We bid farewell to another Holiday Season with the sixth and penultimate instalment of our Creative Process series. This time we chat with bestselling romance author, Catherine Winchester.
What type of environment do you need to write?
As long as my emotions are stable, I can write anywhere.
How do your ideas come to you?
Usually at night. I suffer with insomnia so that’s how I entertain myself until sleep claims me.
Do you always write them or do you let them disappear?
I write the ones I remember in the morning. Often I’ll be thinking about how to continue an existing story though, not a new one.
Do you plan a story from the beginning to end or start with an idea and let the chapters come to you as they do?
I know the beginning, the end, and a few plot points I want to hit along the way, the rest I leave up to the characters. I find that if I plan too deeply, the characters stop talking to me.
Do you prefer writing easy, quick stories or long, layered stories?
I prefer longer stories, at least 30,000 words, usually closer to 60,000 plus.
Which do you find easier to write: dialogue or description or are the equally hard/easy?
I find dialogue easier because my characters essentially write that themselves. I think as a side effect of having a dyslexic mind, I find it hard to write evocative descriptive prose.
Not much. My bad guys sometimes do things that I personally find distasteful and I won’t be graphic about things like that, I write to entertain my audience, not frighten them, so I don’t shy away from any topic but I hope I handle them with sensitivity.
What do you do to cure writer’s block?
Read. Other people’s writing usually inspires me.
It’s been harder than usual over the last year, I’ve been blocked a few times because I think I’ve been battling a tiny bit of depression after I lost my favourite dog, but I try to make hay while the sun shines. Right now my muse and I are engaged in battle of wills where I refuse to start anything new until she helps me finish a half written book. I’m not sure who will win at this point.
It’s worth the risk. There are so few trolls on the internet and most people are kind. Plus, it’s the internet so if you’re really worried, sign up for fanfic.net, Wattpad, AO3 or Tumblr under a pseudonym. No one needs to know it’s you writing.
What is your favourite book and why?
I can’t possibly choose one! Some of them though, are
“The Watchers” by Dean Koontz. I love his writing because before I even understood why some authors turned me off and angered me, he was writing complex, strong female characters that I could relate to. This one also has a dog as a main character. How can you argue with that?
“Pride and Prejudice” is a great example of people not changing exactly, but overcoming their flaws. I believe the best relationships make both parties better than they are alone, and P&P is a great example of that with added (rather cutting) insights into the social mores of the day.
“North and South” – again, for similar reasons as above. N&S also adds a layer of social issues to the plot, which gives more depth to an already interesting story. I love the insights into Margaret in the book too. Thornton is open but Margaret is very reserved and I loved the experience of her seeming rude to Thornton not because she looked down on him (although she did a bit) but simply because she had no idea how to deal with him, like tradesmen were some exotic race that society ladies were slightly frightened of. She has to overcome her sheltered upbringing and prejudices, while Thornton has to open his heart to the plight of his workers, and see that Margaret’s point of view is very valid, if slightly misguided at times.
I’m sure once I sent this I’ll think of a dozen more but for now, I’ll leave it at 3 favourites.
Visit Catherine’s official site: http://www.cswinchester.net/
You can also find her on Twitter. To purchase any of CatheRine’s works, including her North & South novels, go to AmazonUS or AmazonUK.