As a reader, I’m always really interested to read interviews of my favourite authors. I like to know what inspires them to write, why they write, how they write, how they learn and keep getting better at what they do.
As a writer, the same applies. Writing is hard, it’s lonely and sometimes things just don’t come together, but when it does and the words flow quickly, it’s the most awesome reward.
So, asking a few authors to write about their experiences, is another way to learn how to better myself, as well as being interesting (I hope) to you.
This one of the reasons, this week is the start of a new section on my blog, ‘Guest Posts’. I hope you’ll find it as interesting as I do, reading about how and why authors start writing and what fires them to keep writing.
Bronwyn Parry is my first guest. She is the author of two books – As Darkness Falls and Dark Country, with a third book due out in September 2010. Her genre is romantic suspense.
Bronwyn is happy to answer any questions you might have, so please leave a comment, if you would like her to respond. Her website is www.bronwynparry.com
Thank you, Fleur, for inviting me to write about why I write, how I do, and my inspiration.
I always imagined I’d be a writer one day. Growing up, I read everything I could get my hands on, so my world was full of fascinating characters, each with their stories. And when the pages of a book ended, those characters often stayed alive for me, and I’d keep wondering ‘what happened next?’ In the absence of sequels, I had to imagine the answers myself – and that led to the other question, the question that I think drives many writers: What if…?
However, having a sensible, responsible side as well as the imaginative, dreamy side, I did all the Sensible Things first – a job, a career, and higher education. I played a little with writing, even wrote three chapters of a book, but it was purely for my own entertainment. And then one day I took a long hard look at my managerial job and decided that I didn’t want to do that for another 25 years, and that if I was going to try to be an author, that I’d better get serious about actually, you know, writing.
I didn’t set out to write gritty romantic suspense, but those were the story ideas that came to me. My first published novel, As Darkness Falls, was born in a short, vivid dream I had one morning: a policewoman, out somewhere in the bush, facing a mob of people she knew, people who were after a suspect for a terrible crime, and she was asking them to trust her and the police to find the truth. I woke up, still gripped in the emotion of it, and the questions of who she was, and what happened next, made me start writing. That scene inspired the prologue of As Darkness Falls. And having written the prologue, I then explored the next question: What if…? What if that policewoman was called back to investigate another similar crime, in her old home town?
My second novel, Dark Country, is loosely linked to As Darkness Falls, and is set in the same fictional town of Dungirri. The heroine in Dark Country was a secondary character in As Darkness Falls: a strong, dedicated, down-to-earth police sergeant who deserved her own story. I didn’t have any inspirational dreams for that novel – instead, the question that inspired it was: What kind of man would she never expect to fall for? The answer – an ex-con with Mafia connections, hated by the town, accused of murder – oh, there were definitely story possibilities there!
As to how I write, I write best at night, when it’s dark outside, and silent except for the frogs and the insects chattering away. My stories have crimes in them, but for me they start with the characters. While I draft some scenes out of sequence and jot down ideas, I mostly write in a linear fashion, beginning to end, and need to have each scene fairly solid before I move on. Writing is darned hard work for me; weaving together a plot, developing characters, keeping it flowing, and logical, and yet engaging the readers’ emotions – there are many days I tear my hair out! And yet it’s also one of the best jobs in the world; I get to create fascinating characters, explore interesting questions and themes, write about the Australian landscape, and in addition to that, I get to meet readers and other writers and talk about books. What could be better than that?