Monday, June 02, 2008

Make-Believe Mondays With Rebecca Goings

Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Rebecca Goings.

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

Rebecca: Right now, I’m working on a book for Champagne Books, one of their Orphan Train series. My contribution is entitled ONCE A DREAMER, and takes place in Dodge City, KS as well as Topeka and the wilds of the Kansas prairie. Doc Holliday makes a cameo in this book, and it was so much fun to write him after all the research I did, not only on what he’d done, but the content his character as well. I can only hope he comes across as believable!

Debra: Oh, yes. Doc Holiday was a fascinating person. You have me intrigued already.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Rebecca: Well, I read a lot of the kind of books I like to write. I study how other authors handle different situations, and sometimes my creativity stems from an idea I read about or watched on TV. My creativity is also sparked by daydreams or questions I ask myself about my own life. It’s fun to explore those situations I think of.

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

Rebecca: I daydream about my characters all the time, so in that way, I suppose you could say I “see” and “hear” them. But I’ve never had “conversations” with them… :P Might be a little creepy if that ever happens. Heh.

Debra: LOL Well if you ever did, you'd be in good company. Dickens had conversations with his characters all the time. ;-)

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?

Rebecca: Yes I have. In my fantasy series, The Legends of Mynos from Samhain Publishing, a lot of the original names are made up of two mundane, everyday words. All I did was look around the room, find two things, then put their syllables together and they actually sounded pretty good!

An example would be this: I currently see a vase and a curtain in my dining room. So, I could make names such as Vascur, Setai, Taina, Urvas, Asecu… And I’m not even mixing up the letters. If I mix up the letters, I could get Esuai, Raiva, Nesruva, Ceinta, and the list goes on. It’s pretty fun. You should try it!

Debra: Yes, I will try that! Thank you. It's so much fun to play with words.

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?

Rebecca: YES! I actually dreamed the beginning sequence of my first shifter novel, THE B*E*A*S*T* WITHIN from Champagne Books. In my dream, I was on the run with a man who could shift into a Bengal tiger. We were in the mountains in the snow, and it was pretty darn urgent that we get outta Dodge. I woke up and thought, “There’s gotta be plot in there somewhere!”

So immediately, I began plotting, asking the who, what, where, when, why questions. Well, I thought the “on the run with a shifter” angle was too good to pass up. So he’s running from…a secret agency who wants him back. Why? Because he’s a secret experiment. Who is this agency? The B*E*A*S*T* agency. I wanted a cool acronym, and what better than B*E*A*S*T* for a shifter? (Which stands for “Bio-Engineering to Attain Shift Transformation” – quite the mouthful, I know.)

Of course, when I did the whole secret agency/experiment route, I knew there couldn’t just be ONE guy they experimented on, otherwise, it wouldn’t be an “agency”. So, my shifter series was born. Currently, there are only three books in the series, with a promise of more to come. J

Debra: Fascinating! I love these stories of how a story can arise from dreams.

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

Rebecca: Yes, C.S. Lewis. I loved the world of Narnia so much, one of my childhood friends and I actually “looked” for the entrance in her attic. Looking back now, I’m surprised we didn’t kill ourselves trying to get up there. But he’s one of the “Big Guys” who turned me on to fantasy.

Debra: Oh, I can just see you looking for the entrance. C.S. Lewis is wonderful.

Rebecca: Another one of my favorite authors from childhood was David Eddings because I loved his fantasy stories. I loved fantasy long before I loved romance.

Debra: 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?

Rebecca: I’d probably write some kick-ass Firefly fan fiction. I’ve always wanted to do a “space opera” of sorts, and I LOVE Firefly, so why not? I might hop on the Stargate fan fic as well. Mmm, Daniel Jackson…

I know, I know, that’s not “wild”, but hey, for me, it would be letting my hair down.

Debra: So, let your hair down, lady. Let it flow free and wild. ;-)

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?

Rebecca: Don’t ever think your ideas are too weird or don’t fit into a “box” within the genre you’re going for. There’s a publishing house for every kind of story. Never give up. Never let anyone tell you that you “can’t” do it. If I’d listened to my family about the odds of getting published and how I probably would never BE published, I’d never be where I am today.

Never stop learning your craft. Writing is a mixture of talent and skill. If you have a great daydream that could make a good plot, write it down. If your dreams at night are haunting you, write it down! If you think of a different way you would write a certain plot, write it down!

Creativity can come from anywhere, even a random picture in a magazine. Always keep your eyes and ears open. You never know when a book idea will spring forth!

Debra: Well said, Rebecca. Thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Rebecca: Thank you for having me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself!
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This week I am approving the changes from my line editor while preparing to attend the Heartland Writers Conference in Cape Gerardeau, MO on Saturday. I'm headed up on Friday night, going to dinner with friends and as Saturday also happens to be my birthday, I'll be celebrating that as well.

Have a lovely weekend!


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