Thursday, June 19, 2014

My Writing Process blog tour

Since taking up novel writing two years ago, I’ve been asked many times to weigh in on the writing process. More often than not, those doing the asking are reviewers seeking insights into the making of a particular book. On occasion, however, I hear from other authors and bloggers who simply want to me to participate in an an activity for authors and bloggers.

Casee Marie Clow, book reviewer and lifestyle blogger, offered me such an opportunity the other day when she asked me to take part in the My Writing Process blog tour. Writers are asked to acknowledge the person who invited them, nominate three others to participate in the tour, and answer four questions.

Acknowledging Casee is a pleasure. She is one of the most eloquent and gracious bloggers in the business — one who took the time to read and review each of the Northwest Passage novels in Literary Inklings. She also owns and edits The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower blog.

I am also happy to recommend three bloggers and writers who have blazed their own trails. They include Sandra C. Lopez, R.G. Dole, and Aaron Yost.

Sandra is the author of Esperanza: A Latina Story, which I reviewed last year, and its sequel, Beyond the Gardens. A graduate of California State University, Fullerton, Sandra was named as one of 2011’s “Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch" by Latino Stories.

I got to know R.G. this year when I asked her to review The Mine. She is the author of Immortal Longings, a novel about vampires and werewolves, and blogs at A Drip of Truth and a Drop of Lies.

Aaron is a longtime friend, former newspaper colleague, and award-winning sportswriter who edited all five NWP books. He is also an accomplished photographer who is currently finalizing his first novel. He manages the Triple Play with Aaron Yost blog.

Sandra, R.G., and Aaron will participate in the tour on June 26.

Now … on to the questions:

1) What are you working on?

I am currently writing the first novel of the American Journey series. In September Sky, an unemployed reporter and his college-age son will travel from 2016 Los Angeles to 1900 Galveston — the time and place of one of the deadliest hurricanes in history. Like the novels of the Northwest Passage series, September Sky will span several genres and offer multiple points of view. I hope to have it out by the end of the year.

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

That’s a tough question, given that my books don’t fit neatly in any one category. They do differ markedly, however, from most other time-travel novels in that they feature more history, fantasy, and romance than science fiction. They also bend the “rules” of time travel and often move in unexpected directions. They are not, for the most part, formula fiction. Each novel has its own signature.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I write what I do because I enjoy it. It’s that simple. I enjoy telling stories about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances because they enter the wrong mine or restroom or funhouse and involuntarily travel through time. I enjoy writing novels that push positive, timeless themes and prompt readers to ask the big questions — questions they may rarely ask of themselves.

4) How does your writing process work?

I always start with an extensive outline, complete with detailed chapter summaries and character sketches. I don’t know any other way to write something as complex as a modern novel. That said, I allow myself wiggle room to depart from the script. I frequently change the plot and characters as I go. I think this approach makes for a better book in the end.


  1. Thanks for these insights into your writing process. And I will have to check out the other blogs.

  2. Terrific answers, John; I especially like what you wrote in response to the third questions. I certainly feel like your stories - maybe especially by putting such different eras alongside one another - always have a way of reminding the reader that some invaluable things stay the same over time.

    And many thanks for your kind words! I'm looking forward to checking out the other blogs you mentioned as well.