Interview with S.M. Blooding

What was your inspiration for this book?

I lost custody of my children. I wasn’t on drugs. I wasn’t an alcoholic. I didn’t try to murder them in any form or fashion. It was a brutal time period for me and I didn’t have any way of dealing with it. I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I was alone and pissed and depressed and I couldn’t get out of that funk.

So, I came up with a character who had experienced something similar and I walked through that with her. As she progressed, so did I. It turned out to be very healing for me.

The way I had to approach that part of the storyline, though, pisses off a lot of readers. Backstory flashbacks. Not ideal. There’s a very fine, legal line I’m straddling there. The approach I took with that part of the storyline has to be written the way it was. That’s something a lot of people don’t understand about the writing process. Legality. I had to ensure that I didn’t write about things that actually happened, or about people who were actually there. The situation had to be similar, but not the same. That’s harder than it looks.

I’m just hoping enough people follow me through this first book and into the next. Blood Moon Magick has no catch-up scenes. Everything flows a lot better and I certainly enjoy where it’s headed! And Barrel of Whiskey? O.M.W! (Oh My Word) It’s GOOD!

What scene in the book are you happiest with, and why?

I’m most proud of one of the last scenes in the book, the fight in the warehouse. I had a friend who was a paramedic and on the force. She helped make that scene feel real and gritty. And, boy, it sure does feel real and gritty.

Describe your writing process - are you a plotter (planner) or a pantzer (someone who makes things up as they go along)?

I’m a plotter. I sit down for days working out the main plot, the subplots, the subplots from the previous book that are still open, and the character arcs. I storyboard and I outline.

Do you prepare an outline before you start work on a book?

I do. I have the main outline based off my storyboard. And then I have the chapter outlines. Depending on the story, they can either be a long paragraph of the major plot/subplot/character arc points that need to occur in that chapter.

Or they can be quite simple. “Destroy, destroy, destroy!!!!!!!!!!” in great big font, bold, underlined, and in horrible scribbles.

I handwrite my outlines and my storyboards. I haven’t gotten a handle on that on-line Scrivner storyboard yet.

Do you ever experience writer's block and, if so, how do you manage it?

I do. For me, though, it’s less writer’s block and more just being too dang tired to come up with anything.

I’ve been at this for a while, so I’ve pushed through real writer’s block.  There are exercises you can put yourself through. Write at least a little every day. That all helps. It does. For me, writer’s block is when my muse is just so quiet and it’s still and silent in my head. When I got this, it was because I wasn’t self-confident. I needed others to like my writing to feel confident.

Then I pushed myself through those writer’s prompts and other exercises you’ll find when you Google “Curing Writer’s Block”, and then I published stuff that was written without inspiration, and that, I think, is when I became an author instead of just a writer.

But when you’re just plain ragged, when the only thing you can do is collapse on the floor, the couch, half-way on the bed, whatever, there’s no energy in this universe that procure magical words from the tips of your frelling fingers.

In the past year, I’ve had a lot of life changes. I have a very full life and I am very busy. I have a full-time job as a project manager in the electrical field and right now, I’m on that big VA Hospital project in Denver. So, there’s that. Also, there’s the boyfriend and his two beasts—I mean kids. LOL! Then there’s the entire publishing process.

There’s just so much work to do. It’s important to remember to keep yourself whole, healthy, and safe. Happy? Who cares? Write about it. Pissed? Write about it. But be healthy and safe.

What's the hardest thing about writing for you?

The answer to this question never really changes for me. LOL! I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve done and this question pops up a lot.

Finding the time.

I’m past the point where I need to be inspired to write. I can tell when I’m not, but it just means it’s a harder edit later. Meh.

I’m an independently published author and I’ve opened my own publishing house, Whistling Book Press. So, when I’m not working at my day job, or turning off the lights for Mr. Dork, or teaching Thing 2 how to wipe her butt for the 100th time, or chasing down Moose, my newest parakeet, because she decided to adventure and got captured by the closet, or reminding Mr. Dork that his job is to teach Thing 1 how not to burn down the kitchen, I’m trying to cram in a good fifteen minutes of writing, or a good half hour of editing on someone’s book, or a good hour working on someone’s cover, or a good two hours on someone’s website.

OR! Investing some good time in researching the market, the changes in the industry, and new promotional ideas.

So, yeah, finding the time.

What do you like most about writing fiction?

Escaping.

Don’t get me wrong, right now, I have a great life. I love it. But! I still love my pretend worlds just a little better. And I think one of the things I love about them is that I get to leave them when I need to. In the Real World, you’re here to stay. Sorry, Charlie, but you’re stuck. In there, I can stay as long as I want.

The only limitations that apply are the ones I place on myself. Now, granted, there are a few readers out there who would appreciate a bit more limitations, but I enjoy it! I can’t write for all of my readers. If I did, they would get bored because I’d be bored. I have to write what thrills me, and, hopefully, that translates into something thrilling for them, as well.

Where you do start when you're developing a new character?

I start with their Who. While writing my Dreamland series, I discovered I think a bit differently than others. When I people watch, they’re not just paper cut-outs. They’re not just strangers walking in my time stream with no effect on me. I look at them and I see PEOPLE. I see a PERSON. I see the fragments of time that might have shaped them.

So, for me, I don’t start with anything more than a general feel for the PERSON they are. Then I scramble for a name that kind of fits them, and then they just…blossom.

What surprised you/what did you learn when you were creating this novel?

Well, this novel was written, originally, ten years ago. It’s undergone two publishers, and about, oh gosh, um, twenty-some-odd rewrites? I don’t even remember all the things I learned over the course of this one.

This book was broken into episodes. It wanted to ride that train because I really enjoy reading episodes. They’re faster-paced. We don’t have a great deal of fluff. There’s only room for STORY! It’s a lot like TV, and I love TV. I know. I know. I love reading, too.

But! Episodes are better suited for other genres. The readers of this genre did not appreciate it. A few did! But most did not. Bummer.

Blood Moon Magick and Barrel of Whiskey are the next two books to be released, and they are full books. They’re just as fast, maybe just a tad slower for some more character development, but there’s still not a lot of fat. They’re lean, mean stories.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Put on your Big Boy and Big Girl panties every single day. Writers whine. Writers complain. Writers sulk. Writers throw tantrums on Facebook and Amazon and Goodreads. Authors are frelling super heroes.

Don’t think you have to write every day. If your docket is full, write when you can. Life comes first. Writing is a hobby for a long time before it becomes a full-time job. Treat it like a job if you intend on making it one, but don’t let it consume your life. You’re living the stories you’re going to tell. So, be sure you live something.

Take time for yourself.

Write for yourself. Yes. Writing to trends is sound advice because that’s where the money is. But! Write what you enjoy or you will suck all the enjoyment right out of your soul.