Monday, June 9, 2014

"My Writing Process" blog hop!

Today I'm participating in a blog hop on "My Writing Process" at the invitation of fellow Oak Tree Press author, Holli Castillo (, creator of the Crescent City Mystery series. 

Here are my answers on questions about my writing process:

1)     What am I working on?
Currently I'm working on the third book in the Black Horse Campground mystery series, “No Vacancy”, and I'm hoping to give the readers a glimpse into the backgrounds of Corrie, Rick, and J.D., which will open up story possibilities for future books. I'm also trying to work on a Catholic young adult novel and may revisit a romance novel I wrote years ago. I'm probably going to cringe, laugh, and very likely cry when I read my writing from fifteen years ago!
2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

I definitely consider my work a “cozy” mystery; no gratuitous violence, gore, language, or sex. I've set my series in south-central New Mexico, a region that hasn't been spotlighted in many, if any, books, much less cozies. I want to make the normal, everyday New Mexico things, like green chile, as natural and familiar-sounding as anything else from other regions around the country (pick your favorites!) I've included a love triangle which, I hope, adds to the story line of the books without being a distraction or, worse, feel forced (since many cozies seem to have a romantic triangle). I'd like to have the budding triangle among Corrie, Rick, and J.D. be more of a complication or create conflict than be a major focus, although many readers seem to consider that to be the main mystery they want resolved!

3)     Why do I write what I do?

The best writing advice I've ever received was “write the kind of book you want to read”. I always loved reading mystery and suspense novels, starting with Agatha Christie when I was in junior high, but then I discovered other writers whose stories were driven more by character than plot. And I discovered that, for me, the kind of book I want to read, no matter the genre, is one in which I care about the characters. My characters came first and, from them, the story (which turned out to be a mystery) evolved. I find it difficult to write about characters I don't care about and I try to work up some empathy and sympathy even for my villains. I think it makes them more interesting.

4)     How does my writing process work?

In three words: Against all odds! I work full time as a cake decorator for Walmart and part time as a retail clerk for Noisy Water Winery (which is featured in my series and adds a little local flavor to the stories), not to mention the fact that I try to always put my husband and son first. I started writing when my son, niece, and nephews were younger and I homeschooled them; they did their homework and I did mine! Many people seem to be amazed by how I find time to write, but the truth is, I no more “find” time to write than they “find” time to watch their favorite TV shows, work out, have lunch with friends, and—most important—do their “real” jobs. As my friend and fellow mystery author, Mike Orenduff, told me, “The writing is the REAL job,” and I try to never “call out sick” from the REAL job.

Thanks to Holli for inviting me to participate. You can read her answers to the blog questions at her blog ( During the month of July, I'll be hosting several OTP authors on my blog. They'll be talking about themselves, their books, their writing process and you'll get to meet some great people and find out about some great books!


  1. I enjoyed these answers. Good to know New Mexico isn't all "Breaking Bad" ;)

    1. Nancy, would you believe I've NEVER watched "Breaking Bad"?? I hope they don't make me revoke my NM citizenship for that!

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  3. Amy,
    I enjoyed learning more about you. I'm constantly amazed by the many occupations and positions we writers have or have had in our the nonwriting part of our lives. Though, of course, these jobs often manage to creep into our books, don't they?

  4. Indeed they do, Marilyn! Be assured, some kind of cake decorating is sure to show up in a future storyline!

  5. Thanks for sharing your answers, Amy. I work in retail, too. So I know the feeling of sharing time with your "real" job. Can never have enough hours for the writing!

    1. Some days it's hard to decide between sleep and write!