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I appreciate Terry Wilson’s invitation to follow him on his blog hop. Here is Terry’s website.
The blog hop, titled My Writing Process, covers the following four questions:

1. What am I working on?
2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?
3. Why do I write?
4. How does my writing process work?

1. What am I working on?

Currently it’s the third book in my dystopian thriller trilogy, titled City of Hidden Children. All three books focus on a future America (specifically Washington state) in which an unlicensed pregnancy is a felony. The first, Get on Board Little Children, is about a woman who discovers she’s expecting, and she and her husband can’t yet afford the license although they’ve been saving up for it. It’s about the trials she goes through to protect her unborn child from the Population Management police.
The second, Come on Home, Children, is about a young woman who was one of the kids raised in the Children’s Center, which is where the unlicensed kids are taken when the state “rescues” them. She escapes, and has a child, and the focus is on her efforts to protect her daughter when her little girl is confiscated by the state.
The third, City of Hidden Children, is about that little girl when she is older, and begins to learn what happened in her past. It looks at the older teenagers, who are farmed out to factories to work for slave wages. I keep thinking my scenarios are too far out, and then read another news story about the corruption in corporations and government and the widespread trafficking in human beings, and realize anything is possible.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I’ve avoided reading others in my genre lately, since I don’t want to steal anyone else’s ideas. However the future is so full of possibilities, both for good and evil, that there is room for infinite speculation.
I like to make my future reasonable, to have solid rationale for what happens, so I postulate that it all started with a book written by a woman, Deirdre McCallum Moran, titled The Unwanted. Just as Uncle Tom’s Cabin is said to have sparked the Civil War, Mrs. Moran’s book was influential in the passage of legislation making it illegal to have a baby unless you could afford to buy an expensive license. And of course, in typical fashion, legislators didn’t consider all the ramifications and consequences of the law.
I like to think that my books are different in that they focus on the individuals who are affected, rather than a panoramic sweep of society. I like to include pertinent details but not too many. I prefer minimalist literature, haiku rather than epic poems.

3. Why do I write?

Because I enjoy it.
Because I have something to say, Actually when I wrote my previous book, The Ring of the Dark Elves, several years ago, I thought I had said everything I had to say and stopped writing for awhile. Not to mention that we had just adopted two children and were a bit preoccupied for some time.
The Ring of the Dark Elves is the story of Sigurd Fafnirsbane, the Dragonslayer, set in the land of Norse legend. What I had to say in that book was simple, summed up in the words of Brynhild: ”To live well and die bravely is all; it does not matter how long or short our lives may be.”
But some years later I realized maybe I had something else to say, since I don’t care much for some of the directions our society is going. And there is a dearth of fiction from a Catholic worldview. I don’t care for “religious” books, and I love science fiction, but I like it to be grounded in the Catholic view of the universe, because other philosophies seem so barren. My favorite books are ones like C.S.Lewis’ space trilogy and Charles Williams’ supernatural thrillers. I hate didacticism, so entertainment comes first.

4. How does my writing process work?

I write when I should be doing housework or sleeping. I work full time as a nurse so it’s hard to fit it in. Sometimes I break down and hire a lovely person to mop my floors every other week. More often I just ignore the floors. I have to stop writing a novel every so often and write a couple of flash fiction stories, because they’re relaxing.
I work on the plot first, because that’s the most important part. If it doesn’t make sense, the book won’t work. And I concentrate on the motivations of my characters, because they are crucial.
Scenes start coming together in my mind, and I’ll take notes on them – on scraps of paper, when I’m falling asleep, at all kinds of inconvenient times. Then I’ll pull it all into one place and start working on it, on one small part at a time, while trying to keep the big picture in mind simultaneously. It’s kind of like trying to juggle while walking though a very noisy and crowded train station.

NEXT WEEK’S AUTHORS:
I’m excited to introduce two other dedicated authors who will participate in this Blog Hop next Monday August 18th. Susan Spieth and Amy Bennett. They will answer the same four questions on their websites. Information for these authors follows:
Susan Spieth speaks from experience. She graduated from West Point in 1985 and served five years in the Army as a Missile Maintenance Officer. After completing her military service, she attended Seminary where she earned a Master of Divinity degree. She is an ordained clergywoman in the United Methodist Church, having served five churches as Pastor/Associate Pastor for seventeen years. Susan and her husband have two children and live in Seattle, WA.
Gray Girl is her first novel, a fictionalized account of her first year at West Point. She blogs on Goodreads here.

Amy Bennett is the author of the Black Horse Campground murder mystery series. She admits shamelessly that she is addicted to books. “I have a lot of books I can’t wait to read. They sit on my desk, like the little next-door-neighbor kid who hangs around on the front porch while you’re inside having dinner with your family. Going for a day without reading leaves me feeling like I haven’t eaten and my refrigerator is empty.”
Amy has worked as a cake decorator, a clerk for a medical supply company, and retail sales clerk for her in-laws’ religious gift shop. She began writing in earnest in 2004. Currently she works at Wal-Mart of Ruidoso Downs (not too far from her fictional Bonney County) as a cake decorator and at Noisy Water Winery (where you can find some of the best wines in the state of New Mexico). Her blog is here.

Children in Hiding is a dystopian trilogy, consisting of Get on Board Little Children, Come on Home Children, and City of Hidden Children. They are available on Amazon. They are set in the Pacific Northwest some 30 years from now, in a future in which an unlicensed pregnancy is a felony.

When writing, especially science fiction and fantasy, we create another world. J.R.R. Tolkien called this process sub-creation. My question is that since Christians already believe in another world all around us, inhabited by denizens both good and evil, are we handicapped in world creation?

It’s hard to write fantasy when the world we live in is so fantastic already, so far from the mundane world of shopping malls, fast food, and monthly paychecks. If I believe that an angel stands at my shoulder, how can I write about elves with a straight face? Unless you are Tolkien, writing about elves as a symbol of something more magnificent and amazing, who really cares about elves anyway?

If I believe in a hierarchical universe filled with saints, angels, thrones, principalities and powers, full of light and shadowed by darkness, it may be hard to get excited about unicorns. Creatures of myth and legend may find themselves crowded out.

I read a fantastic tale once, in which the “what if?” was what if miracles really happened. The miracle in question was something about an apple tree that bloomed in winter. My response to that question can only be: “Duh?” Knowing about the miracle of Lanciano, the tilma bearing the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the undecayed bodies of the incorruptibles, and various miraculous “coincidences “ in my own life, I can only assume that writer had little life experience.

Having an angel possibly reading over one’s shoulder does limit an author’s ability to write about supernatural entities. I’d be embarrassed to write some of those sexy angel novels, and I want nothing to do with the inhabitants of the dark side. My only comfort is that I’m sure my angel has better things to read than my scribblings.

Are we handicapped? Maybe. But our world is richer and deeper than the one we can see with our eyes, and we can take it as a starting point, a springboard to something beyond.

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