Firstly I am not sure I am doing this right, but here I go.
A few weeks ago an author/blogger I know asked me if I wanted to be involved with the chain blog hop. Basically she posts and tags several people and they tag others they know and so on. We discuss our own writing processes and pass the baton.
The Questions are:
What am I working on?
When a sudden plague of mysterious cancers strikes the southwestern city of Nan-li, it falls to Lady Abbess Cara of house Ten-Ar to investigate, entangling her in a royal trap that may cost her life.
Today I just published my first Peers of Beinan Series novella, “The Poisoned Ground,” as a paperback. Find it in “The Lost Tales of the Anlei’s Legacy Trilogy” for kindle at http://tinyurl.com/ALLost.
In May I plan on releasing Poisoned Ground to kindle as a separate novella (May 27th) and The Lost Tales into paperback.
I am also working on a May release for book two of the Legendary Women of World History Series, “Catherine de Valois.” From there, my focus turns to finishing the “Princess Anyu Returns,” the third and final book in the Anlei’s Legacy Trilogy.
Princess Anyu Returns concludes the Anlei’s Legacy Trilogy
2015 will mean the beginning of the next Peers of Beinan trilogy looking at the Great Migration and early settlement of the planet.
How does my work differ from others?
My background is poetry, music, and academic non-fiction. As many of you know, I was originally published as a poet, then as a non fiction writer with Yahoo Voices. I love non-fiction; I love the research, the learning, and the amazing connections you find when you explore many different academic disciplines.
My writing very much grounded in this love of learning, knowledge, and getting the facts, the data right. I usually say that I am not so much imaginative as I am logical (my blood is red, not green, I swear — even if you heard otherwise!). I extrapolate and redact very well which is a fancy way of saying that I am good at filling in gaps in a pattern and figuring out what should be there.
Everything I do is very scientific — even when I am not writing non-fiction or science fiction. I try to be as non-fictional as I can within the boundaries of the story. I bombard people with questions and work very hard to get details RIGHT. So when someone is murdered by crossbow (as happens in “The Ghosts of the Past”), where that quarrel (crossbow arrow) lands is precisely chosen based on what medical doctors have told me. Whether a person dies instantly or has a few seconds/a minute to get out last words can be a matter of just millimeters or centimeters. And yes, to me, it is important to get it right. A medical doctor is likely to be reading that scene.
Now the same applies to my history work with the Legendary Women of World History. First, I draw upon primary source materials — but then I go to the archaeology and anthropology to help me fill in gaps. I also ask questions. For example, author Alexandra Butcher of Bristol, UK helped me know what Boudicca and King Prasutagus probably ate at their wedding reception which I set on the beach of the North Sea (Iceni lands being right on that North Sea coast).
I made up the whole wedding/beach scene for the novella. But it’s a believable scene because it applies a dozen different facts or probable facts based on geography and culture.
Most writers I know are more willing to just make things up. The scientist in me will not do that; I have to create things that are believable to me within the boundaries of the known. Fortunately, I am blessed with a great education that helps me do that. Though I must ask the BBC to please please please make more programs available in the United States. That way I can do even better work!
Why do I write what I do?
I want to inspire people and encourage people to think about and discuss social issues. Too often we feel the weight of life’s challenges. We become overwhelmed with difficult life events. We feel lost. We lose hope. We judge others. We fail to care.
But none of this has to be. We can do better. We can make choices that make tomorrow better than today. We can change our world with every choice we make in every single day and every thought in our minds.
As Sentient Beings we possess this amazing ability to learn from the experiences of others. The people we learn from do not have to be real; they can be legendary or fictional too. When we see people or characters go through the same challenges we face, we relate to them — and are inspired to take up the same solutions that they find success in.
Books have an enormous power to transform our lives. Can it be any wonder that literacy has always been at the heart of slavery in all its forms? When we keep people from reading, we also block them from finding solutions to their problems, cutting them off from vital role models for success.
I write to teach, to inspire, to transform the world around me. I also write as part of the music of my own heart and soul, the songs that have brought me through adversity and into the Light. In singing — whatever the form — I rise up from the ashes of my life’s challenges and soar on powerful wings of joy.
How does my writing process work? (something like do you plan it all, do you start with a short story and do you work from there.)
The process varies with the individual article or story or book I am working at the time. Sometimes I create the cover art first. Sometimes I spend weeks full of 15 hour days just researching. Sometimes I just get a melody in my head and start writing whatever comes into my heart — music, lyrics, prose, whatever it decides to be.
The editor in me is a cold, harsh mistress. If something does not sound right to my ears, it does not stay on the page. For me, music and novels are very little different. This could be an extension of my sight loss; I am low vision. But it is also just part of being a musical creature. My writing is musical and that quality gives it an elegant, legato sort of character that I hope inspires and stirs souls.
I tag: Alexandra Butcher
Alexandra Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genre. She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys.