N.D., first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.
N.D.: I'm actually working on 5 books at the moment, Debra: a Regency romance about a woman with dowsing abilities, but she's gifted at seeking gemstones and metal objects in the ground instead of water or oil; a mainstream SF thriller about 3 archeologists who know far more about their "finds" than they should; a gargoyle book where the gargoyles come from another world; a paranormal romance where the heroine is struck by lightning then develops an ability to see ghostly, and ghastly, animals; and a fantasy about a spelunker who encounters more than rocks in a cave.
Debra: They all sound very intriguing, especially the spelunking. Could be just about anything hiding in a cave.
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?
N.D.: I read heaps of non-fiction, actually, plus I've studied the sciences (plant pathology/virology specifically), and am now studying archeology. New ideas constantly pop up. It's just a matter then of binding them together into a cohesive whole
Debra: And with your background, the fiction is bound to be more plausible.
Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?
N.D.: Usually, as soon as I describe the first scene, or the dialogue begins. For me, it's more a matter of place and action than looks. Someone may have long legs or wispy hair, but it's the action that really matters to me—that defines my characters.
Debra: Action defines character and keeps the stories moving, so true.
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?
N.D.: Always, but most often in my fantasies! My editors always catch them, and then I have to explain why and how. I frequently have my characters speak in other languages, too, that I translate as I go along.
Debra: What fun! We readers do need that translation.
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?
N.D.: I sleep so soundly that even if I were to dream a scene, I'd never wake up to write it, LOL! That said, I have several writing friends who dream entire scenes or manuscripts, then rush to capture the gist of them before they vanish! Wish it were that way for me!
Debra: LOL In three years of doing these interviews, you're the first author to tell me that! At least you wake well rested. :-)
As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
N.D.: There was a book about a blind boy who wanted to give the best gift in the whole world to a princess. He was poor and had nothing so he grew her a strawberry in his garden. It was the finest gift the princess received, and made her cheeks and lips grow rosy with joy. I loved that book!
Debra: Oh, that sounds like a sweet story. I wonder if any of our readers know the title of it.
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?
N.D.: The kind of story I already write, except the only romances I would scrawl would be historicals. To be honest, I don't really enjoy writing romance as much as fantasy or sci-fi.
Debra: Hmmm....well there's much more cross over than there used to be. Hopefully that helps.
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?
N.D.: A core of realism and quality research underlies imagination. To make the story believable, it's important to embed it with a sense of the real, the here and now. Make it plausible, and both you and your readers will enjoy it far more.
Debra: And you do just that! N.D.thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.
N.D.: Thank you so much, Debra, for inviting me to blog with you! I've really enjoyed it!
Debra: It's been my pleasure!
Debra's News/Debra is Watching:
Well I am loving my new library writing day. On Thursdays I go to the library and write from 9 to 5 and stay away from phones and internet. (Which means turning off my iphone until I am done working.) It's my new favorite day of the week.
Of course one day a week is not enough for a romance novelist to get her books written, so must write on other days too. Thursday just happens to be my day to retreat from the world to write. Other days of the week I write at home.
I've been seeing lots of movies lately. They feed my creative cup. Recently I've seen the new Harry Potter, Casablanca at the old Orpheum theater in Memphis, and Angels and Demons.
My next scheduled book signing and reading is Aug. 15th at Books and Beauty in Memphis TN. Books and Beauty is a unique Beauty Salon that is also a book store! More details as that event gets closer.
May you have a merry Monday!
Love and light,