ME, AN AUTHOR?

ME, AN AUTHOR?

Nope, it’s not working. How do I do this writing thing?

Writing fiction fell upon me through my own devices of dreams and things. After some research online where I found the affair of my 19th century, barely out of her teen years debutante, I thought, I must write this story of love, disappointment and murder.

I know, I said to myself, I’ll write a book. After all, I had written a chapter for a history book and been wooed by a publisher. I wrote up school catalogs, wrote course curriculum, wrote up interior design and architectural history lectures, proposals for jobs, poetry and love letters. Surely writing a book would be a piece of cake. Sure, right.

I sat down, pen in hand, put pen down—booted up my trusty Mac, surely that would inspire me, nope, that didn’t help, read “Writing for Dummies,” nothing helped. This is not going to work. What do I write first, the end? What words do I use? How do I find my characters? Where does all this come from? It shouldn’t be any different than giving a lecture. OK, I though smugly, I’ll approach it like a lecture. I could talk for hours about interior design, lighting, space planning, history, architectural anything. Still nothing. I remember the emptiness, the confusion, the lack of words. I didn’t think I had this gift to tell a story, no less write one. If it is pretend, then leave it to the imagination of the gifted.

Tommy the train to NYC

Then I met Brenda. I met this young woman on a train ride into New York traveling to a Michael Hauge workshop.

Michael Hauge is a story and script consultant, author, and lecturer who works with writers and filmmakers on their screenplays, novels, movies, and television projects.

Hauge is a screenwriter who works with storytellers like me, well—me trying to discover my inner sanctum. I didn’t grasp the lesson that day, but on our break, I heard what Brenda had written and asked her if any of what I heard was true. She said no, that she had made it up, Ahha, a storyteller. I asked Brenda to explain how she did that. We talked several times, and she helped me start my story of this young girl, married to a drug addict, and her hero that came along and saved her life.

Inventor, creator

Creator, inventor

I discovered the art of writing, a creative endeavor. Creativity is a right brain activity. Have you explored your creativity? I always remember creating. When I was maybe seven years old, comic books were the rage. I would sit at my desk and draw what I saw in the comic books. Wonder Woman was my hero. As I got older, I drew all kinds of things. I played the piano, I took dance lessons, voice lessons, sang in school shows, sang in school choir, took my mother’s dresses apart and remade them. Took my radio apart and my clock apart and put them back together, well, with Daddy’s happy help, it was my curiosity that pushed me to explore. The list goes on, and I wrote little poems and notes to friends and family. I was just not a storyteller.

Storyteller

I wanted to tell this story, and by golly, I was going to. I investigated availability of curriculum to learn the skills of fiction writing. Workshops, online courses and seminars, mentors, crit groups, conferences—later, newly armed with the craft of writing for which I should be awarded a PhD in the subject, I had the first draft done, however, not without help and encouragement from Brenda and my editor. This is not an activity that is easily done alone. I am a member of the Connecticut Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, where so many other writers gather and help each other. The first draft led to the second and the third drafts. By the time I worked on the fourth, I had my publisher’s editor who was amazing. With her edits, I practically rewrote the whole manuscript. In October 2015, Indigo Sky was published by Soul Mate Publishing. I finally felt like a writer, and could call myself ‘Author.’

My book can be found in three formats, paperback, eBook and Audiobook. If you like to watch trailer previews of Disney, you will enjoy the trailer preview of Indigo Sky.

The link to my trailer is right here above on my Author page.

The most wonderful gift that came out of all of this is my growth as a writer. I can teach, edit, develop, critique, mentor and encourage new writers and even participate with seasoned writers doing related activities.

So . . . what is your creative bent?

 

 

 

HISTORICAL ROMANCE AUTHOR–MADELYN HILL

HISTORICAL ROMANCE AUTHOR–MADELYN HILL

Author Madelyn Hill

Author Madelyn Hill

Authors are the most thought-provoking people. Sometimes I think how in the world did they come up with that story or how did they get their heroine out of that mess? Does it have any correlation to their lives? Of course we have the classics, and more notable authors that we know about, but I have to be honest, the lives of authors have not been the stimulant for me, but rather how the author keeps me on the edge of my seat.

Now that I write, my curiosity has gotten the better of me and I want to know all. Who are these people, these writers? I ask my writer friends at the Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America. What do you do besides write? How do you have time to live your life and still write? Do you have a family? Where did you go to school? What did you study? I sometimes I wish I had a talk show, where I could ask all the questions I want without running out of time. Little by little, I discovered the wonder of these authors, who they are, what they do, and how in the world they have time to write these amazing stories.

With no TV talk show at my fingertips, my blog will have to do. It is a perfect venue to provide some answers to the curious. This week, I am interviewing Madelyn Hill, published author with Soul Mate Publishing. Madelyn graciously accepted my invitation to give us some insight about her life and her historic romances.

GI: Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

MH: I grew up in Michigan and lived in the same house until I got married. We grew up with dogs, horses, goats, and rabbits and had our run in a nearby forest where we rode horses, dirt bikes, and played hide-and-seek. I feel the way we grew up allowed us to create adventure and nurture our creative side, which is a definite plus when you are a writer.

GI: When did you first start writing?

MH: I started writing around fifth grade. Silly stories and some Harriet the Spy type of stories.

GI: What book do you wish you could have written?

MH: I wish I could have written Harry Potter. Such wonderfully engaging, world creating, adventures in every book. I believe the series revolutionized the adolescent market and sparked the reading bug in young children.

GI: Do you believe that Harry Potter is good? What about scary?

There are those that believe taking young children into the fairyland of ghosts and goblins will ultimately frighten them, a fright that effects their dreams and ultimately their health. Is the inspiration to read worth it?

MH: Harry Potter is scary and I think parents need to know what their children are reading or watching. But it is the age-old Good against Evil theme. Also, think about all of the fairy tales we tell children. Bambi, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella–they all have very scary elements, but we still tell them, embrace them and make them into Disney Movies.

GI: Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

MH: There are so many authors who inspire me! When I was younger I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder and Judy Blume and now Sarah Dessen. In the historical market, I love Julia Quinn, Cathy MacRae and Christi Caldwell. In the contemporary market I read Adriana Trigiani and Sarah Addison Allen.

GI: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

MH: I usually have the name of the main characters and the title of the book before I even write a word. I do a lot of googling to find historic appropriate names. I usually do not look at their meaning, but the sound and readability matters. Also, I try to make sure there aren’t a lot of characters with the same letter in their first name. That can get confusing for the reader.

GI: What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

Pantster at work!

Pantster at work!

MH: I really like the creative part of starting a story and allowing it to organically flow from my fingers. This may mean there are a lot of necessary edits, but I’m a pantster (write by the seat of her pants) and work off of a very rudimentary plot outline. I do pre-research on location, time period, family names, and characters.

GI: So, you are a pantster. Don’t you have it all in your head before you write? You must have some kind of plan? Then how do you structure your story? When you edit, is that when you pull your story together?

MH: Yes, I pull the story together when I edit. I generally have an idea of where the story is going as I research but I don’t outline and usually write the synopsis after the story. This is sometimes frustrating and I try to plot but it just doesn’t work for me.

GI: When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

MH: I love to cook and my husband and I are avid moviegoers! We also have a very busy family life with our 3 children. And of course I read a ton!

GI: When and where do you write?

MH: Usually in the family room on the couch or in our office/sitting- room. I work during the day so I usually write at night and weekends. I use the record feature on my phone for impromptu notes while driving (hands free) or waiting for one of my children.

GI: What do you want your tombstone to say?

MH: Wow! Great question. Hmmm. We all play roles in life and my most fulfilling have been as a mother and wife. But I’ve also been able to fulfill my dreams as well. So, I would like my tombstone to read – Madelyn Hill – she lived her dream.

GI: What’s your latest book, and where can my readers find it?
MH:
For the Love of a Gypsy

For The Love Of A Gypsy

Love Of A Gypsy

Back cover blurb

Can she betray the Gypsy clan who saved her for the love of a stranger?

Martine Petrulengo is stifled by the traditions of her adopted Gypsy clan. They gave her new life when she was left all alone. And now she is expected to marry in order to forge clan allegiances. When she nurses handsome and charming Lord Declan Forrester back to health, she is lured by the seductive idea of life outside of the clan—and the prospect of love with the Irishman.

Can he prove his innocence in order to claim his Gypsy?

Lord Declan Forrester trades prison bars for a loveless marriage in order to save his soul. And now he’s trying to prove his innocence not only as a traitor, but that of his wife’s murder. When the lovely and beguiling Martine saves him, he falls in love for the first time. Yet, the obstacles of his past seem insurmountable.

Martine and Declan must fight tradition, prejudice and the haunting ghosts of their past in order to fight for their love and ensure their future.

GI: Madelyn, thanks for sharing with my readers.

MH: Thanks for inviting me.

Madelyn Hill books:

COMING SOON, “Heather in The Mist” -July 2015

“For The Love Of A Gypsy” – April 2015

“Wolf’s Castle” – June 2014

http://www.madelynhill.com

 

 

 

 

BEHIND CLOSED WALLS

BEHIND CLOSED WALLS

Extraordinary bedroom of Louis XIV in the palace at Versailles

Did you ever figure out how to make hidden spaces behind closed walls?  This is more than storage.  Hidden spaces are where you save stuff out of sight.  My daughter-in-law Joanne reminded me how they have pretty kool storage ideas—turning unused wall space into a computer closet, housing an attic behind a bathroom mirror.   Great storage in a 1/2 bath  in the Woodcliff Lake house behind mirrors.  And those areas are good for the large things.  Small things can be tucked behind outlet/switch cover plates, behind bricks, in door panels,

inside drapery linings, behind decor and more.  The movie “The Man in the Iron Mask” was on AMC (American Movie Channel) on Sunday past.  The wooden panels tickled me to see them open allowing King Louis XIV to leave his mistress’ bed chamber undetected. Getting any ideas?

The most interesting hiding places are behind moving walls of a library or walls that open between rooms.

The Queen’s bedchamber.

Queen's bed chamber in the Versailles

There is a barely discernible ‘hidden door’ in the corner near the jewel cabinet by Schwerdfeger (1787) through which Marie Antoinette escaped the night of 5/6 October 1789 when the Paris mob stormed Versailles.

 

Secret room/hidden door

Hidden rooms and secret passageways are the stuff of legend. Only found in ancient castles and fantasy books, nobody actually has a hidden door in their house, right?  Wrong. There is now an entire industry devoted to providing the slickest, most beautiful and subtle hideaways for adults who still have the dreams, and now the cash, to make fantasy a reality.

Would you like a secret store to stash your stuff?  How creative can you be? A moving wall, bookcase, panel might work.

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