When people find out I’m an author, they ask questions. Lots of questions. Some look at me as if I’m slightly off kilter. (I’m sure that one is true.) Some are curious. Some want to know because they, too, want to write. But they all want answers to their burning questions.

So I’ve complied a few. Here’s the top three questions I’m asked regularly.

1) Where do you get your ideas from?

I’m a quiet, shy person. People often see a goofy smile on my face, but have no idea my mind is conjuring up storylines. I write character driven books, so I study people—how they talk, their body language, mannerisms, how they interact with others, etc. People fascinate me!

So my ideas usually start with a character (compiled from composites of real life people and characters swimming around in my head). I give them a goal, a motivation, and throw in some conflict. There’s the base for my book.

Now, how does that character get or doesn’t get what they want, what great lengths will they go to to get what they think they want, why will they go that far, will they get it or not, and, most of all, what do they have to learn through the process—how will they grow as a person?

Once I have this down, the scenes rush to me like a movie in my head.

2) How long does it take you to write a book?

Each book is different. Each has a different feel, different length, and different struggles (for me and the characters). I love to carve out a chunk of time and just write.

Those days, I write 25 or more pages a day. I find when I’m near the end of a book, and the movie in my head keeps playing, I can write non-stop. Some weekends I can knock out 50-70 pages. I actually wrote a book in three weeks!

Sometimes though, I run into challenges. I need to connect to the characters. In some cases, I’ve taken years to write a book (had to put that one aside and work on something else).

Now, I average from 6 weeks to 4 months per book. That’s first draft and go back to do revisions and edits.

3) Are any characters in your books based on people you know?

All are composites. I take different aspects from real life people, actors (a certain look), strangers I see at different events (concerts, sporting events, and standing in a crowd are fun ways to overhear the darnedest things!) and my imaginary characters and mix them all together.

Sometimes, it’s the way they look, or a mannerism they have, or a certain phrase they use that catches my attention. Other times, it can be a struggle, hardship, or life lesson they’ve gone through that I want to bring attention to. I take it and stretch it, tugging it this way and that, until it fits my version of how I want that character to be.

I’ve never used someone I’m close to; that wouldn’t feel right to me. However, I am working on another romantic comedy and have asked one of my doctors if I can interview her for this book. I’m going to use my doctor’s passion (that’s a secret to be revealed at a later date) and give that to one of my characters. That will be the closest I will get to a “real” person to write about.

It was great answering your questions. If you want to ask me anything, please do. I will have more FAQs posts in the near future.

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“Live the life that works for you.”