Monday, February 20, 2006

Make-Believe Mondays With Bobbi Smith

On this Make-believe Monday I'm happy to introduce New York Times best selling author Bobbi Smith. Bobbi writes western historical romance for Dorchester Publishing and she also writes inspirational romance under the name Julie Marshall.

I owe a great debt of thanks to Bobbi. Last year I entered her creative writing challenge and was thrilled to learn at the RT convention that I was a finalist. Bobbi met with each of us to advise us on our writing. She told me I needed to change one thing. My first chapter began in the wrong place. I came home, rewrote it, and entered it in the American Title II contest where it finalled again! I can honestly say that I wouldn't be where I am today without Bobbi. Thank you, Bobbi for taking the time to share so generously with authors who are just starting out.

Bobbi, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Bobbi: Currently, I'm starting my next historical titled Hired Gun. The heroine's sister has been taken captive by Indians and she hires our hero to track her down when all else fails. She also insists on going with him. This is going to be fun.

It does sound like fun! I'll be waiting for this one to come out!

Mark Twain said, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?

Bobbi: I've never thought of my imagination as being in or out of focus. My brain just takes off and all these people start talking in my head and arguing with me sometimes. Writers are weird, there's no doubt about it.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Bobbi: By page 50 my characters are usually alive and well. It's fun when they start talking to me - especially when they come up with an idea out of
nowhere. That's amazing to me.

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Elle: I don't play with the English language. My 7th and 8th grade teachers would be outraged! The humiliation at the blackboard back then was quite an incentive to learn how to do it right.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Elle: I wish I could remember my dreams, but I don't. They slip away as soon as I wake up, darn it.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Elle: I loved Boxcar Children! It was awesome.

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Elle: I would like to inspire people to be kind to one another and to love one another. If my writing could achieve that, I would know that I'd used my talent in the right way.

Bobbi, you are an inspiration to us by your actions as well as the pages you've written.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Bobbi: The ability to be a storyteller is a definite gift. Writers are born, they're not made. Our imaginations are really amazing. How the brain works that way I have no idea, but I sure do have fun with it!

Bobbi, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

You can learn more about Bobbi at

(Next week I will be in Tahiti with my husband celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, so there will be no posts here until we return on March 6th. Make-believe Mondays will resume then.)

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