Many non-writers are interested in what actually goes into the writing process. They ask, “Do you sit and wait for inspiration?” “Where do the ideas come from?” “Do you write every day?” “What’s your schedule?” I get different questions from other authors or those writing their first book. They want to know, “How do you know when the book is finished?” “How do you discipline yourself to write?” “Do you have beta readers and editors?”
I’m going to address the question of ideas in tomorrow’s post because it’s perhaps the biggest question here. As for the other questions, I get up every morning around four a.m., feed the cats, start the coffee, drink a tall glass of water, squeeze a glass of orange juice, and go to work. I write for most of the day, breaking occasionally for food, a walk, household chores, errands and my latest distraction, our calico kitten, Olivia. Around 11 almost every day Olivia comes into my office and begins chirping. Yes, her mews are like chirps and she won’t stop until I leave my office with her and engage in a play session. After a wild game of chase-the-ball, she goes down for her nap and I go back to the computer.
I’m so well disciplined after 48 years of writing professionally that I don’t worry about distractions such as Olivia, phone calls, a surprise visit, a spur of the moment jaunt to the lake or out to lunch. I can go back to work and pick up where I left off without issue. I still put in at least eight hours per day most days.
As I said in an earlier post, I hire out just about everything except the writing, the shipping, the promotion, and the bookwork. And I still do my own housecleaning and cooking. I hire a gardener and window washers.
Another question I get is why, when you switched from nonfiction to fiction writing, did you choose to write cozy mysteries with cats?
The short answer is, I adore cats, I have an even greater respect for cats since I began writing about them. And I like reading light material—quaint, cute, light-hearted stories with only a little suspense and mystery. So of course that’s what I wanted to try to write.
After nine years, with 51 Klepto Cat Mysteries under my belt, I’m still having fun. Oh, another question I get is how long does it take you to write a book? It is about a two-month process for me—the writing, necessary research, rewriting and editing (which is where you spend the most time) and proofing. Then there’s the two weeks the editor takes to make it even more purrfect, the formatting for both the print and kindle books—the entire process takes about two months. Last year I unintentionally published 9 books. My average is 6 per year.
By that time I often have a good start on the next book because I work on the next book while the current book is with the editor.