On Wed, Nov 7, 2012 at 5:27 PM, GreyLocke wrote:
#1: How long have you been writing and what brought you to the genre you write in? Expand on this as you wish.
I think I started writing fiction about the time I learned how to write --
so around four or five. Of course it would be fatuous to say that I have
wanted to write for a living that long. For most of that time, I didn't
know people could write for a living. (Some days I'm still not sure.)
As for genre -- I started out wanting to write science fiction. For
various reasons, I was told this would be impossible for the first ten
years of my career -- after I broke in. I got told among other things that
science fiction didn't sell and that women didn't in general write good
science fiction (this from women editors at some of the more liberal
houses. Never mind.)
So, for ten years I wrote fantasy, mystery and romance. I read all of
them, so I write all of them. But I was glad to come back to my original
intent four years ago, when Baen accepted the science fiction Darkship
Thieves. (The sequel Darkship Renegades comes out on Monday.) Combining
history, human drama and a certain freedom, Science Fiction will always be
the most fun to work with. Of course, my detour through other genres
probably gave me new skills.
#2: Do you have a favorite character from your books, if so why are they your favorite?
Difficult to say. Usually I write because of the character. The character
appears and takes over, and I can't help but write him/her. Right now I'm
still attached to Lucius, the character from A Few Good Men. Of course,
Tom, the were dragon of the shifters series -- I'm now working on the third
book -- is a perennial favorite, for his down to Earth good sense in the
face of crazy and magical events.
Most of my characters follow a mold -- they're fighters or strivers. A
reviewer -- I now can't remember where -- said that my characters are the
sort to fight to the last, and if they go down they go down swinging. It's
impossible not to root for people like that.
#3: What gives you your inspirations for your writing?
What doesn't? The hard part is not getting inspired, but keeping myself
from becoming inspired. it's very hard to be in the middle of book and
have a snatch of music, an excerpt of the news, or the opening of a
completely different book (the last one an historical romance) spark an
idea that just won't let go.
#4: Are there story lines you have written that you wish you could revisit and either expand on or change?
Most of the things I wrote more than two years ago I wish I could revisit
and change. Some of them because I wrote them specifically because I knew
that the publishing house would like it and I had to make a living. Most
of them, though, I'd like to expand and change because in the last two
years something has changed about the way I view my writing and what makes
a good book.
Some of them I might even get to expand and change, provided I can get the
rights back to those books. Most of them, I -- and the readers -- will
just have to live with the fact that most writers improve with age.
#5: Are any of your characters inspired from real life? If so who are the characters and their real life counterparts?
No. I didn't even know anyone wrote like that until an attempted
collaboration with Eric Flint, when he asked me on whom a character is
based. My characters tend to come to me fully formed, so that they are
their own person. Now I understand they're really being kicked up by my
subconscious, but there's blessedly little I can do to change them. If I
try the whole thing collapses.
This is for major characters, of course. Minor characters I can use people
I know, particularly when I'm really tired and/or not feeling well. I used
to use my younger son when I needed "Adorable tyke."... Which is why I've
now killed him in a book and three short stories.
Oh. There might be an exception to this, but it wasn't purposeful, and the
character did come to me. It's just that E, the kid in the Elise Hyatt
mysteries seems to be living a childhood that's a combination of my two
sons. I really have no excuse for this, and it does annoy my children no
end, but there it is. Perhaps I have a particular difficulty with writing
#6: Have you found it hard to break into writing certain things?
Do you mean, selling to a publisher, or getting to write them? The
hardest genre for me to break into -- as in sell to the publishers in --
was science fiction. It took me ten years after publishing my first book
to sell my first science fiction book.
If you mean getting in the mind set to write -- I've found that each time I
write a new genre it is, in a way, like learning to write all over again.
The hardest is possibly Romance, because I keep thinking there has to be
more driving the plot than "I'm so in love."
#7: What do you use for reference material for your writing?
Depends on what I'm writing. For historical, I use mostly books about the
time period, though I've been known to watch mini-series or documentaries,
to get the "texture" the "feel" of the time. For space I use mostly
people. Oh, sure, I have books, but the books are science popularization
and usually some five to six years out of date. So I have a bunch of
scientists and space-experts that I can call up and bother. It's very
#8: Is there a story floating in your head you want to write, but find it hard to put on the paper?
All the time, pretty much. Sometimes the reason it's hard to put it on
paper is that I'm tired/sick/out of sorts. Most of the time, though, is
that I'm not quite ready -- either emotionally or skill-wise -- for the
idea. The longest time between and idea and writing it is, to date, 22
#9: Were there any roadblocks in pursuing your writing career? If so how did you avoid or break through them?
Sometimes there were nothing but road blocks. It took me thirteen years
from seriously starting to write/submit to sell my first short story. That
first short story had EIGHTY rejections before finally selling (And then
went on to sell multiple times.) Then it was another three years before I
sold my first novel. Then my first novel came out the month after nine
eleven and died on the vine.
Avoiding this sort of thing is difficult. You just do the best you can.
As for breaking through them, I've found a writer's most valuable quality
(more than talent, understanding, practice) is persistence. Persistence
will see you through almost everything.
#10: Final Question. Do you find your writing has grown as you progress?
I think so. My readers think so. It would be very sad if after all this
practice I were still stuck where I was sixteen years ago. But with all
that, there is no way of knowing. One can only continue to try.
Ms. Hoyt's sites are: