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The Joy of Writing and Hating on Villains

Quill Questions . . . Well, those two words pretty much explain themselves. This is our first Quill Questions post with our newest monthly contributor, Carolyn Lampman, and we're excited to have her here. We hope you'll take a few minutes to get to know this veteran author and her books. For now, read on to see what's lurking in our writers' minds.

Carolyn Lampman

What character in your books are you least likely to get along with?

There is at least one character in every book that I dislike. Usually it’s the villain if I have one, or another love interest of either the hero or the heroine. To make them believable, though, I usually give them some decent qualities which tends to make them not quite so heinous. Susan Prescott, the hero’s fiancée in Wild Honey is an exception to this. As far as I can tell she has no redeeming qualities at all. She is the spoiled rotten, stuck-up, manipulative daughter of the fort commander. If all else fails, she uses tears and outright lies to get her way. Susan does everything she can to make my heroine’s life miserable. It does not end well for her, however, for she winds up face down in a giant mud puddle. I don’t know who was more satisfied, me, my heroine who gave her the push, or all of the onlookers from Fort Bridger who watched it happen. According to my fans, it’s one of the best scenes in the book.

What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?

The best part of being an author is the writing. The worst part of being an author is also the writing. When the story is flowing so well your fingers can hardly move fast enough to get it all down, you experience pure euphoria. It truly is one of the greatest feelings in the world! But when every word becomes a struggle and you’re lucky to get a couple of sentences a day, you find yourself wondering why you don’t go do something useful with your life, like clean toilets for a living. The truth is, it’s darned hard work, but for me the highs make the lows worth it. And, then there’s the revenge aspect of it. Not too long ago I turned an editor I was angry at into a goat, and she got eaten by a bear. Nothing left but a smear of blood, part of an ear, and the tuft from her tail. I love being a writer!

What story are you working on next, and what inspired it?

My next book is called Jessup and is the third book in my Pinkerton Trilogy. It is a bit of a switch for me, because it’s set in West Virginia during the Civil War instead of Wyoming like all the rest. It was inspired by a story the hero of Winter Hawk told the heroine about her brother. It intrigued me-and my critique group- so much I decided to write the book. It’s the first time I’ve written a book about a place I’ve never been.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

I’d give up cleaning my house, or I would if I could figure out any way to convince myself it would make me a better writer! The truth is, I already gave up things like TV, crafts, belonging to clubs, coffee clutches, and sleep long ago so that I could write. The problem for me became identifying what I would not sacrifice in pursuit of my muse. It basically came down to my family, my marriage, and my home. Everything else was up for grabs.

Christi Corbett

What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?

The upside to being an author is definitely being able to create my own schedule. I have twins who are in school, and they do a LOT of activities. Me being able to work around their schedule is great for things like dentist appointments, sports, and when the unexpected arises. I love working from home!!!!

What is something you struggle with as a writer?

As a writer, I struggle with my production levels. I have finally figured out, and accepted, that I'm a much slower writer than many other authors. Years ago, I'd see fellow authors churning out several books a year, while I was fortunate to be slogging through one or two drafts a year. I've since figured out a good time-management system, and creating realistic deadlines and daily schedules.

Kimberly Lewis

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I'd honestly love to hang out with my gals from my McKades of Texas series: Norah, Andi, Karlie, and even Karlie's sister Amber. They're all so much fun to write and if they were real people I think we could all be really good friends. As for what we'd do during our day? I would love to have girls' night in and drink margaritas and eat chips and salsa while catching up and joking around with each other. Kind of like what I do with real-life friends, lol.

What story are you working on next, and what inspired it?

Ooooo, I haven't really talked much about my next project and I'm not sure I'm ready to disclose who it's about just yet buuuttt ... it's a cowboy romance with characters I hope y'all will be happy to read about :)

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

Self-doubt. Oh, it's crippling. I worry so much over things during the first draft when I should just be focused on getting the story written down and then go back to fix all my boo-boos. I'm working on it though and hopefully I'll figure out a way to overcome this so I can just write without fear ☺

MK McClintock/McKenna Grey

What character in your books are you least likely to get along with?

At first I thought "All the bad guys," but some of the bad guys I kind of like in my own twisted writerly way. I'd definitely say out of all the books under both pen names, my greatest nemesis is Nathan Hunter from the first three Montana Gallagher books. Let's just say the guy got off too easy.

What story are you working on next, and what do like most about it so far?

Under MK, I have Wild Montana Winds coming out the end of February, so that's in editing. It's the sixth book in the Montana Gallagher series. I love every minute I get to spend with the Gallagher family and their friends at Hawk's Peak. EVERY MINUTE. While that book is back and forth with the editor, I've switched gears to a McKenna book. I'm well into the next Kyndall Family Thriller. What do I like most about it so far? For me, the best parts of my books are the characters. Donovan and Meaghan have this dry banter that really pulls me in and keeps me excited for what they might say next. They clicked from the first moment they met, like old friends who had been waiting their whole lives to meet.

What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?

Aside from writing being one of the coolest jobs I could ever imagine . . . there's a lot of good and there's a lot of tough going. I think one of the best parts is being able to do what I love while existing in my imagination with fascinating people who live in really cool places. Being a part of building their lives, their worlds, their relationships . . . it's a wonderful experience. The toughest thing for me, especially in the beginning, was to shut out all the noise and negativity. It took a couple of years, but I finally learned to write for myself. To be happy and enjoy the stories without thinking about anyone else. Thinking about others . . . that comes later, after the book is published, but the early days of the story--those are for me and the characters. I think sometimes it's difficult for readers, family, and friends to understand that connection.

Have a question for the Quills? Let us know and we'll add it to our next Quills Question post!

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