The Writing Process Blog Tour

I’m participating in a blog tour where authors talk about their writing process. I was tagged by Erica Kiefer, author of Lingering Echos and Borrowed Angel.

What am I currently working on?
I just finished writing a 36,500 word novella. It’s a contemporary LDS romance novella for a joint project with four other authors, which will be published in the Fall. I sent it to beta-readers and the preliminary feedback is very positive, and I’m very excited that others are falling in love with Chris and Luciana (the main characters) just as I did.
In the meantime, I started edits on my first book. It’s been almost 9 months since I last read it. I recently hired a professional freelance editor to help me ready this manuscript for publication, and I need to get it back with her by May 1st. I’m hoping to get through this reading and edits in the next few weeks. It’s been really exciting to be back with Josh and Sofia, and to see the progress I’ve done as a writer since the last time I read their story, which lets me correct a lot of things I couldn’t see before. This is my first full length novel and the expected publication is January 2015.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I write contemporary romance stories that are clean in language and ‘steam-free’ in regards to content. The characters are swoon-worthy, and there is a lot of tension between them, and the romance is definitely a priority in each story, as is the relationship between the characters (from how they meet to how it develops). Two other things set up me apart in the contemporary romance genre—first, my characters are Latter-Day Saints (sometimes both main characters, other times only one), which means religion is a main theme in their everyday lives. Second, my stories are set in Portugal and/or have main characters that are Portuguese. The novella I just finished is a bit difference since it’s mainly set in Manhattan, but my novels are set in northern Portugal. Since I was born and raised in Portugal, my knowledge of the culture, geography, and language are definite advantages that let me use a setting that is different and exciting to most American and English-speaking readers (when was the last time you read a novel set in Portugal?).

Why do I write what I write?
I’ve been reading romance novels since I can remember. I still read romance novels, be it contemporary, historical, Christian, mystery, and other kinds. Naturally, I always knew I could only write a romance, no other type of story would do. It goes without saying that these romance stories are the Happily Ever After kind. What makes them exciting is how the characters meet, where the story takes place, and what kind of journey they take to lead them to that happy ending. Obviously, there is an element of cliché in all romance stories, including mine, because we already know  the main characters end up together. As a reader, I know I’d be very mad if romance novels didn’t end that way. The interest of each story relies in the obstacles the main characters have to overcome before they can be together.
As a writer, I love the kind of stories that feature everyday normal people who meet each other at the precise moment in their lives where they need each other, especially when that meeting is inconvenient for one of them (or sometimes both). The emotions and the growth the characters are put through is part of the goal where the reader will finish reading the story with a sense of hope and optimism, knowing they can always count on happy endings.

How does my individual writing process work?
I’m a slow writer. Even when I know where the story is going, the exact process of putting the words down is not a fast one for me. Words and their relationship inside a sentence are important to me, and often I can’t let go of my perfectionist tendencies when I’m writing. Since English is not my first language, I sometimes have a hard time with certain expressions or a particular structure, which slow me down.
Usually, the characters come to me first, and most the times already with their names. These are strong characters who have a compelling need to be together. I know how they meet and I know how the story ends, but the in-between is harder to come by. I don’t plot. I’m a discovery writer, which means I write as the characters reveal their lives to me, and sometimes scenes show up out of order (which is fine, since I use Scrivener). I ‘see’ them in my mind as they go about their lives, and I just watch them and write. I also get most of my inspiration when I’m driving, which isn’t always very convenient. I like to focus on the interaction between the main characters and on their emotions towards each other, making sure their dialogue rings true and believable.
After my first draft, I do a quick round of revisions and then send the manuscript to beta-readers. Once their feedback is in, I revise and edit again, then let the manuscript sit for a little bit while I work on another one, before doing another round of revisions and sending it to the editor.
It’s not a perfect process, but it works for me, and I’m certainly learning along the way.

The next author in the blog tour is Laura Bastian, who just had her début novel published recently, Eye on Orion. Go take a peek at her blog and find out more about her book.

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