Getting to Know You: The RMFW Q&A Project #5

The Getting to Know You Project is intended to introduce RMFW members with short responses to three questions, a photo, and a few social media links if available. If you would like to participate in the project for future months, please email Pat Stoltey at blog@rmfw.org

Theresa Alan

Website: http://www.theresaalan.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Theresa_Author
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theresa.alan
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/115314.Theresa_Alan

2016_Theresa Alan1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

All of my published books are comedic women’s fiction. I’m working on a new series that is also comedic women’s fiction, but I’m also trying a book that’s darker, more in the vein of The Girl on the Train. I write in the mornings because that’s when my brain is most highly caffeinated. These days I write from home, although coffee shops are good choices, too. Why I write? It’s an addiction. I wrote my first book at the age of nine (I still have it) and have been writing fiction and nonfiction ever since. I’ve also been keeping a journal since the age of nine, and it’s a much cheaper form of therapy than actual therapy, plus, it’s nice having help remembering different times in my life—memory can be tricky. I’d forgotten something hilarious that had happened to me my freshman year in college; I put the scene in my first novel, Who You Know, and that true-from-my-life scene was far and away the most commented on in the fan mail I received.

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

My sister is an experienced improv comedian, and one time in New York City we went to the Upright Citizens Brigade, an improv and sketch place founded, in part, by Amy Poehler. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey happened to drop by the night we went. We could have reached out and touched them both. As women who write comedy, it was a thrill to see two of the best comedic writers in the world perform two feet away from us.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

It’s a four-way tie between reading, movies, going to see live comedy, and, of course, hiking (I live in Colorado, so there is a law about loving to hike).

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Thea Hutcheson

Website: http://theahutcheson.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thea.hutcheson
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Theah1771

2016_Thea Hutcheson1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write all over the board--SF, fantasy, romance, erotica, New Adult, and Crime fiction. I write in all the nooks and crannies of my life. Lately, I have been hard pressed to back myself into a corner, but I have been reasonably successful, and I keep trying.

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

I work events--Operations Manager at various Chocolate Festivals around Colorado, The Athena Festival, and the Denver Modernism Show; and Competition Director for Denver County Fair.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

Lately, the thing that gives me the most pleasure (and fright) is taking road trips in Stanley (a 1941 Studebaker truck) and Big Jim (a 1955 GMC one ton utility truck) with my long-time partner, Randy Merrick, and camping in our vintage trailer, Olive. I get pleasure because we see cool places all over our great country, and our adventures and the sights we see end up in stories, which makes them all tax deductible. But being on the road can be frightening. People don't realize trailers and their tow vehicles have mass. They can't stop on a dime and that space they made between them and the car ahead of them is to insure they can slow down reasonably well. If you jump in there, and then traffic slows, it is heart wrenching sometimes to have to avoid an accident.

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Bernadette Marie

Website: http://bernadettemarie.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorbernadettemarie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/writesromance
5 Prince Publishing: http://5princebooks.com/

2016_Bernadette Marie1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write HEA Contemporary Romance because I, as a reader, want to walk away from books feeling happy that I invested my time in a romance where everything was good in the end. I write all the time! I have a laptop and will travel. There is no set schedule for me. When I feel it, I do it. Luckily, I feel it all the time. I can usually write a book from start to finish in two months.

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

I have a second-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do. I started martial arts with my older kids, and the others joined us when they each turned 3. After a 3 1/2 year hiatus, I have just recently begun training again and I now feel whole.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

Disneyland! Yep, I crave it. Dream it. It's like my drug, and the best part is I can take my family of 7 and no matter what age, we all turn into children. (Yes, I also blog about it on my parenting blog. Writers have to write about everything.)

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Yvonne Montgomery

Website/Blog: https://yvonnemontgomery.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KIXKIU
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yvonnemontgomerywriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorYvonneM

2016_Yvonne Montgomery1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I'm currently writing paranormal mysteries because I love working on stories in which the supernatural and reality bump up against each other. I tend to write from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in my study on the 3rd floor of our house. My partner is a Mac computer named Dimmsdale, and the printer is Hester Prynt.

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

One fun thing few RMFW members know about me is that I love cheesy horror movies. I introduced my grandkids to Godzilla, a noble achievement.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

I have two favorite non-writing activities that give me great joy: reading and gardening. However, I don't enjoy reading about gardening.

Many thanks to Theresa, Thea, Bernadette, and Yvonne for volunteering for the Getting to Know You Project. If you'd like to participate in future GTKY posts, please email me at blog@rmfw.org

Keep Your Eyes Open

By Yvonne Montgomery

Yvonne MontgomeryAs I draw near the end of my current project, A Signal Shown, Book Two of the Wisdom Court series, I’ve reached one of my favorite phases of writing a novel, what I call the Gifts from the Universe stage.

All writers are scavengers, gratefully and greedily snatching what we can find to flesh out the narrative. We eavesdrop on conversations and watch interactions among strangers, squirreling away precious bits and pieces to adorn our stories. Everything is grist for the mill, and someday that episode will find its place in a story, said Louis L’Amour. The man knew writing—and writers.

What I’m talking about is a little different. When you’ve been eating and breathing your work in progress, you come to a state of hyper-awareness. Perhaps it’s an inevitable tip into creative madness, maybe just a turn of the kaleidoscope making everything you encounter take on the characteristics of your particular focus. I prefer the idea of a generous, creative force presenting me with extra elements of completion for my manuscript.

One pre-dawn morning this week I was lying in bed and I saw a small triangle of light overhead. As I watched, the light skimmed across the ceiling and disappeared. Undoubtedly it was a stray shaft of light from a car driving through the alley.

But my novel is about a haunted place where strange happenings are eroding the comfort of its residents. The light floating along the surface of the ceiling set off my imagining another room where the moving glow was a sign of an eerie presence. The scene I wrote later in the day informed the chapter I was working on, and it had a little extra chill to it because of what I’d seen and felt that morning.

As I’ve mentioned my work lately, some people have generously related shivery anecdotes of otherworldly events I’ve found both evocative and worth stealing. (Of course I always ask their permission.) I’ve stumbled across reminders of ideas I’d forgotten, resurfacing now when I need them the most. A few weeks ago my grandchildren badgered me into watching a kid-TV show with them, and an element of its story let me see how a point-of-view shift in my narrative would enrich one major character. Pure gift.

We RMFW members are well aware of the creative community resulting from interaction with fellow writers, from attending critique groups, from combining our energies in conferences and educational programs. With each novel I’ve written, be it mystery, saga, or metaphysical thriller, I’ve had the additional, lovely experience of being a part of a realm in which those inspiring energies surround me. Whether generated in my fevered mind, lobbed my way by benign writing partners in the ether, or as a result of the overwhelming desire to be done with this book, I take great pleasure in these Gifts from the Universe. Their appearance truly means I’m nearly at the end of telling myself this tale. Before long the fervor of its creation will subside and I’ll be looking for another story to write.

Keep your eyes (and ears and minds and hearts) open to the creative gifts available to us as writers. They’re all grist for the mill.

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Montgomery_Scavanger Hunt Yvonne Montgomery lives in an old three-story house in Denver’s historic Capitol Hill. Its nooks and crannies and odd noises in the middle of the night have inspired her latest works, Edge of the Shadow and A Signal Shown, Books One and Two of the Wisdom Court series, to be e-published in early 2014. Her e-books are widely available, including at Amazon, B&N Nook, iBooks, Kobo.

Yvonne is the author of two mysteries, Scavenger Hunt (aka Scavengers) and Obstacle Course, and co-author of Bridey’s Mountain, a Colorado saga awarded the Colorado Authors League Top Hand Award for Best Book Length Fiction of 1993.

For more information, please visit Yvonne's website, Writer in the Garret. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

In The Aftermath of Colorado Gold

By Yvonne Montgomery  

One of the sessions I appreciated the most at this year’s Colorado Gold Conference was Christine Jorgensen’s Plotting Your Novel Using a Dynamic Grid.

My study has always been a forest of papers where the filing system is similar to an anthropological dig: one layer on top of another. The goal is to keep the important bits available to weave into the work. The longer it takes to write a novel, the easier it is to forget those cunning ideas that crop up at inconvenient times: twilight sleep, in the shower, as I’m cooking coq au vin. Every gem is scrawled onto a scrap of something and set aside to look at later—if I can find it. At times I’ve had more paper tacked onto the walls than piled on my desk. Always I’m haunted by the suspicion that my most brilliant ideas are somewhere in the debris.

Chris, author of the wonderful Stella the Stargazer series, and whose new suspense thriller, Missing, is coming out soon, is a voice of reason in a cluttered world. With two or three Styrofoam presentation boards, tape, and many colorful Post-it notes, she demonstrated a sane way to make plotting both three dimensional and coherent. Starting with the “Character Sheet for the Dynamic Grid,” filled out for the protagonist, the antagonist, and for important secondary characters, information about the inhabitants of the work is collected.

Major incidents or crises are compiled and noted on the Post-it notes. They, in turn, are stuck to the Dynamic Grid board, which has been divided into Acts 1, 2 and 3, with sub-headings for the vital plot elements. Character and plot information are put onto the Post-it notes, which can be moved around to suit your muse.

I have long entered plot and character information in notebooks, guaranteeing lots of flipping through pages to find needed information. First I have to find the right notebook.

Chris’s system offered a way I could see the plot elements as well as the characters interacting through them before and during the process of writing. I could take some of the clutter off my walls and, through judicious use of the character sheets, begin to tame the wild kingdom of papers scrawled with haphazard information and scattered throughout my house.

Eureka!

In the month since the conference, I’ve begun to make some progress toward organizing my writing process. It’s happening slowly, because I’m working to finish the second of the Wisdom Court books, a series of metaphysical thrillers set in Boulder. Since it’s a series, I’m using the principles of the Dynamic Grid with extra boards for the story arc that extends through the first three books as well as the plot elements specific to each book. A few of the characters are in two or three of the books, and others are introduced along the way. Putting information about them on a plot line I can see when I look up from the computer might take me out of contention as the slowest writer on the planet.

I’ve written fiction a long time, but I’m always learning something new. Thanks to Colorado Gold and people like Chris Jorgensen, who share their techniques for dealing with the issues that plague us writers, we members of RMFW can hone our craft and enjoy good company. Doesn’t get better than that.

[Chris’s handouts for Plotting Your Novel Using a Dynamic Grid are available on the RMFW website under the Conference setting.]

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Yvonne Montgomery is the author of two mysteries, Scavenger Hunt (aka Scavengers) and Obstacle Course, and co-author of Bridey’s Mountain, a Colorado saga, awarded the Top Hand Award from the Colorado Authors League for Best Book Length Fiction of 1993.

Yvonne lives in an old three-story house in Denver’s historic Capitol Hill. Its nooks and crannies and odd noises in the middle of the night have inspired her latest work, the Wisdom Court books. The first, Edge of the Shadow, will comes out as an e-book later in 2013. Her ebooks are widely available, including at Amazon, B&N Nook, iBooks.

 

Yvonne’s website is at Writer in the Garret,http://yvonnemontgomery.com/

Yvonne ‘s Facebook link: Yvonne Montgomery Ewegen

Twitter: Yvonne Montgomery Ewegen