Question # 5
Do you base your characters on people you know?
Sometimes I will use the names of people I know, but that doesn’t always mean that I use their characteristics and personalities, as well. Often, I will take a trait from several people and fuse them into one character, but I try not to use any family or friends’ names for any of my ‘evil’ or nasty characters. In the case of ‘Elizabeth’ in Withershins, I do know several women with that name, but I only used the name because it was popular at the time, not because I know an Elizabeth who was a bully. All the Elizabeths I know are lovely, adventurous women and I sincerely hope none of them are offended because I used their name for my character.
Question # 3
How did you get your idea for Withershins? Was it from a dream?
Actually, no it didn’t. The idea came from an experience of mine when I was 18. I was hanging out with some friends, one Friday night, in a gnarled old tree that grew in the graveyard at St. Andrew’s Church. It was a very cool tree with low-lying branches that were perfect for sitting on. Anyway, we talked about all sorts of things until one of them looked at his watch and realized it was getting close to midnight. He mentioned hearing about this urban legend about running around a church at midnight, that the ritual sent them to the Netherworld or they met the devil, neither of which I really felt like doing. On the other hand, I didn’t want them to think I was a spoilsport, so I agreed to try it. I ran most of the three circles around the church, but chickened out before completing the last one.
When my writer’s group and I were discussing ideas for another chapbook (a self-published anthology of short stories) I told them about what I had done. One member said the ritual was called the widdershins. An editor later told me that withershins was the British term for it and since other books were already published using Widdershins, I decided to go with the British term instead. My group all agreed, it was a great idea. Then I had to figure out what would happen to my character after she completed the withershins.
Getting back to the dreams, though – once I had the idea for the story, my dreams took over and guided me onward until it was finished, with the odd trip to the library, the internet, the archives, or Lower Fort Garry itself to get the background information I needed. I would then go to bed thinking about where I had left off and by morning, I pretty much had the next five to ten pages in my mind when I sat down at the computer. There were times, though, when my dream exploratios led me to do more research because I wanted my character to do something that I needed to learn first.
I have written many other stories, though, that began as a dream, so I do rely considerably on my dreams for story ideas.
Question # 2
How long have you been writing?
I began writing in 1994, when my youngest child started Kindergarten, when I finally had the time to concentrate on my craft. Before that, I attended school, University and then began working full-time, which left little time or energy to spend on what I thought, then, was a frivolous activity.
My teachers in elementary school told my parents I was ‘a daydreamer’ and would do better if I concentrated more on my schoolwork. However, they also gave me good marks whenever they assigned a creative writing project, which was kind of like criticizing me for being creative, then turning around and praising me for it! After all, most of my writing ideas come from my dreams!
Whenever I visit schools to talk about my books, there are a few general questions they usually ask. I will try to post them & my answers on a regular basis. If you can think of any others, please leave them in the ‘Comments’ box.
Question # 1
Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?
Actually, no, I never really thought about being ‘A Writer’. I have always been an avid reader and loved the creative writing section of the ELA curriculum and got fairly good marks whenever I had the opportunity to stretch my imagination. I never thought it would ever amount to anything more than a hobby, setting my career goals in the fields of Speech Pathology and Teaching. Both of those subjects have aspects that link with writing, such as my interest in words and word origins as well as language development and grammar, things that are essential in good writing.
Welcome to my blog. I hope you will find my comments entertaining and informative. My main blog will basically be about my writing experience and some personal goings-on in my life. You will notice, I have several other pages that I will update periodically. ‘My Crafty Alterego’ will display some of my scrapbooking efforts, mainly cards I have created, for any of you who are also crafty. ‘Published Novels’ describes my two teen novels and tells where they can be purchased. There is also the ‘About’ page which tells you a little about me. Please feel free to leave comments and questions, so I can better provide information that is relevant to YOU.