Hi! I’m Susan Haught. Since we're acquainted now, please call me Susie. Sounds younger, don’t you think? Besides, I didn’t begin this writing journey until I had more gray hair than brown, so anything to set the time clock back a bit certainly helps. Even if it’s temporary.
Arlene Hittle invited me to blog hop with her, but I bet she didn’t realize she’d have to hold my hand and guide the technologically challenged. I met Arlene through Northern Arizona RWA when I joined (with my introverted subconscious kicking and screaming) three years ago. We were both as yet unpublished and when I was elected as Secretary for NARWA and Arlene President, we spent time together as board members and then as friends and colleagues. Low and behold, we received publishing contracts within weeks of each other! We cheer each other on and she is one my biggest conspirators when it comes to keeping me focused. We both maintain full-time jobs outside writing, and sometimes it’s a rough road to navigate when you’re pulled in multiple directions, so she grabs my hand when I feel like I’m sinking in quicksand. Thanks, Arlene!
You can find out more about Arlene and her books at www.arlenehittle.com
What am I working on?
It’s been a busy few months since I sold my first story in September and second in December 2013. Between my Administrative Assistant job with the Arizona Department of Transportation, the holidays, deadlines for both stories and the completion of the third story in the series, I managed to wade through the debris and finally come up for air.
At this point, I’ve chosen to trade some of my writing time to spend with my son who will be relocating to California to begin his career. And for me to sulk. Besides his leaving, he’s taking my grandpuppy. The one I insisted he not bring home. The one he insisted he needed. And the one I fell in love with. Darn kids.
In the next months, I’ll be working on a manuscript I completed months ago. I believe knowledge is an ongoing process and honing the craft of writing an imperative part of that process. I’ve learned a ton over the last year or so, and I plan to incorporate that knowledge as I rewrite, edit and delve deeper into the characters' psyches to produce a better product.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
In the autumn of the year my mother passed away, the elderly men and women she shared a wing in the nursing home intrigued me. Some smiled. Some frowned. Some stared into space. And when one couple held hands, my heart stuttered. I wanted to know their story. But what was it? We all grow old, but we don’t cease to feel emotion. The sensuality, maturity and intimacy of enduring love or the older couple finding love and starting over appeals to me in a much different way than the fearless, spirited abandon of young love. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading and writing both, but I find the older individual has a lot more baggage to sort through.Their needs and desires are basically the same, yet fraught with the wisdom of happiness and heartache the pages of their lives are written on. They have a lot to offer. They haven't disappointed me yet.
Why do I write what I do?
It’s very simple. I love it. I love the romance and women’s fiction genres and if I can find the words that make readers laugh, cry, smile, gasp, cringe, or prickle their skin, then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than diving into the psyche of a character and watching what happens to them, or dig deeper into the hidden places of the mind to find out where they’ve been and discover their story. It’s an incredible journey. I hope you’ll join me.
How does my writing process work?
I’m a pantster by nature. When Stephen King (my all-time favorite author) admitted he never plots, I’m pretty sure I performed my best happy-dance ever! In a recent interview Mr. King said it’s impossible to plot when the characters were the only ones who know the story, so for him, it was a waste of time. I tend to agree. I tried it once and thought—no, I knew—I was slowly sinking into the deep purple abyss portion of the mind where no one should venture. Ever. Kelly Clarkson sings of it…you know…the dark side?
I start with a title. Don’t ask, because I have no clue why this happens. A title will pop into my head, then scenes will develop—usually the ending before the beginning. I guess you could say I work backwards. I’ve done this whole writing thing backwards by starting so late in life, and I write backward stories too—working from the older mind back to their youth. Yep, backwards. Story of my life.
Oh, and I don’t adhere well to the “write every day” mantra. When life gets in the way, I let it. I try not to stress about it. Need more words? I’ll find them at some point. It may be the wee hours of the morning on the weekend, an extra day off work, or driving home from a long road trip, but they’re there. Lurking. Waiting. I’ll find the little boogers. Because there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than inside the bubble of my fantasy world. Except maybe curling my toes into the sand on the Outer Banks.
Thanks for joining me today, and I hope you visit these other fine authors' sites and give their books a peek. Have a great week, and Happy Reading!
Arlene is the author of Diva in the Dugout and is her first release in the "All is Fair in Love & Baseball" series. Beauty and the Ballplayer is due out March 2014. And for a quick, fun holiday read check out Home for the Holidays, Arlene's holiday novella.
"Mystery and romance author Anna J. McIntyre will be releasing the fifth book in her Coulson Series – Coulson’s Reckoning – in March 2014."
Visit Ann J. McIntyre at http://annajmcintyreauthor.com/