on. Perfectly reasonable, I know, but it is a job also, and I need to hit my deadlines and do my work and of course, get paid.
What’s funny is in reality, I have fewer time commitments than when I taught, but I have a harder time making the writing adjustments. Obviously that’s because of the emotional element of not knowing what’s wrong with my son and not knowing when or how to make him better. All the same, I’ve got to figure out how to compartmentalize, because not only is writing my living now, but it is my bliss. This will relieve my emotional distress to some extent. Even when I feel I’m writing crap.
I am finding that the difficulties I’ve had in plotting are only exacerbated by the situation. I am fragmented in that regard and writing seems to be the solution–pantsing, specifically. And of course pantsing is stressful because it refuses to let a writer plan and for me, right now, that’s distressing.
All the same, this is the dream. I love it. I love that I can be available for my son and help him get through this. I did find a program called Scapple that allows me to do a flow chart sort of thing for plotting. That has helped. It also lets me brainstorm out ideas and figure out problems and designed characters and all sorts of things. Luckily the learning curve was miniscule. I have toyed with the idea of getting Scrivener to further help, but I’m a bit afraid that the learning curve will be much greater than I want or can give to it right now.
This week, on Weds., I get to head off to the Rainforest Writing Retreat. This is my first time and I’m looking forward to getting back into the writing river and getting swept away. I’m hoping this will give me a good boost in my focus so that when I come back, I can get myself organized around my daily life. Luckily my husband and kids are very supportive and are making it possible. (The dogs are woefully sad and are considering ways to climb into the luggage).
So that is my writing life these days. The thing I’ve learned is that living your dream can be damned hard work, but holy crap is it worth it.
And now . . . Please do go buy my books. Review my books on Goodreads and Amazon and B&N and wherever else you might like to. Help me keep living the dream!
The Biography of Me: I didn’t start out to be a writer. I was a storyteller from as far back as I can remember, and a daydreamer of epic stories, but it never occurred to me to write anything down. I read voraciously, but I wasn’t one of those people who said–hey! I could do this! Or even, this is so awful I could do better. I marveled at writers and thought of writing as something other people did. I did try my hand at some really horrible poetry in my senior year of high school. It was dramatic and bleak and world-tiltingly awful. When I got to college, I did poorly in my freshman comp class. I wrote in purple prose and use twenty words for what I could say in two. I loved language, but I didn’t really have much control over it. Then I took a creative writing class. It was awful. Total slaughter. I had caught the bug, though, and from there on out, I wrote. Eventually I wrote a really bad romance and finished it. I finished it! I could do that! And then I went to graduate school and another graduate school, got married, had dogs, had kids, went to work professing, and kept writing. Finally I had my first book accepted and I’ve been writing ever since.
As far as the prosaic stuff goes, I like to crochet, bake bread, spoil corgis, eat chocolate, sing to the radio, pretend to play tennis, geocache, crochet, and garden. Though I really hate weeding. I also like to make my hair purple with some frequency. You can find me on twitter as @dianapfrancis and my website at www.dianapfrancis.com or on facebook.