Today is my day on #TheBlogTour, where writers and authors answer questions about their writing processes. I think this is a truly fascinating project. We writers tend to be solitary when we write. That is the nature of the beast. I’m really an extrovert, but I don’t end up spending much time with other writers and talking about how they do what they do. I’m learning quite a bit myself, and about myself, as I write it all down.
One of the first things I want readers to know about being a writer, as I told Elizabeth when she interviewed me a while back, is writers need to “own it” when they say they are writers. There is no such thing as an aspiring writer. You are or you aren’t. You might be aspiring to be financially successful or published, but you aren’t aspiring to be a writer.
Each writer answers these same four questions and also links to three more writers who will submit their answers next week. And those three writers link to three more and…well, you get the idea. This is growing at an exponential rate. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions.
I’d like to recommend two installments of this project and encourage you to follow your way backward (or forward) from there.
The first is my friend Elizabeth Gaucher.
The second is the writer who referred people to me with his post last week: Vernon Wildy
A little bit about me:
I have a degree in Journalism from Marshall University and have always loved telling stories. I wrote my first novel in 2005 and things just sprang from there. I knew this was going to be a “thing” so my website for nearly 10 years now has been Books by Eric. I chose the plural intentionally. I now have four novels, a series of short stories, I edited a work of collaborative fiction called River Town and have two children’s books. I’ve also written two non-fiction books. On top of all that, I write two regular columns for Scuba Diving Magazine. It all keeps me very busy. You can find out more or get in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr through my website at www.booksbyeric.com.
What am I working on?
I’ve got two big projects right now, and a host of smaller ones.
Heart of the Maya is my current novel in development. It will be the fifth in the Mike Scott adventure series. For the last 15 years I’ve had the good fortune of traveling to glamorous and exotic locations for my former employer. I used those opportunities as location research and have notes from just about all of them. The first four books in this series are based in Grand Cayman, Southern California, the Adriatic Coast of Italy and then North Carolina and Cuba. This fifth novel begins in West Virginia and ends up in Mexico on the Riviera Maya. Heart of the Maya follows international news photographer Mike Scott on his latest adventure above and below the water.
Keep on, Keepin on will be my next nonfiction book. A dear friend offered me the opportunity to sit with her while she underwent chemotherapy for the breast cancer for the second time in 10 years. Jean is a brilliant woman and a ball of energy. I recorded her chemo sessions and we did a couple separate interviews. She also wrote some essays and recorded her thoughts during one particularly rough period. I hope, and believe, that others will take inspiration from this story. It isn’t all happiness and roses, but she gets through it. If she can face that and keep going, the rest of us have no excuse.
There are a couple short stories rattling around in there that will be used to help promote the new novel. And Elizabeth is prodding me to get to work on another submission to the River Town project. River Town is collaborative fiction set in the era of the river boat.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think I take a fairly unique angle on the action/adventure genre by taking my readers underwater on a regular basis. I’ve written about scuba diving for more than 15 years in a professional setting and through my novels I get to talk about the adventure side of it. I love diving in just about any water: warm, cold, clear, murky; it doesn’t matter. I’ve been a dive instructor and a diver medic along with an instructor trainer for diving first aid. All of that comes into play. And so do the locations I’ve had the opportunity to visit over the years.
My nonfiction/documentary work speaks to my journalism background. I’ve always loved telling real stories. I was never big on following politicians around or listening to endless meetings, but telling stories about the people who were on the receiving end of those decisions has always been a passion. In 2010, I finished up a certificate program in the Documentary Arts from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and have been pursuing long-form journalism ever since.
Why do I write what I do?
I write about the things that move me and the things I like to read. I like real heroes; strong female characters (even when they turn out to be the “bad guy”) and I love adventure. Most of my books have an ocean/environmental angle as well. I’ve seen the beauty of the ocean and I want to share it with everyone. At the same time, I want to keep it safe for my daughters and their kids—hopefully that is a long time away.
How does my writing process work?
That is a fairly mixed bag. I have an office in my house and my family pretty much leaves me alone in it. There are times I will get in there working on a project and not stand up for four hours. Other times it is a struggle. My background in journalism has given me the gift of thinking into a keyboard and typing fairly quickly. When I want to, I can crank it out. 1500-2000 words on a project is a pretty good blast for me. I have written more than 6000 words in a day, though. I always have Pandora going and have several different stations in a QuickMix so I am always hearing something new. It doesn’t distract me in the least. Oddly, it helps me focus. I can’t stand to sit here in the quiet. On the other hand, I can’t have a television on. It distracts me to no end. Even out of my line of sight.
I often have a couple different projects going at any given time. If I get stuck on one, I will switch to the other for a while. It keeps me fresh and moving forward.
Here are actually four writers who will post their contributions to #TheBlogTour next week.
Rob Boone is a writer-for-hire specializing in web content for startups. He also ghostwrites ebooks and edit content for other writers. In his free time, he is working on his first collection of short stories and a book of essays taken from and inspired by the essays on this site. He also runs Sssimpli and writes some fiction. His interests are wide and sometimes weird: literature, technology, philosophy, design, psychology, some things that span all of the above, some things that span none.
Heather Lynn Elmore earned a BA in Journalism from Ohio State University , worked at The Lantern while in college and at The Westside Messenger in Columbus, Ohio, after graduation. She is leaning to tap into her creative psyche, writing short stories such as Letters from Nowhere and Kitty and is branching out into Novellas. She is writing freelance work and pursuing a goal of starting a LBGTQ affirming newspaper in the Charleston, West Virginia area.
Wesley Hyatt is a writer with an emphasis in pop culture history who lives in Chapel Hill, N.C. He is the author of the following books: “Television’s Top 100: The Most Watched American Broadcasts, 1960-2010″ (2011); “Kicking Off The Week: A History of Monday Night Football on ABC Television, 1970-2005” (2007); “Emmy Award Winning Nighttime Television Shows, 1948-2004” (2006); “A Critical History of Television’s The Red Skelton Show, 1951-1971” (2004); “Short-Lived Television Series, 1948-1978” (2003); “The Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits” (1999)”; and “The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television” (1997). He is available for consulting, interviewing and speaking engagements with an emphasis on TV history.
Sally Deskins is an artist and writer, focusing on women and feminist writers and artists, including herself. Her art has been exhibited in galleries in Omaha, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago; and has been published in publications such as Certain Circuits, Weave Magazine, and Painters & Poets. She has curated various solo and group exhibitions, readings and performances centered on women’s perspective and the body. Her writing has been published internationally in journals such as Stirring, Prick of the Spindle, Bookslut and Bitch. She edits the online journal Les Femmes Folles, has published three anthologies of art and writing and her first illustrated book Intimates & Fools, with poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman, was published in Jan. 2014..