Monday, April 28, 2008
Writers in their own words-GCC
I'm taking a short break from my latest craze of making risotto (it's amazingly good and easy to make at home. I'm immersing myself in all sorts of combinations and new recipes--which one of these days I'll write more about and share) to tour Sara Rosett and her newest book in the MOM ZONE series, Getting Away is Deadly.
Sara was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas, and has always loved to curl up with a good book. Her marriage to an Air Force pilot has taken her to central and southern California, Texas, Washington state, Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Maryland. Sara has worked as a credit processor, a reporter for two Air Force base newspapers, and a researcher and writer for the Citizen Ambassador Program of People to People International. Currently, Sara and her family live in Maryland where she combines full-time parenting with writing.
With swollen feet, pregnant Ellie joins the nation’s tourists in seeing the sights in Washington D.C. But a fatal incident at the Metro station convinces Ellie that something is rotten in the capital city. Should she do the safe thing and pack her bags? Not likely when too many people are telling lies, hiding secrets, and acting suspiciously. Luckily, Ellie Avery is just the right woman to clean up the most mysterious cases of murder—even if she has to brave the most dangerous byways in the corridors of power . . .
Now let's hear from Sara in her own words:
1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book? Are you more driven by plot or by character?
A trip similar to Ellie’s inspired Getting Away is Deadly. I accompanied my military spouse husband when he went to a week-long training class in D.C. While he was in class, I went sight-seeing. I thought the capital was a perfect for one of the Mom Zone books since they focus on a military family. Since Getting Away is a mystery, I like to have a pretty firm idea where the story is going, so I usually start with a situation: what would happen if someone was pushed in front of one of the Metro trains? This idea came to me when I was waiting for a train and began to think about how dangerous the platform could be. There’s no guardrails. Nothing to prevent someone from going over the edge. In short, the perfect place for a murder. (Yes, my mind does work this way, scary as it is! Good thing I’m a mystery writer, right?) Anyway, I start with a situation and begin to think about what sort of people would be involved in that situation.
2.) Who's your favorite character in this book and why?
I loved writing Ellie’s cousin, Summer, who’s going to school in D.C. and working part-time for a high-powered lobbyist. Summer is young, flighty, and doesn’t take anything very seriously. Her total lack of restraint was fun to write. I also have a group of spouses who tour D.C. with Ellie and it was fun to write about their different personalities and how they conflicted, then came together.
3.) What's your writing process/writing environment like?
I start with an idea and map it out on a large piece of butcher paper, making a graphic organizer with my ideas for the different plot lines. I’m not an outliner—I can’t put things down in a list, but I can scribble all over the paper and draw lines and arrows. I transfer the thoughts to index cards, with each card representing a scene. I usually have a pretty good idea where the first third of the book is going when I start to write. I have to get into the draft and as I write certain details for the middle and end of the book begin to come together. I write through to the end and then revise. My writing environment is a laptop in my house. I have a room, we call it the study—very Clue, you know—I closet myself in there a couple of hours a day when I’m doing the draft.
4.) What's your favorite part of writing?
Revising. I *love* revising! The hard part is over. Starting a new book always scares me a little and it’s such a relief when I get something on paper. No matter what problems there are, I know I can go back and work on the draft and make it better. I’m also partial to research. I have to watch myself or I get lost in the details and forget to get back to writing, but I learn the most interesting things! Not all of them go in the book, but I have a great time reading up on diverse subjects from the history of the Capitol to the what type of trees grow in Georgia.
5.) What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about writing?
Get it all down on paper and then go back and revise later. When I read a quote from Maxwell Perkins with this advice to one of his authors, I felt freed. The first draft, the first chapter, the first line didn’t have to be perfect. I could get something down and then work on making it better.
You can get to know Sara better at her two blogs: Good Girls Kill for Money and Rosett Writes.