Today I welcome another talented author with 5 Prince Publishing, Denise Moncrief, as she shares a bit about herself, her writing process, and wonderful advice for aspiring authors!
What inspired you to write?
I began devouring every book I could get my hands on in high school. I’ve been a prolific reader ever since. All of that reading has fed my imagination. For years my daydreaming made me feel somewhat guilty. I had no problem imagining myself in other places, with other people, doing other things. One day I got the idea of channeling all my daydreaming into a manuscript. That was nine, maybe ten years ago, and since then I’ve been writing practically non-stop with only a few short sabbaticals due to a recalcitrant muse refusing to cooperate and give me a fresh spurt of inspiration.
What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?
I started writing romance, but I found an element of suspense slipped into the plot line every single time no matter how I manipulated my characters and their actions, so the suspense genre grabbed my imagination and wouldn’t let me go. I love suspense and that’s what I write.
I bend and blend genres. My stories are usually suspense and _________. My daughter tells me I can’t write anything without including at least one dead body in the story line. Well, I don’t know, maybe that’s true. Aside from traditional suspense plot lines, I find there’s an element of suspense in any conflict, a moment when the breath catches. I strive to portray that one thing in any situation that will affect the heart rate, tug at emotions, and make the reader anxiously turn the page to read what happens next.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I have a part time accounting position, so my weekday mornings are spent crunching numbers, but once I get home I divide my time between taking care of my family and pursuing my career as a writer and editor. My evenings are split between writing, editing, and marketing. Lately, it’s been difficult to squeeze working on my current work in process between editing and promotion deadlines, but thankfully, the new manuscript is within 5,000 words of being complete. I’ve never been a scheduled writer, writing for a certain amount of time at the same time every day. Now, that I’ve also been hired as an editor, I’ve had to schedule chunks of time to get alone and write for several hours at a time. If I don’t do that, the editing and marketing pursuits will swallow all my free time. So it’s definitely become a balancing act.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hum…A writing quirk? Am I quirky? I’m not sure about that. Well, I don’t write in my polka dot pajamas, sip herbal tea, or listen to any particular style of music. I don’t have to have the house quiet either. I put on a pot of coffee and slip into my most comfortable jeans and a t-shirt. I might write on my bed or at my desk or on the sofa in the living room. Perhaps my biggest quirk is that I don’t do rough drafts. I’m probably obsessive compulsive or a raving perfectionist or something. I edit as I go because I can’t stand the thought of overlooking something that needs a tweak. I’ll write a few chapters and then edit. Write a few more and reread from the beginning, editing as I go. I find this gives me a greater sense of continuity and helps me fine-tune my plot and my characterization.
Are you a pantser or plotter?
I imagine the opening scene of the story and decide how the story will end. Between the beginning and the ending, I am a certified pantser. I let the plot evolve as it goes along, letting my characters and their developing personalities decide what to say and how to react in any given situation, as long as they get to the end of the story right where I want them to go.
Are your stories based on experiences of someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share an example?
No, I can’t think of any instance where I’ve based a plotline on my own experiences or the experiences of anyone I know personally. However, the underlying theme of all my stories is forgiveness and reconciliation. I heard someone say one time that unforgiveness is the poison one drinks with the hopes of injuring someone else. I believe this to be very true. I’ve experienced personally how destructive unforgiveness can be, not only to the offender, but to the offended.
Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?
I remember well my first rejection. I submitted a series of four stories to a publisher. He very kindly suggested I should continue to hone my skills by perhaps going to a writer’s workshop. It was an excellent piece of advice, because I did as he advised and realized how much I didn’t know about the craft of writing. That was years ago. An author should never believe he or she has learned all there is to know about the art and craft of writing.
Commonly accepted style evolves and changes over the years. Be aware of trends. The trends readers preferred ten years ago might not be what keeps a reader’s interest today. For instance, a common trend is to use as few he said/she said type dialogue tags as possible, replacing the tag with action beats.
When you finish writing your baby, after pouring all your heart and soul into plot and characterization, put the manuscript aside for a few days and then come back to it. Read it aloud with the critical ear of a reader, not the emotionally attached heart of a writer. The exercise often reveals glitches in the flow of the narrative.
There is an abundance of information and guidance available to aspiring writers on how to hone writing skills. Not all suggestions work for every writer. Research editing and writing. Read blogs and books on the subject of writing. Build relationships with other writers. A writer should test different approaches and find out what works best for her. For instance, I’ve read more than once that a writer should write straight through a rough draft, then go back and edit. This approach clearly doesn’t work for me.
Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?
I have been published or have been contracted by three wonderful indie publishers, Still Moments Publishing, 5 Prince Publishing, and Crooked Cat Publishing.
What are your current projects?
My last single tile release was Deceptions of the Heart, a full-length paranormal romance suspense novel from Still Moments Publishing. Crisis of Identity is romance suspense with a humorous bite, scheduled for release this week from 5 Prince Publishing. My current work in process is paranormal romance suspense set in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with the working title The Memory Catcher.
My full library at Still Moments Publishing, including Deceptions of the Heart, can be purchased at http://www.stillmomentspublishing.com/p/ebook-store.html, Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, Create Space, or Smashwords. My new release, Crisis of Identity, when it becomes available this week, can be purchased at http://www.5princebooks.com/buy.htm and Amazon.
Tess Copeland is an operator. Her motto? Necessity is the mother of a good a con. When Hurricane Irving slams into the Texas Gulf coast, Tess seizes the opportunity to escape her past by hijacking a dead woman’s life, but Shelby Coleman’s was the wrong identity to steal. And the cop that trails her? He’s a U.S. Marshall with the Fugitive Task Force for the northern district of Illinois. Tess left Chicago because the criminal justice system gave her no choice. Now she’s on the run from ghosts of misdeeds past—both hers and Shelby’s.
Enter Trevor Smith, a pseudo-cowboy from Houston, Texas, with good looks, a quick tongue, and testosterone poisoning. Will Tess succumb to his questionable charms and become his damsel in distress? She doesn’t have to faint at his feet—she’s capable of handling just about anything. But will she choose to let Trevor be the man? When Tess kidnaps her niece, her life changes. She must make some hard decisions. Does she trust the lawman that promises her redemption, or does she trust the cowboy that promises her nothing but himself?
Denise wrote her first story when she was in high school—seventeen hand-written pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She earned a degree in accounting, giving her some nice skills to earn a little money, but her passion has always been writing. She has written numerous short stories and more than a few full-length novels. Her favorite pastimes when she’s not writing are spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. She lives in Louisiana with her husband, two children, and one very chubby dog.
Connect with Denise on the following links: