I am so excited to have author Belinda Buchanan on the blog today. She is an amazing writer of drama and suspense and her characters stay with you long after you have finished her books. I have read After All Is Said and Done and Seasons of Darkness and they are fabulous.
1. What made you first realize you were a writer?
When I typed the last sentence of my first novel After All Is Said And Done. To me, that solidified what I’d been working towards my whole life.
2. How long have you been writing?
There were times growing up that I felt I lived inside my head. I was around eight or nine when I wrote my first story, an adventure-filled drama. I still have it, and pull it out occasionally when I want to have a good laugh.
3. Where do you get your ideas?
Anywhere and everywhere. They can come from a song on the radio or an interaction between two strangers on the street. It matters not, because my mind is always plotting. A few years ago, my husband and I, along with our two sons, went to Mammoth Cave.
When we got there, we were excited to learn that a new entrance to the cave had been discovered and was now open for tours-but to get there, you had to take a bus.
Okay. No problem. So after paying for our tickets, we boarded the bus and in a few minutes were underway. As we started down a narrow, desolate road with a dense forest on either side, I casually shifted my attention to the driver.
The man looked to me as though operating the bus was his day job and at night he went back to his prison cell. (I kid you not!) With my imagination being what it is, I began carving out a story involving a serial killer of women set in a small town. Seven weeks later, The Monster of Silver Creek was born.
4. Do you prefer to write fiction or nonfiction? Why?
Fiction – hands down. Why do you ask? Because I love DRAMA!!! Drama is pure. Drama is real. Drama is like no other. And when I combine it with my tall, dark, and troubled heroes, it’s positively electrifying.
5. What was the process of writing your first book like?
Cathartic, exhilarating, liberating, and terrifying!
6. What is the message you hope people will receive from it?
When my husband and I were dating, he asked me once if I would be able to forgive him if he ever said or did anything to hurt me. I vividly remember shrugging my shoulders and saying, ‘Yeah, if you told me you were sorry afterward.’
Now, those words rolled off of my tongue so easily that night, but flash-forward a couple of decades and I’ve found that the act of forgiveness is not such an easy task.
I am not the world’s most forgiving person. In fact, it takes me forever to get over something. I have met a few people in my life who have the ability to truly forgive and forget. These people are fortunate souls indeed; hurt seems to roll off their shoulders like water.
Sir Elton John wrote a beautiful song for The Lion King called “The Circle of Life”. There is a verse in there that goes, Some of us sail through our troubles, and some of us live with the scars.
As humans, some of have been deeply hurt or even traumatized by an event that happened in the past. It has left us emotionally scarred, because we can’t let it go, no matter how hard we try.
Ethan Harrington, one of my characters in After All Is Said And Done, is such an individual. He is a tormented soul with a tortured past trying desperately to lead a normal life under the guise of forgiveness.
Over the years, I have learned to let things go. It’s not easy, but it’s better than the alternative. Carrying around anger over something that we cannot change will eat you alive.
Does forgiving someone change what has happened? Of course not. But I do know that the act of forgiveness can be healing, although sometimes we must go through the stages of anger, grief, and denial before we can do so.
7. When is your ideal time to write? (Morning/Afternoon/Night)
Honestly, I write whenever the mood strikes me, but I find that I do my best writing in the morning.
8. Do you have a favorite character that you like to write about specifically?
I love to write about tortured individuals. Whether they’re struggling with something in their past or trying to cope with something in the present, I like writing about their journey that gets them to the other side. It may not always work out for them, but that’s life in its truest form.
9. When you aren’t writing, how do you spend your time?
I’ve sort of become addicted to the show, LIVE PD, which is on all-the-time. If I’m not glued to that or cleaning my house, I’m mentally whining to myself that I need to clean my house while I’m watching LIVE PD. (How can stuff that came out of a 10 x 10 dorm room manage to fill every square inch of my house?)
10. What is your next book about?
The book I’m currently working on is titled, Winter’s Malice and deals with the troubled sheriff of a small town in South Dakota trying to solve one high-profile murder, as well as find the killer of a young girl left for dead in the snow.
11. What are some of your favorite books?
There are too many to list! But a few that stand out to me are How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn. (I’ve read it three or four times). The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner, and Daddy by Danielle Steel.
12. Who are some of your favorite authors?
I like a good mystery, as well as books that contain a lot of drama; however, I don’t limit myself to just those. If I like a book’s synopsis and cover, I’ll give it a try. I love Danielle Steel because the characters in her books are so endearing that I find myself wanting to take them home for dinner.
13. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I have three pieces of advice to offer:
- Never give up. If you like writing, keep doing it.
- Join author support groups and learn all you can about the craft of self-publishing, marketing, promoting and, of course, writing.
- The most important piece of advice I can offer, however, is to write for yourself and not what you think others want you to write.
14. What has been your biggest obstacle as an author?
The length of time it takes me to finish a book. I am so obsessive about my writing (wanting the prose in it to be perfect) that I can sometimes get hung up on a chapter-or even paragraph-for days. Tragedy at Silver Creek took over two years to write.
On the flip side, however, now that it’s out there for the world to see, I’m glad I took my time, because every breath my characters take, every subtle movement that comes across their faces, and every inflection in their voices…is there because I want them to be.
15. Are you glad you went the self-published route? Why or why not?
I was hesitant at first, but eight years later, I can honestly say that I’m glad I went the indie route. Why? Because going rogue allows you the freedom to publish on your own terms and your own time. Your royalties are yours (you don’t have to give a cut to the middleman), and the rewards are instantaneous. I have never regretted self-publishing my novels.
16. What is one thing you must have to write? (Coffee/something to eat/music/silence,etc)
Generally, silence…and a cat – because apparently, I cannot write without a cat (or two) in my lap. I tend to get my best work done in the mornings when my youngest is off to school.
17. What are you currently reading?
Nothing at the moment, as I’m spending every free second I have trying to finish writing Winter’s Malice. But when I’m done, I’ve got a pile of books just waiting to be cracked open that I bought at my local library during their spring book sale.
18. What is your favorite resource as a writer? (Book, course, magazine, writing software, etc.)
Indies Unlimited is a great site to go to as well as Chris, The Story Reading Ape’s Blog. I find that both of these are a tremendous help. Of course, I couldn’t live without my physical copies of the Chicago Manual of Style, Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, and my Emotions Thesaurus.
I am the youngest of four girls, beating out my twin sister for that title by a scant two minutes. A self-proclaimed introvert growing up, I spent my youth making dollhouses for my cardboard figurines to act out the drama I’d created for them. I met my husband on a blind date, and this past June we celebrated our 25th anniversary.
After having spent nearly fifteen years working in export/transportation, I am now a stay at home mom to two boys (one who loves me unconditionally, and one who loves me only when we’re not in public). We have a menagerie of animals which includes two persnickety cats, and one dog who thinks he’s a person.
-Belinda G. Buchanan