Because I write historical fiction, my vacations usually center around research. Take the “vacation” to Erie, PA this summer, when I lured my husband out of the house for a sail on an 18th century brig. Last year, we went to Forts Ligonier and Necessity, and before that, to Colonial Williamsburg.
What’s my husband get out of it? Wings. Lots and lots of wings. It’s a deal we have: he tags along and listens to my incessant yammering about my characters and setting, and he gets to eat as many wings as he can stuff down his throat without me nagging about his diet.
It works for us, but in truth, I sometimes wish I could clear my head of all things writing. Characters can be intrusive, showing up at inopportune moments and refusing to go away until their needs are met. I live in constant fear that my imagined worlds will one day overtake my real one.
Is writing simply a beautiful form of madness? Or, are there some authors more skilled at balancing our worlds. Our seasoned authors weigh in:
Collette Cameron is an Amazon bestselling (3 times Amazon Kindle top 100) and award-winning author of Regency and Scottish romance. If that’s not enough to convince you she knows what she’s doing, how about this? She won the 2013 Sneak Peek Contest, was a 2014 RONE Nominee, a double RONE Finalist in 2015, Aspen Gold Finalist 2015, and 2015 Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner. At this time, she has nine books under her belt with contracts for four more. She self-published a series, has four group projects already published and two more coming out in early 2016.
Tema Merback ‘s first book was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist entitled “In the Face of Evil,” the story of her mother’s survival of the Holocaust. It took her four years to write, but it was worth it, as it continues to be one of the highest rated books on Amazon and Goodreads. With her hot romance and suspense, she went the self-publishing route. She also writes under a nom de plume, Belle Ami.
Tina Susedik writes romantic mysteries, children’s books, and history books using her real name and erotic romance as Anita Kidesu. Her novel, “Riding for Love” was a finalist in the 2014 BTS awards. She has eleven books and two short stories in print, with two more on the horizon.
Catherine Castle writes sweet and inspirational romance. She has published one novel under the pen name of Catherine Castle and three as a coauthor with her husband. Her books consistently win awards, including the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance, and a RONE in 2014 for inspirational romance. She was a finalist in the 2014 EPIC awards for an action/adventure romance and was a 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.
Ryan Jo Summers writes romance she calls “a mishmash of inspirational, time travel, shape shifting, paranormal, mystery, any and all combinations of the above.” She has three novels out now and another three coming in 2016. She blogs at https://www.summersrye.wordpress.com
Stacy Hoff writes contemporary romance. She has two anthology stories and three full-length novels to her credit, along with a 2015 “Rising Star” nomination from BTS emag’s Red Carpet Awards.
Samanthya Wyatt is a Golden Rose finalist. She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and has four books out at this time.
How do you balance your real world with your imagined ones?
Collette: I don’t have a problem with that. When I’m writing, I’m immersed in my characters’ world, and when I’m not, I’m racing around doing stuff so I can get back to writing!
Tema: I live in one and escape to the other. Can you guess which is which?
Tina: The imagined world wins out every time. If I’m at a concert, I get story ideas. If I’m helping at school, I get ideas. My husband and I were recently on a trip. We got stuck in the middle of nowhere on a rough, gravel road that was under construction. For fifteen minutes we sat in our truck waiting to move. Story idea. Sometimes when I’m in a group of people and I get quiet, my friends get nervous. They just know I’m coming up with a plot based on what is going on. They’re right. Sometimes. I do love that my imagination can help me handle boring situations. I’ll plot a scene on a WIP, or listen to conversations and create characters. I don’t know how people with no imaginations handle life.
Catherine: There is no balance in my life. I go full tilt one direction or the other. It’s all day writing or no days writing. I’ll go out to garden for an hour and six hours later, I’m still outside. Balance is one of the many things I need to work on. I wrote all day yesterday. I planned to do the same after my doctor appointment today. Instead, the tyranny of the urgent reigned. I ended up with a dead car battery, a trip to the chiropractor, a trip to get the car fixed, lunch with hubs, a hundred emails to answer, and downloading and writing stuff for upcoming blog deadlines. I’ll backdate my to-do list and call that writing.
When my daughter was young and my husband still working I had much better control of this problem than I do now. Monday was for laundry, Tuesday gardening, Wednesday was sacrosanct for writing and everyone knew it, Thursday shopping, Friday housecleaning, and the weekend family time. Hmm. Maybe I need to reinstate that schedule—and get rid of social media and the cell phone.
Ryan Jo: They are very tied together. Things happen in real life, conversations are overheard, situations observed, and I already can tie them to either a character or storyline I’m working on or a story I want to work on. My file of future books/ characters continues to grow so that I do not fear ever running out of ideas. I fear running out of time.
Stacy: I use my imaginary world to consistently remind me, no matter what adversity I’m facing, that a “happily ever after” will prevail.
Samanthya: I try not to let writing interfere with spending time with my family. Ballgames, visits, or just watching TV with my hubby. When I know I have some free time, then I get involved with my characters and let my fingers flow.
Are you able to separate your imagined worlds from the real one?
UP NEXT WEEK: Author Assistants