I was invited on a Writing Blog Tour by Trudy Krisher (check out her blog at www.trudykrisher.blogspot.com). I’m ashamed to admit that I was on deadline when my “whistlestop” came, so I hope the train didn’t leave the station without me!
Trudy invited me to answer some questions about my work and writing process. Here are my answers.
1) What are you working on?
I just finished a book for the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing called University of Cincinnati College of Nursing: 125 Years of Transforming Health Care. The book will be published by Orange Frazer Press in time for the college’s 125th anniversary celebration in November. I really enjoyed learning about how UC’s nursing college was formed by a group of Cincinnati’s leading ladies, then went on to become the first to offer a baccalaureate degree in nursing, and is now leading nursing education by offering online nursing degrees and using technology in nursing.
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
So far all my books have been in the genre of nonfiction, but I have written for both adults and YA. I’d say that my work differs in that no matter what I write (I’m finishing up my first novel now), I want my readers to come away thinking, “Wow—I didn’t know that! That was interesting!” One of my supervisors also told me once, “That sense of humor of yours is never very far from the surface, is it?” He didn’t mean it in a good way, though. Incidentally, he is in my last book, Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati, but I won’t tell you who he is.
3) Why do you write what you do?
I write what I do for a variety of reasons, but often it’s because I’m asked to and I find the topic interesting. The College of Nursing book will be my eighth book. That means that half of the books I’ve published now were my idea and half were the publisher’s (or client’s) idea. But I have to find it interesting, or I wouldn’t be able to stick with it for an entire book.
4) How does your writing process work?
In almost every case—whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, magazine article or book—I start with a bubble map. I get all my existing ideas down on paper. I get all my “gaps”—my questions, or lack of knowledge—down on paper. Then I start researching, organizing or writing from there, depending on what type of work it is. But I always start with a bubble map. I have about 20 bubble maps going right now for books, essays and articles that I’d like to publish someday. It’s also a good exercise if I find myself stuck in traffic, or a boring meeting, or waiting in a doctor’s office without anything to read. When I finally get to the writing step, I tend to write nonfiction directly on the computer (because it’s less of a visceral process and more of an intellectual one for me). But with fiction, I tend to write it longhand, on lined paper. I spend a bit of time thinking about what type of writing implement I feel like that day. Then I think about what writing position and lighting I want to be in. It’s very organic.