Q: Which comes first, characters or plot?
A: Characters, definitely characters. Once I have a handle on who they are, then I can understand why they need to be together and what obstacles they have to over come to achieve their happily ever after.
Q: Do you have the whole plot outlined before you start writing?
A: No, because if I do, I find that the characters don't always cooperate and I end up deviating from what I'd planned, so I've just wasted a bunch of time. Instead, I make some notes about key scenes or plot points and then just follow where my characters lead. I also keep a spreadsheet tracking who my characters are and their key relationships particularly with peripheral characters who might need their own story told someday.
Q: Do you ever get writers block?
A: I think everyone does at some time. I find the best way to figure out what comes next is to just get away from the computer and get moving. I do some of my best plotting on the subway heading to or from work. There's no pressure to write, so my mind just wanders down different paths until I find the one I think my characters would travel.
Q: What are your favourite travel destinations?
A: I'd say my favourite international destinations I've actually visited are: Egypt (especially going down into King Tut's tomb), Kenya (especially the elephants) and Thailand (more elephants). Top places on my list that I'd like to see are: Bora Bora, the Galapagos and Antarctica. Maybe some day.
Q: Name some other favourites.
A: Favourite US city: Chicago. Favourite international city: London. Favourite food: Chicken fajitas. Favourite band: Lovehammers (local Chicago band I've followed for years). Favourite quote: "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx
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