Sunday, January 4, 2015

Writing Process Blog Tour

I’m participating in a Romance Writers Blog Hop.  Not only do you get to know a little about me and my writing process, but I get to introduce you to fellow romance authors and learn their individual writing styles and processes.

My fellow author, Susan B. James has tagged me to be next on the “My Writing Process Blog Tour” (#MyWritingProcess).Susan's first novel, Time and Forever is about two women in their sixties time travelling back to 1969. It's won Honorable Mentions in The Hollywood Book Festival and The Great Northwest Book Festival in Fiction.
In Kate’s hero, Michael is Sherry’s son from Time and Forever. Susan cannot seem to write a book without a touch of magic.  She also writes children’s books as Susan J. Berger. Susan is drawn to humor and was born to wonder and to laugh. Here's Susan's contact information to find out more about her. 

Now that you know about Susan, let’s move on to the four required blog questions about my own writing process:
What am I currently working on?
The seventh book in the Cotillion Ball Series is currently undergoing edits for a March 16 release. It's a lot grittier than my other Cotillion books, since it's set in Kansas and Missouri in 1860 instead of in New York. My first 'western,' as it were. I'm really anxious to get it out there and see if it attracts a different audience. I'm reworking a contemporary, the first in a series about three generations of women in the same family. I need to get the first one done, and done right, before I can go on to the next. And the next story in the Cotillion series, The Widow's Salvation, is due to my publisher on June 1. 

How do my romances differ from others in the genre?
I love to write about lovely ball gowns and high society, but I also have a huge love affair going on with American history. This country is so rich in stories and traditions, so I had to figure out a way to combine the two. My Cotillion series began in New York City in 1855, a year after the debutante ball tradition began in this country. But because America in the late 1850s and early 1860s was filled with western expansion as well as having increasing strife between the North and the South, I felt I needed to explore both worlds–the fairly civilized eastern border of the country which was slowly falling into a mighty war and the frontier, where people took their lives into their hands on a daily basis in an attempt to civilize the remainder of the land. 

As for my contemporary line, I enjoy writing about older heroes and heroines, people who have already been around the block once or twice and who have built up walls around their feelings. The first book in my Barnswallow series features a woman who is getting a divorce after sixteen years of marriage, and a man who has spent his life building a business at the expense of a marriage and several relationships.

Why do I write what I do?
Even though I found American history a bore while I was in school, traveling through the United States awakened my awareness to what a great, diverse country this is. I have four states left to get to, and I hope to cross them off my list soon. I love finding a significant, yet somehow forgotten, event in history and plunking my characters down into the middle of it. Even small events, such as the invention of the trolley car, had a profound impact on the lives of the people living at the time, and I enjoy weaving these little tidbits of history into my story. 

How does my writing process work?
Because the Cotillion books were set up as a nine-book series, my publisher asked me for a synopsis of each book before they'd grant me a contract. That's the first time I've ever written a synopsis first, since I started out as a pantser. My first couple of books had to be rewritten time and again because I didn't do any pre-planning. I found Blake Snyder's Save The Cat book very useful, and use parts of it now to develop plot points at the right time. That helps me with plotting. I use Scrivener, which also helps me keep track of POV and word count. I write fast to get my thoughts down and then go back once I get to the end, and add in details. I call it layering. 

I’m now tagging my fellow Soul Mate Author and someone with whom I share a blog called History Imagined, Caroline Warfield, whose debut novel, Dangerous Works has been selected as a five star top pick from Night Owl Reviews, and one Mary Balogh read in an afternoon and loved. Here's where you can go to find out more about what Carolyn's up to. 


  1. Susan, I enjoyed this. As this is a good blend with Becky's Cotillion Ball Series, I might have to give it a try. It's good to see authors encompassing our own heritage.

    Thanks for posting Becky. Another new author to check out.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your process, Susan. I, like you, found history a bore in school, but have developed a fascination with it over the years. If only education would approach teaching history from a social perspective instead of all those dates and battles...
    Thanks for the post, Becky.

  3. Thanks for visiting this morning, Barb and Gem. We historical authors need to stick together. And maybe rewrite the history books.

  4. I find it fascinating how history wasn't the sparkle in school as you'd think for historical writers. And can't wait to read Time and Forever, love discovering new books.

  5. Becky, I love hearing your process and look forward to learning about Caroline's

  6. Thanks for visiting, Kathleen. And thank you, Susan, for tagging me on this blog hop.

  7. Becky, I'm so glad to have "discovered" another American historical romance author and history geek (like myself). I have a feeling if we were in room together we would talk for hours!

    Your writing process sounds somewhat similar to mine, except I haven't learned Scrivener. I'd love to, but it intimidates me. That may be something I force myself to do this year.

    Great blog idea! I'll look forward to reading more.

  8. If only we could both be at RWA this year...way expensive. Have you checked out our History Imagined blog, with Linda Pennell, Caroline Warfield and me each taking turns? Plenty of history to satisfy any geek--at least temporarily.

  9. Becky - Do you sleep? You are one busy lady. I enjoyed reading about your writing process. Best wishes for 2015.

  10. Thanks, Jackie for visiting my blog and best wishes to you as well for the upcoming year. Hope it's filled with all kinds of good news for both of us.