Author Margaret K. Johnson invited me to her blog this week and asked these great questions. I wanted to share them with those of you who have expressed an interest in writing books for the first time. Writing isn’t easy and the challenges of being criticized, blown to the curb or worse, are very real.
What challenges have you had to overcome or deal with in order to write?
Working full time has always been a challenge since there are so few hours left in the day to sit down in a dedicated space and write. Now that I’m a full time writer, my main challenge is social media, updating webpages, editing, blogs, proofreading, reviews, formatting and Facebook. Each tiny distraction takes away precious minutes and hours from getting back into my writing zone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself not to be sidetracked by the onslaught of bestselling workshops that promise essential writing tips, marketing and promotion. All are excellent by the way, but there’s only so many you can take.
How do you think this challenge has impact on your writing?
I love doing it all. That’s the problem. But these commitments need to be managed. Having succumbed to an egg-timer and doing only one hour a day for twitter and Facebook, I have found a large chunk of time to write. My contemporary crime books don’t really fit the blueprint of thriller & suspense. They tend to fall somewhere between literary and mystery rather than being branded to one or the other. So I call them Myst-Lit (or Mis-Fit). I love doing pottery (a first-time potter, you understand) and gardening, and during these times a tape recorder is handy to record inspired chapters and plots.
What was your greatest fear when you first started to write?
Criticism. There are so many writers out there who have folded under that big giant, lost all their drive, passion and nerve. It’s awful to watch. I fell victim to the thought that making a book public would attract a queue of literary critics and I’d be buried under a morass of one star reviews. I remember going to a dinner party in London several years ago and sitting next to a man who kept referring to my writing as ‘a little project’ and ‘did I understand that writers must have a PhD to be considered for publication.’ I decided to load my sling and be a David to that Goliath. Any advice and/or reviews can be harsh, but we need them all the same.
Here’s my review puppy. I trot him out when reviews are scarce. Who can resist those little boot-button eyes…
What advice would you give to someone who wants to write but is feeling held back by circumstances and/or challenges?
All books are subjective and reviewers are only doing what comes naturally― evaluating the story. Take constructive criticism on the chin and learn from it and take no notice of the one star bandits. All the best authors have them so why shouldn’t we? Trust your gut, change what you feel you need to change and leave the rest. Write until you croak.
Tell us about something you’ve written that you’re really proud of, and something you’re writing now.
The 9th Hour, is a contemporary mystery/thriller set in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The first book in a seven-part series introduces Temeke as the MC, an English detective who couldn’t be further from his native stamping ground. He is not much liked by his peers and due to a barrage of poorly chosen words finds himself ousted from Homicide and sent to Northwest Area Command. The conflicts in his own background means he will never fit in any more than his partner, Malin Santiago, will. She must deal with her own insecurities in a hostile working atmosphere, especially where gallows humor and tough talk is prevalent.
When the ninth young girl falls into the clutches of a serial killer, maverick detective, David Temeke, faces a race against time to save her life.
The Duke City Police Department in Albuquerque, New Mexico is no stranger to gruesome murders, but this new serial killer on their block keeps the body parts of his eight young victims as trophies and has a worrying obsession with the number 9. The suspect is incarcerated in the state’s high security penitentiary but Unit Commander Hackett is faced with a dilemma when another teenage girl goes missing.
Detective Temeke and his new partner, Malin Santiago, are sent to solve a baffling crime in the dense forests of New Mexico’s Cimarron State Park. But time is running out. Can they unravel the mysteries of Norse legends and thwart the 9th Hour killer before he dismembers his next victim? This is the first in the Detective Temeke Crime series.
Night Eyes is the second in the series and was released on March 25, 2016 – last week. I think this is my favorite book so far.
When the young son of Albuquerque’s Mayor is kidnapped, Detective David Temeke and his partner Malin Santiago are called to investigate.
Meanwhile, a ten year enquiry into the murders of several young boys has gone cold. No witnesses, no suspect. Or so the police believe. But a mysterious phone call leads Temeke and Santiago to the remains of a young boy found near the ancient ruins of an Anasazi settlement. Is this a random act or the work of the serial killer?
Drawn deeper into the wilderness by a man waging a war with his past, twelve year old boy-scout, Adam, must use everything he has learned to stay alive. Temeke and Santiago are pushed to the limit in the second book of this thrilling, fast-paced series set in New Mexico.
As author Jean Gill says:
…We are equally drawn into the limited understanding of a boy scout; limited because he’s too young to comprehend the adult scenes he’s witnessed and limited because he has no idea why he’s been kidnapped. Neither has the reader although we pick up on little clues and wonder… as do the detctives when they find the paper trail this ingenious youngster is laying for them.
An electrifying new edition to the Stibbe arsenal, Night Eyes confronts the relationship between husband and wife, father and son, detective and villain. Temeke comes to understand that he is dealing with a perpetrator who will put him to the test, both professionally and personally and, at the same time, battle the darkest demons in himself. Not since Marklund’s Annika Bengtzon series, has there been a novel with as much insight into spiritual warfare. Fast-moving, riveting reading which ranks with the best thrillers out there. ~ Noble Lizard Publishing.
All eBooks and Kindle formats are now priced at only $2.99. Regular price $3.99.
To find out more about Claire’s books, visit her website here
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Claire is also a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, New Mexico Book Co-op and the Southwest Writers Association.